The Blueprint: A 13-Year Plan for Investmenet and Opportunity for All Students

The Blueprint for Maryland’s Future is a multi-billion dollar investment in Maryland schools that gives opportunity, hope, and promise to all Maryland students, no matter what they look like, where they come from, or who their family is. The Blueprint is an education plan for the benefit of all Marylanders—it will lift families in marginalized communities, build a stronger workforce with more diverse skills, and keep Maryland thriving as a place to live and work

This historic investment brings to students, educators, and schools changes educators have long advocated for and expands opportunities at every grade level with new resources, programs, and staffing. It all comes with an accountability system to ensure the funding and implementation upholds the intent of the Kirwan Commission’s four-year study and report, which is the foundation of the Blueprint legislation. See the Blueprint timeline, facing page.

A Blueprint Primer

Early research by the Kirwan Commission uncovered not only an educator shortage in Maryland but a profession struggling to remain competitive with those requiring similar education and credentials. The Blueprint’s commitment builds educator salaries, bolstering recruitment into a newly invigorated, respect­ed, and diverse profession with increased salaries and a starting salary of $60,000 by 2026.

Pay is only part of the equation. The Blueprint projects that 15,000 new educators will be hired, including behavioral health pro­fessionals, more paraeducators, and others, allowing more time for collaboration, planning, and indi­vidualized attention for students.

The Blueprint funds the creation and expansion of career and technical education programs and introduces opportunities earlier and to more students across all grade levels. With earlier career guidance and more specific skill-building, students can qualify for well-paying jobs upon gradu­ation. Local program committees will join existing community partners to identify opportuni­ties and create pathways to jobs and stronger local economies. By 2030, the Blueprint’s goal is that 45% of high school students will achieve an industry-recognized credential before they graduate.

With an investment in equity, the Blueprint will help communi­ties that have long suffered from under-investment and systemic racism by promising more equitable funding, including for students who receive special education services, English language learners (ELL), and schools in high-poverty commu­nities. Struggling learners will receive early individual or small-group tutoring support. Per pupil funding will increase by 20% for ELL and double for special education students and, in the next dozen years, more than 150 new family support and early ed centers will open across the state for even earlier inter­ventions.

The Blueprint will convert nearly one-third of Maryland schools into community schools, where a school-based coordinator will help determine a school’s specific needs, such as academic and language supports, nutrition, and medical, dental, and mental health care. With 45% of Maryland students living in poverty, this community school expansion—one of the largest in the country—will make a huge difference for students and families in every corner of the state.

The Blueprint investment in early childhood education is additional equity-focused funding that levels the playing field for our youngest learners beginning with those in the most economically challenged communities. The pro­gram begins as voluntary and free to all three- and four-year-olds from families with incomes up to 300% of the federal poverty level ($26,200 for a family of four), and on a sliding scale to all four-year-olds from families with incomes 300%–600% of the federal poverty level. In 10 years, it’s estimated that 80% of eligible children will be enrolled in a publicly funded pre-k.

The Blueprint sets up a rigorous accountability structure to ensure that these new investments go where they are intended and aren’t redirected by central offices or the Maryland State Department of Education. The Accountability and Implementation Board is an independent body that will make sure the Blueprint imple­mentation goes as planned and that resources actually reach classrooms and students.

The Kirwan Commission studied the highest-rated school systems in the world to help craft our historic Blueprint for Maryland’s Future—a plan that puts ed policies in place that are based in research, tested, and proven successful. For too long our policymakers haven’t invested enough in what gives all of our students real opportunities. That ends with the Blueprint—and our students and our profession will benefit.

— MSEA President Cheryl Bost

The Blueprint Timeline

April 2016 Legislation to create the Kirwan Commission unanimously passes the General Assembly.

December 2016 An independent study finds Maryland schools are annually underfunded by $2.9 billion.

Fall 2017 The Kirwan Commission hosts public hearings across the state gathering citizen input.

March–November 2018 Momentum grows to ensure casino revenues benefit public education as intended. Legislators pass Fix the Fund legislation and voters pass Question 1 to add about $500 million annually in increased school funding.

January–March 2019 The Kirwan Commission identifies five policy areas to be the focus of their work. 8,500 educators and friends of education March for Our Schools in Annapolis to support the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future.

April 2019 Legislators pass an initial Blueprint bill covering four years of expanded programming. The Kirwan Com­mission establishes a workgroup to determine a funding formula.

Fall 2019 The Kirwan Commission issues its final report—including a new fund­ing formula and game-changing investments in Maryland schools.

January–February 2020 The General Assembly passes a second, comprehensive bill on the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future which includes a revamped funding formula.

May 2020 Governor Hogan vetoes the Blue­print just as the pandemic shines a powerful light on existing inequities that disproportionately harm Black, Brown, and rural communities.

February 2021 The General Assembly overrides Gov­ernor Hogan’s veto of the Blueprint—making it law and setting the stage for a decade of investment and positive transformation. Due to the governor’s veto, the General Assem­bly passes “Blueprint 2.0” legislation to adjust the timeline for implemen­tation.

Spring 2021 A nominating committee is estab­lished—including MSEA President Cheryl Bost—to identify prospective members to the seven-member Accountability and Implementation Board.

February 2022 The AIB must present an implementation plan that will set the standards for all local district Blueprint implementation plans by February 15, 2022. Most of the Blueprint’s funding formulas and programs begin July 1, 2022.

MSEA is building a library of Blueprint primers to help educators understand what the Blueprint means for them, their students, and the communities they serve. Find them here beginning July 15.

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