Vows to Reintroduce Accountability in Education Act of 2019, Create Education Accountability Office to Increase Oversight of School Systems
ANNAPOLIS, MD – On the first day of school in classrooms across Maryland, Governor Larry Hogan announced a series of initiatives to ensure accountability in state school systems, including an executive order creating an Office of Education Accountability. The governor also vowed to reintroduce legislation in the 2019 session of the Maryland General Assembly to create an independent Investigator General to investigate allegations of corruption, mismanagement, and criminal conduct in Maryland school systems. The governor was joined by Lt. Governor Boyd Rutherford and Dr. Karen Salmon, State Superintendent of Schools, to make the announcement, as well as education advocates and school officials.
“Our state spends more than $6.5 billion dollars every year on K-12 education. With that kind of state taxpayer money invested in the local systems, our taxpayers, parents, teachers, and especially our students have the right to expect – and they deserve – more accountability, better local management, and the strongest oversight possible,” said Governor Hogan. “We are continuing our fight to improve Maryland local schools, as well as our fight for accountability in local school systems because the status quo simply is not good enough for Maryland’s children.”
During the 2018 legislative session, Governor Hogan introduced the Accountability in Education Act of 2018 to address widespread accountability concerns from parents, students, and teachers involving school systems across the state due to recent and repeated allegations of wrongdoing, corruption, and mismanagement. Despite the administration’s efforts and the strong backing of parents and education advocates, the proposed legislation was never brought to the floor for a vote.
On the first day of the 2019 legislative session, the governor will reintroduce legislation to create an Office of the State Education Inspector General, an independent unit of the Maryland State Department of Education that will be independently chosen by a commission consisting of appointments made by the governor and the presiding officers of the General Assembly. The new office will be charged with investigating complaints of unethical, unprofessional, improper, or illegal conduct in our schools, and will have the ability to obtain information by subpoena and hold hearings.
To take immediate steps toward attaining the transparency, integrity, and accountability that Maryland parents, teachers, and students deserve, Governor Hogan signed Executive Order 01.01.2018.21 establishing the Office of Education Accountability, an independent watchdog that will be housed in the Governor’s Office for Children. The governor named Valerie Radomsky, a former Baltimore County Public Schools teacher, as director of the office. Most recently, Radomsky served as the chief advisor for education policy to Comptroller Peter Franchot, and she has built extensive relationships with teachers, students, parents, board members, and education advocates across the state.
The office will be responsible for analyzing, coordinating, and providing recommendations on matters including procurement, child abuse, neglect, safety, grading, graduation requirements, assessments, educational facilities, and budgets. The director will also develop criteria for investigating matters based on systematic concerns related to fraud, abuse, waste, and unethical conduct. This includes the establishment of an anonymous electronic tip program to allow reporting of violations, which can be found at governor.maryland.gov/school-survey-form, which will be active when Radomsky assumes her position on September 12.
“Our children cannot and should not have to wait until next year – they deserve action right now,” said Governor Hogan. “As we continue our fight for accountability in local education systems, our children desperately need someone to fight for their civil rights, and that is exactly what we intend to continue to do.”