The Maryland State Board of Education met on April 26, 2022 to do a deep dive on early childhood education and the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future.
The Maryland State Board of Education (MSDE) met in-person at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, April 26 at the Maryland State Department of Education in Baltimore. The meeting was also be available via YouTube livestream on the department’s channel.
Of particular interest to counties was a deep dive, multi-hour presentation described as a “101 course” on the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future’s vision for early childhood education. Here, we layout the broad strokes of that deep dive and provide some insight into the industry’s path forward under the Blueprint. (Note that mid-deep dive, the Board decided to break the deep dive into two parts over two meetings. This is the first part.)
State Superintendent Mohammed Choudhury opened the presentation, noting that the early childhood industry was one “extremely hit by the pandemic and one the we are working hard to rebuild.” He later noted that the childcare industry is even “much more dire” with staffing challenges than K-12 public education.
The several-hour-long deep dive covered the following topics on early childhood education under the Blueprint:
- Laying the Foundation
- Starting around 03:36:00 in the video
- Early Childhood Implementation in the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future
- Starting around 04:03:00 in the video
- Starting around 04:50:00 in the video
Part two of the deep dive, likely next month, will cover the following topics:
- Programs and Initiatives in Support of Early Childhood in the Blueprint
- Stabilizing and Rebuilding Maryland’s Child Care System
Laying the Foundation
This section of the deep dive focussed on the basics of early childhood education vision and goals in the Blueprint, including the state’s five year strategic plan on early childhood education and six goals relating to it.
Early Childhood Implementation in the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future
This section of the deep dive focussed on the five main buckets of early childhood education as outlined in the Blueprint.
Mixed Delivery PreK
Notably, under the Blueprint’s mixed deliver services model, there is a state and local funding component to PreK services, based on familial poverty rates, as outlined in the graphic below.
PreK expansion under the Blueprint also has several phased-in levels of structural reforms and regulations, including qualifications for provider settings and professionals, some of the larger of which are listed below.
This portion of the discussion explored various state programs and funding tools to increase service quality, including Maryland Excels, Child Care Accreditation Support, and the Child Care Incentive Grant Program.
This section highlighted programs and incentives to hiring and retaining quality child care professionals, including educational and training tools, professional development opportunities, and financial bonuses, especially after the COVID-19 pandemic strained the industry.
Interestingly, the presentation also included data on what kinds of professionals are active in the Maryland child care industry, including those holding teaching degrees.
Other topics of interest
Notably, the Board and Superintendent discussed the challenge of expansion of full-day PreK within public schools and the facility and financial restraints in doing so. Superintendent Choudhury discussed the role of school construction, access to state funding, and the potential to shift requirements. State Board Member Sumpter in particular stressed the need to meet local governments where they are and to work with them in addressing these challenges as the Blueprint and PreK expansion are implemented.
The April 26 meeting also included the following topics of discussion:
- A guest presentation on “Achieving Academic Equity and Excellence for Black Boys” from several education professionals throughout the state;
- An update on school logistics and transmission rates related to COVID-19; and
- A presentation on a resolution “Committing to Transformative Action to Create a World-Class Education System in Maryland.”
The second part of the early childhood deep dive will likely be presented at the May 24 meeting of the State Board. Stay tuned to Conduit Street for more on that meeting and early childhood education.