Reports Recommend Revisions to Maryland Charter School Laws

As reported in the Baltimore Sun, a newly released study by the Abell Foundation, a Baltimore nonprofit that researches education issues, states that Maryland should recruit successful charter schools to the state and consider granting them greater autonomy and control over teacher contracts.  The article describes,

The majority of Maryland’s charter schools are in Baltimore. In the last school year, 11,800 students, or nearly 14 percent of total city school enrollment, went to charters.

But even in charter-friendly Baltimore, said City Neighbors Charter School leader Bobbi Macdonald, its three schools are constantly chafing under rules that limit their ability to innovate. When school officials asked for freedom to decide how to evaluate teachers, for example, they were told to comply with the city’s rules.

In Frederick County, Tom Neumark and a group of families fought for five years to open a charter school focused on providing an education steeped in the classics. At every turn, it seemed to them, the county school board put up obstacles to the school’s opening.

The Maryland State Department of Education was required to report on charter schools this past year.  In the executive summary of their report they provided a list of possible recommendations, stating, “if the legislature agrees with the conclusion of this report that the current system shows enough promise to be expanded, then it should also consider actions, that would:

1) Create a state level Independent Chartering Board (ICB) that would be an additional, active statewide authorizer of charter schools;
2) Institute a time-limited subsidy to the LEA that partially subsidizes the per pupil cost of a new student entering a charter school; and
3) Create a state or local addition to the per pupil allotment of a charter school student to compensate for the facilities expenses that the charter school’s existence relieves the state and locality from providing.

For more information:

Read the full story in the Baltimore Sun here

Read the Abell Report here

Read the Maryland State Department of Education Study here.