As a teacher and a mother of two students who graduated from FCPS schools, I know how important public schools are for the future of Frederick County. In 2002, Maryland adopted a funding formula based on the needs of students at that time. Now, almost 18 years later, those needs have changed drastically. Special Education and English Language Learner needs have increased, the number of students living in poverty has almost doubled (from 22 percent to 45 percent), and the need for training in technology and career skills, including trades like plumbing, welding, and building, has increased.
The Blueprint for Maryland’s Future, among other things, would broadly expand career technical education to give our students job-ready industry certifications upon graduation. If they choose to, they could get well-paying, stable jobs right out of high school. We need to attract and keep good jobs here in Frederick County, and building a steady pipeline of well-trained future workers will go a long way to building a strong, prosperous economy over the long-term.
A new formula for funding schools, and full implementation of the recommendations of the Kirwan Commission, can address these needs by expanding access to pre-K and career and technical education, hiring more educators, and providing additional support to struggling learners.
I have had as many as 42 students in my classroom. As hard as I work, I cannot fully meet the individual needs of that many students at once. We need more teachers and instructional assistants in our schools. We need more technical and career training opportunities. The current funding that our schools have isn’t enough to give every student a real shot at success.
Investment in public education is an investment in the future of Frederick County. I want the next generation to be able to meet or exceed the quality of life of the last. It is time to contact your legislators and urge them to pass the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future during the 2020 legislative session.