State Roundup, February 8, 2017

PUBLIC SCHOOL PRIVATIZATION DECRIED: Maryland Democratic lawmakers on Tuesday made their case against a series of state education bills that they say push a “privatization agenda” also championed by President Donald Trump and his controversial new education secretary, Betsy DeVos, Pamela Wood of the Sun reports. Dozens of Democrats joined the state teachers union to decry bills backed by Gov. Larry Hogan that would provide scholarships to private schools and encourage more charter schools in Maryland.

  • Ovetta Wiggins of the Post reports that late last year, the State Board of Education started to discuss ways to help low-performing schools. Among its solutions: expanding charters and the use of vouchers. “We don’t need escapes out of public schools. We need to improve our public schools,” said Del. Eric G. Luedtke (D-Montgomery), a former teacher who is to sponsor the “Protect Our Schools Act,” a bill that essentially prevents the state board from privatizing schools.

  • House Speaker Michael E. Busch joined Maryland State Education Association President Betty Weller and dozens of General Assembly Democrats to take aim at proposals from Hogan that would increase state funding for private school scholarships and bypass public school boards when establishing charter schools in Maryland. Weller likened Hogan’s measures to those championed by DeVos, an advocate for charter schools who was narrowly confirmed as education secretary Tuesday, Amanda Yeager of the Annapolis Capital reports. The article is topped by a 2-minute video of the press conference.