With No Plan, Hogan Passes the Buck on Education

Sep 04, 2018

Annapolis, MD—Despite his own administration’s study showing that Maryland’s schools have been underfunded under his watch, Larry Hogan today blamed Democrats in the state legislature and local school boards for declining test scores. Rather than announcing additional funding to return schools to their best-in-nation ranking, today Hogan said he is appointing a new political investigator.

A 2016 study commissioned by the Maryland State Department of Education found that Maryland schools are underfunded by nearly $3 billion annually.

“Larry Hogan has no vision and no plan to improve public schools. Instead he puts the blame on local school boards and produces misleading political ads,” said Maryland Democratic Party chair Kathleen Matthews. “Maryland families entrusted Larry Hogan with the responsibility of educating their children, but instead of proposing solutions, he’s once again trying to pass the buck. Maryland schools don’t need a political investigator who answers to Larry Hogan, they need adequate funding.”

“The buck stops at the governor’s desk—at least it should,” said Delegate Eric Luedtke. “Larry Hogan has had four years to fix the chronic underfunding of our schools and address the challenges our teachers and students face every day, but he keeps finding new ways to shift the blame and deflect responsibility. While Larry Hogan hides from his responsibility to our students, Ben Jealous has a bold agenda to take on this challenge and give our students a world class education.”

“Instead of taking responsibility for the fact that Maryland schools are underfunded, Larry Hogan decided today to blame schools and the staff who work in them for lackluster test scores and drops in national rankings,” said Cheryl Bost, former Baltimore County Teacher of the Year and President of the Maryland State Education Association. “A political investigator run out of the Governor’s Office won’t lead to better outcomes for our kids—it’ll just create more attacks on our under-resourced schools. We need a new governor with a plan to fully fund our schools so we can get back to making sure every child has access to equal opportunity.”

Hogan has been undermining Maryland schools since he attempted to cut $144 million from Maryland’s public schools less than a month into his term. In 2016, he pushed to cut $30 million from new education spending that go towards after-school programs, college preparation, and teacher retention strategies. Overall, Hogan has tried to cut $206 million and successfully blocked nearly $100 million from students in public schools. In the last three years, Hogan diverted $18 million in funding from public schools to subsidize expensive private schools. 

Hogan’s failures on education are adding up. Since Hogan entered office, Maryland public schools have dropped in national rankings three straight years, including a 16-spot drop in 8th grade reading achievement and an 11-spot drop in 8th grade math achievement, according to Education Week and the National Assessment of Education Progress. PARCC scores released last week showed 65% of Maryland students are behind in math skills. 

Voters are taking notice, with the Washington Post poll reporting that only 43 percent of all Marylanders approving of Hogan’s performance on education.  

In contrast to Hogan’s lack of vision, Ben Jealous has a bold agenda to make Maryland schools the best in the nation. Jealous’ plan calls for closing the achievement gap—which has widened under Hogan’s watch—increasing teacher pay by 29 percent to recruit and retain the best teachers for our students, and fully-funding our public schools.

Hogan’s visionless management of Maryland has drawn attention from editorial boards in Maryland. After Hogan released a misleading ad taking credit for the education lockbox amendment passed by Democrats in the legislature, the Baltimore Sun editorial board blasted Hogan’s “alternative fact,” writing that the governor has a “a comic disregard for the truth.” When Hogan tried to mislead Marylanders about the costs of Jealous’ plans to pass universal pre-K, the Sun editorial board criticized the governor’s failure to put forward a plan and that the issue “warrants more than Governor Hogan’s shrug of his shoulders.” The Washington Post editorial board recently warned that Hogan will struggled in the election given his record of “incrementalism and lack of any signature marquee initiative.” The paper wrote that Hogan’s challenge will be to “convince Marylanders that he has a vision for the state.”