Last night, Gov. Larry Hogan’s appointee for the State Board of Education, Brandon Cooper, went before the Senate Executive Nominations Committee for his confirmation hearing. During the hearing, senators questioned Cooper on his lack of experience with education policy, his employer’s advocacy for school privatization, and his troubling legal history—including drunk driving, failure to appear in court, driving with a suspended license, and failure to pay state taxes.
In light of Cooper’s highly unusual disqualifications for a member of the state’s highest education policymaking body, the Maryland State Education Association—the statewide educators’ union representing more than 73,000 teachers and education support professionals—is calling on Gov. Hogan to withdraw Cooper’s appointment.
MSEA Director of Legislative Affairs, Sean Johnson, released the following statement:
“While we have concerns with many of Gov. Hogan’s appointments to the State Board of Education—of whom, only one of ten has any experience working in a Maryland public school—we do not usually object to their confirmation. But considering Mr. Cooper’s consistent disregard for state law and his complete lack of experience with Maryland public schools and education policy, Maryland’s educators have no choice but to urge Gov. Hogan to withdraw his misguided selection.
“It is disappointing that Gov. Hogan either did not subject his own appointments to the same level of scrutiny that he has insisted upon for new delegate appointments or was aware of Mr. Cooper’s troubling legal history and simply looked the other way.
“Between drunk driving, failure to pay state taxes, advocating for policies that would dismantle public education, and a complete lack of experience with Maryland public schools, Mr. Cooper should be nowhere near the State Board of Education and its far-reaching authority over our kids’ education. Gov. Hogan should meet the standards he has set for others and withdraw Mr. Cooper’s name from consideration.”