Maria Allwine believes that:

Standardized testing should not be “high-stakes.”

Teachers should be given support and flexibility.

School communities should have greater control over their local schools.

In order to get the best education for Maryland, we must meaningfully address poverty.

We must pass inclusionary zoning legislation and fund school/classroom libraries to increase access to quality books.

Education should be free through college.

Teachers’ evaluations are being tied to standardized test scores. We are moving from high-stakes testing to ‘through the roof’-stakes testing. Therefore, we are narrowing the definition of education to “that which is on the almighty test.” What is not tested gets diminished and neglected.

We all want students to learn and develop their minds. Students should learn grammar, writing mechanics, mathematical concepts, subject-specific knowledge, and technology skills. They must learn how to create projects, communicate ideas effectively and work collaboratively in teams. They should develop critical thinking skills, artistic and musical abilities, a love of reading, and confidence to take charge of their future. Also, give them healthy dose of civics, multicultural learning, local history and current events. What it means to be “educated” is a long, diverse list of skills, abilities and knowledge that should be continually questioned and analyzed by each school community.

We need teacher and school accountability, but the education system has been dangerously skewed toward a narrow definition what is important. The kind of education that many of us grew up with and valued is not being offered to our children.

In order to provide high quality education to our students, we need to fund our schools adequately, give the school community a greater voice in how their local school is run, and provide teachers with all the support they need (including great materials, reduced class sizes, more classroom assistants, and the freedom to teach creative lessons). We must not hold them hostage to high-stakes standardized tests.

In addition, if we really want to address education, we have to address poverty. Many schools have a high concentration of poverty, and this makes reform efforts extremely difficult. Municipalities should pass inclusionary zoning legislation so that poverty becomes less concentrated. This is a long-term solution, but it is an important step to take. In the meantime, state and local governments must work to alleviate poverty and ensure that each family is housed, fed and moving toward adequate employment. Children must be given access to quality books and literature. We can do this very effectively by funding school and classroom libraries.

We must maintain the high levels of school funding. Education should be free through college. In order to do this, we will have to re-order our priorities. Cutting corporate welfare will provide more funding for education.

We oppose charter schools. The effects of supporting charter schools could undermine our education. Charter schools are often an avenue to privatize our public education system. In many charter schools private operators – analyzing data from a distance – make educational decisions. Parents, teachers and students have less control over what is taught and how it is taught. Maria Allwine will work to slow the growth of charter schools in Maryland.