Dr. Karen Salmon, State Superintendent, addresses members of local school boards at the annual Maryland Association of Boards of Education Conference.
During her address this week before a packed room of members of local boards of education, Dr. Salmon spoke to new educational standards for students today, saying,
“The standards are higher – no doubt about it.”
She then turned the focus to what school boards and educators need to do to prepare students to reach those standards.
During her remarks, Salmon responded to several specific questions from the audience.
- On the most pressing issue facing the K-12 system, Salmon pointed to inequities among students and closing the achievement gap.
- On work to address ethnic/racial disparities in the teaching workforce, she noted the value of developing teacher academy programs in high schools, that feed into articulated community college programs and then to final teacher education and training programs at the University of Maryland and Towson.
- On drawing teachers in from professional careers to help with teacher shortages, Salmon suggested ways that local School Boards can try to work within the step-system to provide higher salaries for teachers with professional expertise, and shared an update on the alternative teacher certification process being developed at the state level.
- On representation of Latino’s in education leadership and ways to help Latino children, 50% of whom, according to the questioner are illegal immigrants, attain higher education, Salmon stated that a new member of the State Board of Education is Latina, and pointed to opportunities provided by dual enrollment programs.
When asked by Francie Glendening, Executive Director of the Maryland Association of Boards of Education, Salmon recounted her frustration, shared recently at the first meeting of the Kirwan Commission, that accountability standards used to measure high school performance, such as 4-year graduation rates, are not applied to higher education institutions.
Salmon also shared the Governor’s interest in streamlining and solutions and his request of all members of his cabinet, including her, to look at big picture opportunities for collaboration. This request has already led to conversations between the Salmon and the secretaries of Housing and Economic Development about housing and economic trends affecting schools, such as affordability of housing for teachers.