Today, Democrats from the Maryland General Assembly stood with parent, educator, and civil rights groups to override Gov. Hogan’s veto of the Protect Our Schools Act (HB978)—legislation that will make Maryland a leader in closing opportunity gaps, reducing standardized testing, and preventing Betsy DeVos-style school privatization. The House vote was 90-50 and the Senate vote was 32-15.
“Today was a huge day for public education in Maryland—and all supporters of our neighborhoods schools thank the General Assembly for overriding Gov. Hogan’s misguided veto,” said Betty Weller, president of the Maryland State Education Association. “The Protect Our Schools Act will position our schools to improve learning opportunities and student outcomes for years to come, while protecting them from failed, top-down privatization ideas that put corporate interests before our students.”
The legislation—which is supported by educators, parents, civil rights groups, and leading education scholars—protects Maryland schools from privatization and creates a strong, transparent school accountability system. However, Gov. Hogan vetoed the bill because it will stop his efforts with President Donald Trump and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to force communities to give up control of their schools and hand over operations to private and for-profit operators.
“We have an obligation to our children to try something new and change the status quo,” said Gerald Stansbury, president of the Maryland State Conference—NAACP, in a letter to senators. “It’s time to lead the nation in closing the opportunity gaps that lead to inequality in schools. The Protect Our Schools Act does exactly that.”
As the bill moved through the legislative process, the dividing line between support and opposition came down to commitment for public education. Parents groups, like the Maryland PTA, strongly supported the bill, while national school privatization groups opposed.
“This legislation makes it clear that local stakeholders, especially parents, now get the first say in how low-performing schools are improved,” said Elizabeth Ysla Leight, president of the Maryland PTA. “Not the partisans and not the so-called experts pushing their own agenda. Top-down, one-size-fits-all solutions have never worked.”
Some of the many stakeholders supporting the Protect Our Schools Act include:
NAACP—Maryland State Conference
Parent Advocacy Consortium
CASA de Maryland
Disability Rights Maryland
Maryland State Education Association
ACLU of Maryland
Baltimore Teachers Union
Advocates for Children and Youth
School Social Workers in Maryland
League of Women Voters
Arts Education in Maryland Schools Alliance
Maryland Coalition for Community Schools
Maryland Out of School Time Network