AFT-Maryland and Baltimore Teachers Union members testified before the House Ways and Means Committee on Tuesday, February 28, 2017, in opposition to HB 878, a proposed expansion in current state charter school laws. Maryland already has some of the best, strongest charter laws in the nation, and our members want to keep it that way.
Megan Trainer, of Hampstead Hill Academy Public Charter School, praised her school’s creative and unique approach to education while being appreciative of the oversight of both her school’s administration and the oversight of Baltimore City Public Schools. She lauded this relationship for maintaining transparency and accountability.
Elizabeth Bucke also testified before the same committee against the expansion of Maryland charter law. Bucke, a teacher at Wolfe Street Academy Public Charter School testified that the student population at her school is more than 90% FARM eligible (Free and Reduced Meals) and 60% ELL (English Language Learners), and yet they are still one of the top performing elementary schools in Baltimore City under the current charter school law. She expressed concern as both a taxpayer and a teacher that this bill would create separate funding sources for charter schools and traditional public schools. She also echoed Trainer’s concern that this bill would take control out of the hands of local public school administrators and give too much control to charter operators.
Both teachers asked the committee for an unfavorable report on the bill. A similar bill that would have expanded charter schools and weakened oversight was defeated by AFT-Maryland and educational allies during the 2015 legislative session.
Other members testifying against HB 878 included Katrina Kickbush, a teacher at Wolfe Street Academy public charter school, and Jacqueline Jackson, a teacher at Thomas Jefferson Elementary Middle School.