Breaking Down the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future
This is part of a series of articles explaining what’s in the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future (HB 1300/SB 1000) as introduced. Look for other articles on salaries and staffing, career and technical education, community schools, and more.
The Blueprint for Maryland’s Future commits to giving children adequate and equitable access to the best education and supports needed to succeed in school. A new investment in high-quality early childhood education will mean a more level playing field and more equitable opportunities to succeed for children across the state as they begin their school careers.
Over its 10-year implementation, the Blueprint will deliver a significant expansion of full-day pre-kindergarten. The program will be voluntary and free to all three- and four-year-olds from families with incomes up to 300% of the federal poverty level (FPL; the FPL is $26,200 for a family of four), and to all four-year-olds from families with incomes between 300% and 600% of the FPL, using a sliding scale. Families would pay a portion of the cost for four-year-olds up to 600% of the FPL. This plan gives more children an opportunity to begin kindergarten ready to learn and excel.
The Kirwan Commission estimated that 70% of eligible students in families with the lowest incomes would participate in the first few years. In year five, funding for families with higher incomes will begin, and the estimate is that by year ten, 80% of all eligible children will be enrolled in some publicly funded pre-k, with grants offered to families on a sliding scale if their income is between 300% and 600% of the FPL.
The academic benefits of pre-k have been proven again and again in academic studies. The Blueprint’s plan for pre-k will rebalance the equation that has put some students at a disadvantage before they even walk into their kindergarten classroom for the first time. The major expansion of pre-k in the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future will help to bring about real and lasting educational equity across Maryland.
Click here to email your legislators and urge them to pass the Blueprint and a new funding formula that will be a game-changer for our students and schools.
For further information on pre-k expansion in the Blueprint, see pp. 115–139 of the bill at thislink.