The Maryland Education Coalition is dedicated to raising the academic achievement of students in Maryland public schools by promoting adequate funding, equitable policies and transparent accountability for improving results.
ABOUT the MARYLAND EDUCATION COALITION (MEC)
The Maryland Education Coalition (MEC) was originally founded over 40 years ago (1980) and is the oldest, most experienced, and diverse public education advocacy coalition in Maryland. MEC is currently made up of over twenty statewide organizations and individuals. Our members include former top state or local administrators, educators, lawyers, social workers, psychologists, artist/musicians, parent, community, and business leaders.
Although our goals, objectives and priorities have been modified or updated over the years, our mission and primary purpose has always been based on the Maryland Constitution, Article VIII – Education, SECTION 1., which says – “The General Assembly, …, shall by Law establish throughout the State a thorough and efficient System of Free Public Schools; and shall provide by taxation, or otherwise, for their maintenance.”
MEC believes that there must be meaningful stakeholder participation in the decision-making process at the school, school system, state department of education and General Assembly level whenever applicable. Our members or staff has been found throughout Maryland Public Schools including the AIB workgroup, Kirwan Commission and Workgroups, MSDE and local school system task forces, study, advisory and other groups.
BRIEF HISTORY OF SOME OF MEC’s MAJOR EDUCATION POLICY INITIATIVES
Some organizations (not MEC), have been involved with legal cases that impacted state law including:
1978, Hornbeck v. Somerset Co. Bd. of Educ - Holding that Maryland's system of financing public education was not unconstitutional in 1983
Vaughns v. BOARD EDUCATION, PRINCE GEORGE'S COUNTY - In a series of opinions issued in 1972, of the Court certified a Plaintiff class of "all black children residing in Prince George's County" and found the Board to be in violation of the school desegregation requirements of Brown v. Board of Education. In 1998, the defendants asked the court to approve a Memorandum of Understanding ("MOU") to settle the litigation and the court approved it.
Bradford v. Maryland State Board of Education - Filed in 1994 by the ACLU against the state of Maryland on behalf of at-risk school children in Baltimore City. The Circuit Court in Bradford declared that students in Baltimore City were not receiving the “thorough and efficient” public school education to which they are entitled under Article VIII of the Maryland Constitution. (This case is still pending – see the ACLU of MD for its status)
These cases had a considerable influence on the General Assembly, which created the (Thornton) Commission on Education, Finance, Equity and Excellence in 1999. MEC commissioned an adequacy study, conducted by the Management Analysis and Planning, Inc., and the findings were included in the final report. They submitted their final report, January 2002. This report resulted in the General Assembly approving the Bridge to Excellence in Public Schools Act of 2002, which required a review after ten years.
Starting in 2012, MEC began making requests to various General Assembly, State Department of Education, and other public education leaders to implement the review of the Bridge for Excellence Act, Finally in 2014, the State Department (MSDE) convened the Cost of Adequacy of Education Funding in the State of Maryland Stakeholder Group. The four MEC representatives to the group were – ACLU-MD, Advocates for Children & Youth, Maryland Disability Law Center (now Disability Rights Maryland) and the PTA of Maryland. They submitted the Adequacy Study of Funding for Education in Maryland - Final report during December 2016 to the General Assembly
This resulted in the General Assembly creating the (Kirwan) Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education. MEC was represented by the PTA of Maryland, attended all meetings or hearings, and actively participated in their workgroups. The commission submitted the Blueprint for Maryland's Future Final Report, December 2020. This Bridge for Excellence Act was passed in 2020, vetoed by the Governor, overridden, and revised by 2022. By 2030, funding will increase by at least $3.5 billion. It also includes the creation of the Accountability and Implementation Board to oversee the law.
During the same period the General Assembly also passed the Built to Learn Act, which significantly increased school construction budget by over a billion dollars and updated various policies to make them for current and timely.