And other legislative updates in MSEA’s Up the Street
We took our updates related to the Kirwan Commission, 2018 legislative session, and the organizing work ahead for this year and next year directly to Facebook on Thursday evening. Click here to watch the rebroadcast of the Facebook Live Special Report. This online update was designed to allow educators to learn about the changes that could be coming to classrooms and paychecks as a result of the Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education (Kirwan Commission) — including salary and staffing increases and expanding career and technology education and pre-K. The first step to making these changes a reality are identifying some of the resources to support a new school funding formula. That is what our work to Fix the Fund and pass a constitutional amendment to create a lockbox on the $500 million in the Education Trust Fund is all about.
MSEA is planning a march in Annapolis on March 19 called The March to Fix the Fund — which will focus on asking members of the General Assembly to put a constitutional amendment on the 2018 ballot to ensure casino gaming revenue goes towards increasing education funding. Please RSVP at this link and widely distribute the form to members and community partners.
On Wednesday evening, President Donald Trump proposed arming 20% of the nation’s teachers with guns, drawing quick opposition from parents, educators, and students. Teachers in Maryland joined their colleagues across the country in taking to social media with the #ArmMeWith hashtag, asking elected officials to arm them with more school counselors, small class sizes, less testing, more social and emotional learning — but definitely not firearms. You can read our MSEA Newsfeed story on this online movement here.
MSEA President Betty Weller was quoted in the Washington Post this morning, saying: “When hearing the idea of arming as many as 20 percent of teachers with guns, the overwhelming reaction of Maryland educators is total disbelief…It’s why you’re seeing educators across the state take to social media to talk about arming us with more school counselors and psychologists, more time to work on social and emotional learning and less time testing, and smaller class sizes so we can devote more attention to each and every student.”
MSEA plans to testify before the House Judiciary Committee on March 6 in opposition to legislation (HB760) that would authorize any teacher with a handgun permit to carry a gun in school.
On Wednesday morning, the Goucher Poll released brand new data showing 71% of Maryland residents believe the state government spends “too little” on public education. A majority of Democrats (81%), Independents (73%), and Republicans (51%) answered “too little” in response to the question — a strong bipartisan coalition of Maryland residents. Marylanders from all corners of the state believe the state underfunds their public schools, with 73% of residents in the DC Capitol region, 68% from Central Maryland, and 73% of those living outside the urban corridor answering “too little.”
MSEA put out a press release highlighting the data, saying, “Parents and educators know the truth about how underfunded our schools have become in the last decade. The time for budget gimmicks and temporary fixes must end. The 2018 elections will be a referendum on the question of: who is ready to pass a comprehensive plan to provide our schools and students with the funding they truly need?”
In response to several instances of discrimination by private schools participating in Gov. Hogan’s BOOST voucher program, MSEA testified this week in support of strengthening anti-discrimination protections for students. Bill sponsor Sen. Cheryl Kagan (D-Montgomery-District 17) is leading the effort in the Senate by introducing SB1060 — which would prohibit private schools from refusing enrollment of, expelling, withholding privileges from, or otherwise discriminating against any student or prospective student under penalty of civil suit. Del. Cory McCray (D-Baltimore City-District 45) is the House sponsor of the crossfile bill, HB 1565.
On Tuesday morning, the Goucher Poll released new polling data on Gov. Hogan’s re-election chances, showing he currently leads 47–43 with 10% undecided. This narrow lead, just slightly greater than the poll’s 3.5% margin of error, indicates that the governor has lost 10 points since February of last year — when he garnered 53% of the projected vote. Hogan is especially struggling with female (down 9 points), black (down 37 points), and younger voters (down 18 points) in a year when turnout amongst those three demographic groups is expected to spike.
Gov. Hogan and Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford officially filed for re-election on Thursday.
With the February 27 candidate filing deadline drawing closer, all but one Democratic candidate for governor has now selected a running mate:
· Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker selected former Baltimore City mayoral candidate Elizabeth Embry
· Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz tapped former Montgomery County Councilmember Valerie Ervin
· Former NAACP President Ben Jealous selected former Maryland Democratic Party Chair Susan Turnbull
· Former Venable Chairman Jim Shea picked Baltimore City Councilmember Brandon Scott
· Former State Department Advisor Alec Ross tapped Denizens Brewing Co. Co-Owner Julie Verratti
· Former Policy Advisor to the First Lady Krish Vignarajah has not yet selected a running mate
On Thursday morning, the Goucher Poll released the third part of their latest polling effort, showing a wide-open Democratic primary. “Undecided” lapped the field with 47% of the vote, with Baker (19%), Kamenetz (12%), and Jealous (10%) in double digits. All three of those candidates saw growth from the last Goucher Poll in September. Meanwhile, Ross, Madaleno, Shea, and Vignarajah are struggling to gain name recognition with each getting below 4% of the vote.
The poll also found that education continues to be the top issue for Democratic primary voters, beating out “economy and jobs” by six points and health care by 12 points.
The same Goucher Poll release showed Maryland U.S. Senator Ben Cardin with a commanding lead over his primary challenger Chelsea Manning. Cardin currently leads the primary 61–17 with 19% undecided. Despite Cardin’s significant name recognition advantage, more than twice as many voters view Manning unfavorably (37%) than the popular incumbent senator (15%). Some have also questioned Manning’s eligibility to run.