Blueprint Oversight Board Unanimously Approves Final Comprehensive Implementation Plan

The AIB has adopted the a final strategic plan for how local school districts should implement the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future.

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 has published a draft of its 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), is the final version of the the CIP, following a series of public hearings in response the draft plan, and what the AIB said was 445 pieces of written testimony. Counties had expressed concern on that draft plan, indicating a greater need for detail, technical assistance, and clarification on the role of county governments in implementing the Blueprint.

At a December 1 meeting, which lasted more than four hours, the AIB considered the details and revisions to the final CIP and ultimately unanimously approved a $3.8 billion education plan on its implementation. More work is to be done, noted members of the Board, however:

“This is the initial plan and there’s more we need to do on it,” William “Brit” Kirwan, vice chair of the board and former chancellor of the University System of Maryland, said after a more than four-hour virtual meeting.

Adopted revisions to the CIP

Some revisions adopted related to expression of values and goals throughout the CIP. For example, one change related to a goal for “all” Maryland students to become successful, after stakeholders expressed concern with the draft CIP’s original phrasing of  “nearly all” students.

Other changes were directives for local education agencies, including:

  • Create partnerships with Head Start programs and the state’s four historically Black colleges and universities and other minority-serving institutions;
  • Implement a 9th grade student progress monitoring system;
  • Ensure that professional development for teachers will be aligned with evidence-based research and will promote cultural competency and social emotional learning, as appropriate; and
  • Allow Blueprint money to be used for arts education and non-college and career readiness programs.

Important dates for Blueprint implementation

  • March 15, 2023: each school system must submit plans through the 2023-24 school year.
  • The Maryland State Department of Education will review each plan and offer recommendations to the AIB for approval by June 2023.
  • March 2024: school officials must submit a second set of Blueprint plans that will incorporate the four priorities through the 2026-27 school year.
  • 2027: school officials must submit a third set of plans to cover the school years between 2027-28 and 2031-32.

What didn’t make it into the final CIP?

Several stakeholders submitted feedback that AIB Executive Director Rachel Hise said was beyond the scope of the AIB and would have altered the Blueprint law itself, which would need legislative action. Maryland Matters described some of those denied requests:

  • Some educators and advocates requested the $60,000 annual minimum salary for teachers should be increased to match inflation. Hise said that would require a change in the Blueprint legislation, which can only be done by state lawmakers.
  • Although the board will ensure arts education receives funding, some arts educators asked if that subject could be incorporated into the college and career readiness curriculum. Hise said that would also have to be approved by legislators.
  • Other suggestions not incorporated in the plan, Hise said, aren’t within the scope of the Blueprint plan, such as the use of school resource officers, prioritizing civics education and delivery of transition services for teenagers with disabilities.

“The purpose of the comprehensive implementation plan is really to identify…the whatversus the how. The AIB’s primary focus is on the what,” Hise said. “The Blueprint comprehensive plan is not intended to specify every single thing that happened to require every single thing. That’s why we have local flexibility, local control and a state Department of Education that are our state’s education experts.”

The final draft of the CIP will be available in the coming weeks for public consumption.

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