Governor Larry Hogan Vetoes Bill Weakening School Accountability

April 7, 2017

HB 978 Would Trap Kids in Failing Schools, Governor Calls on Legislators to Sustain Veto

Governor Larry Hogan today vetoed HB 978, legislation that would mandate weak accountability standards for Maryland public schools, risk federal funding for K-12 education, and trap thousands of children in failing schools.

“We are proud of the many great schools in Maryland, but too many equally deserving children continue to be stuck in schools that are consistently failing them, year after year,” said Governor Hogan. “Last week, the legislature passed a piece of legislation which, if not reversed, would directly threaten Maryland’s well-earned reputation as a national leader in education. Instead of racing to the top, we would be trapped in a race to the bottom. This bill would make us one of the least accountable school systems in the United States of America.

“Today I want to make it absolutely clear – I will not sign this bill into law. In fact, I will be signing a veto rejecting this legislation and sending it back to the General Assembly, and this afternoon I am calling on all members of the legislature, from both sides of the aisle, to do the right thing for our kids. Please put aside the politics and sustain this veto,” continued the governor.

The entire Maryland State Board of Education, Maryland State Department of Education, bipartisan education advocates, and the state’s leading editorial boards have joined the governor to oppose this bill and its disastrous consequences for Maryland’s most vulnerable students.

“This new bill could dramatically reverse this progress, leaving Maryland — often considered a leader in education — in the unfamiliar position of trailing behind other states. The Maryland State Board of Education and Governor Larry Hogan are right to oppose this legislation and keep sights set higher for Maryland’s students,” read a statement released on Tuesday by The Education Trust, a national non-profit education organization headed by former Obama administration Education Secretary John B. King, Jr.

The governor officially vetoed the bill at a press conference held at Baltimore Collegiate School for Boys, a public charter school in Baltimore City. He was joined by Maryland State Department of Education Superintendent Dr. Karen Salmon, Pastor Michael Phillips of Kingdom Life Church, as well as hundreds of Baltimore Collegiate students and Executive Director Jack Pannell, and students from Baltimore Leadership School for Young Women and Executive Director Dr. Shanaysha Sauls.

The vetoed bill will be returned to the Maryland General Assembly, where it will either be sustained or overridden. Read the governor’s veto letter here.