Teachers’ Union Leaders: Underfunding Schools Undermines Our Future

A guest editorial on Maryland Matters argues the case for big new investments in schools, like the Kirwan Commission appears poised to recommend.

Theresa Dudley and Diamonte Brown, respectively the president of the Prince George’s County Educators’ Association and president of the Baltimore Teachers Union, appear on Maryland Matters arguing the case for a major wave of education investments. From their guest editorial:

In the plan developed by the Kirwan Commission, Maryland has a clear blueprint to move our schools from mediocre to excellent, and the plan – which enjoys bipartisan support in the legislature – is already making real, positive changes to our schools – including increasing mental health and special education funding, boosting educator pay and expanding Pre-K and community schools across the state. Passing a new school funding formula during the 2020 legislative session is the key to making sure that there is lasting educational equity and economic prosperity in our state.

The truth is that public schools in Baltimore and Prince George’s County have been chronically underfunded for decades, and half of our educators are working second jobs just to make ends meet. The Education Law Center gave Maryland a grade of “F” for its funding effort. High poverty districts receive $800 less per pupil than wealthier districts, and the state’s own consultants said Baltimore City schools are underfunded by $342 million and Prince George’s schools are underfunded by more than $500 million every year! That’s unacceptable.

The interesting and standout claim that “The Education Law Center gave Maryland a grade of “F” for its funding effort” deserves a connection back to its source – materials presented to the Formula Funding Workgroup meeting through this summer and fall. Here’s the presentation that criticizes Maryland’s funding distribution:

EducationFundingGrades

View an interactive version of this table online.

Maryland is, indeed, labeled as an “F” when the area states are evaluated for “Funding Effort” when measured as a percentage of state gross domestic product (one measure of the full state economy).

It is also worth noting that Massachusetts, the state raised far and away most frequently by the Kirwan Commission’s leadership and advisors, as the model for Maryland’s goals, also receives an “F” in this assessment, despite committing far more fund per student to education than Maryland, and receiving an “A” from the same analysis for its overall effort a mere three pages earlier.

 

Michael Sanderson

Executive Director Maryland Association of Counties
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