In February, we announced the 34 policy goals our local leaders are pursuing this year across the 10 states in the CAN network. Today, in the first of what will be a series of state updates throughout the year, I’m pleased to share our progress made in the first states to wrap up their legislative sessions: Georgia and Maryland.
The stoplight indicates a green light for an advocacy win, a yellow light for significant progress made towards a goal, and a red light for an advocacy loss. Read on to see what our inspiring local leaders have been working on at the capitol and in the community.
Develop a core group of high-performing Baltimore principals who will advocate for greater school-level autonomy within the district.
MarylandCAN successfully trained 33 Baltimore principals through the innovative Baltimore Principal Leadership Consultancy, a professional development program that provides school leaders with the tools and framework to develop advocacy campaigns in their communities. This program matches new principals with principal mentors to develop a robust bench of school-level leaders.
Secure the ability for non-county entities to employ principals and teachers and authorize a new class of schools in Baltimore City.
MarylandCAN supported Governor Hogan’s proposal, which, among other improvements to the charter school landscape, would have secured the ability for non-county entities to employ principals and teachers. However, the legislation did not advance past committee.
In addition to these goals, MarylandCAN was at the forefront of a coalition that worked to protect the state’s accountability system, with MarylandCAN board member Pastor Michael Phillips appearing in conjunction with Governor Hogan as he vetoed the legislation, HB 978. Unfortunately, the Democratic-controlled General Assembly overrode the veto. MarylandCAN also spent the legislative session collaborating with the Faith Leaders for Excellent Schools coalition to build an organic reform community movement from the ground up in Baltimore.
Improve Georgia’s charter school environment.
GeorgiaCAN and the Georgia Charter Schools Association successfully advocated for the passage of HB 430, a bill that implements the education reform commission’s recommendations of ensuring Georgia charter schools receive equitable distribution of state and federal funds and establishing an authorizer code based on the NACSA Principles and Standards for Charter School Authorizing. This bill will be signed by the governor and begin its implementation in the fall of 2017.
Move Georgia to a student-centric state education funding formula.
After 3 years of advocating on its behalf, GeorgiaCAN successfully passed a bill on school-level fiscal transparency in this legislative session. This bill lays the foundation for moving Georgia toward a student-centric funding formula in the future.
Expand options for children to have access to the school of their choice.
GeorgiaCAN pursued several bills in support of school choice at the committee level, but none of the bills advanced in the legislature this session.
In addition to legislative work, GeorgiaCAN organized parents and students to send more than 900 calls and emails to legislators on education issues. Throughout the year, they’ll continue to work with local community leaders to support citizen advocacy throughout the Peach State.
We know that the end of a legislative session or the passage of a bill is not the end of our work, but rather a step in a continuing journey to bring a high-quality education to all kids, regardless of their address. We aim to learn from our successes and setbacks in Georgia and Maryland as we chart the path forward—and look forward to sharing our next update on our work in Tennessee and South Carolina in June. In the meantime, you can always follow along with the work our advocates are doing in the field on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.