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Senate Panels Approve Education Reform Bill With A Potential Off-Ramp After Five Years

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A Maryland Senate panel moved forward Wednesday with amendments to a multi-billion-dollar education reform plan ― including a provision that would require a “checkpoint” to test the success of the reforms by 2026.

The Senate’s Budget and Taxation and Education, Health and Environmental Affairs committees approved dozens of amendments to the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future reform bill late Wednesday night.

The “checkpoint” provision included by the Senate panels requires the state to conduct a review before the 2026 fiscal year to determine whether there’s sufficient funding for the final five years of the reform plan, whether reforms are being implemented according to the plan and whether schools are achieving desired outcomes. If one of the items is not met, increased state funding per child would be limited to 2% in the 2026 fiscal year and local school systems would not be required to further implement the Blueprint reforms.

The proposal generated debate among senators.

Sen. Mary L. Washington (D-Baltimore City) said the amendment felt like “an escape hatch” that could derail the ambitious education reform plan.

“I just can’t vote for this. I feel like it takes away from everything we’re doing. It doesn’t give me confidence that we’re fully committed to making it work,” Washington said. “…This really detracts from the whole mission.”

Read more via Maryland Matters

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