Counties to AIB: More Details Needed to Inform Blueprint Implementation

MACo, on behalf of Maryland’s 24 county governments, sent a letter to the Blueprint Accountability and Implementation Board requesting expanded details on Blueprint implementation expectations and continued collaboration with counties to ensure smooth process.

The Blueprint Accountability and Implementation Board (AIB) is tasked with overseeing the implementation of Maryland’s major education policy reform initiative known as the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future. The AIB recently published a draft of a Comprehensive Implementation Plan to guide Blueprint implementation over the 10-year implementation period and to hold State and local entities accountable for successful implementation.

The Comprehensive Implementation Plan (CIP) follows a series of Blueprint Implementation Planning working sessions held by the AIB over the summer and early fall after the original timeline was pushed back via 2022 legislation in order to allow the AIB more time to develop its plan. Additionally, the AIB and State Department of of Education jointly published draft tools and templates to guide locals with Blueprint implementation.

A public hearing is scheduled for November 10 for stakeholders to provide feedback on the drafts. Ahead of that meeting, set a letter to AIB Chair Ike Leggett, MACo commending the AIB for its work thus far on the draft CIP and corresponding draft tools, but urging the State to provide further details and technical assistance to ensure successful implementation.

From the MACo letter:

MACo strongly supports a statewide implementation plan clearly and specifically aligned with the Blueprint law, with Blueprint content criteria developed by the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE), and with state and local budget projections under adopted funding formulas. As such, the draft CIP is a “good start” for doing so, but MACo respectfully notes that more details will be needed to fully inform and prepare counties and local education agencies (LEAs) as we draft local plans − and time is of the essence, as the March 15, 2023, deadline for LEAs to submit draft plans to the AIB quickly approaches.

MACo also asked for the final products, which will serve as the authoritative guidance for local and the State to implement the Blueprint, to explicitly name county governments as “key partners” that should be engaged with:

A local-state partnership is especially key for Blueprint pillars and complementary goals and measurements that will require substantial resources, time, and technical assistance from each of Maryland’s varied local jurisdictions.

For example, “Pillar 2, Objective 4: Establish new statewide educator career ladder and professional development system,” which currently lists local education agencies as “key actors” in the CIP, along with teacher unions and local superintendents, does not specify county governments. The AIB should specify counties as “key actors” for this pillar and others like it as they will potentially require substantial input from counties in the form of financial resources, technical assistance, and administrative help.

The AIB is seeking feedback from stakeholders and the public on the draft Initial Implementation Plan template and Criteria for Success alongside feedback on the CIP. Written feedback is due by November 23 (note that the original November 11 due date was pushed back).

Read the full MACo letter.