Blueprint for Maryland’s Future
Solis supports the monumental education reform bill, Blueprint for Maryland’s Future.
The Blueprint for Maryland’s Future is a 10-year plan that would expand pre-kindergarten programs and increase funding for schools with high concentrations of poverty, increase pay and career opportunities for teachers, create new career pathways for high schoolers who don’t plan to attend college, and establish an accountability board to ensure that the government and school districts properly implement the Blueprint plan.
HB 496 Counselors Not Cops Act
HB 1089 Police Free Schools Act
Solis also supports legislation aiming to provide schools with more counselors and less resource officers, such as the Police Free Schools Act and the Counselors Not Cops Act. These two bills would help prevent the school to prison pipeline by focusing on getting children help instead of disrupting their education, and traumatizing them through a complex and racist legal system that can have lasting impacts on children’s future and success. Both bills were introduced in the General Assembly this year, but were not passed.
Why More Counselors and Less or No Cops?
- School counselors, nurses, social workers, and psychologists are frequently the first to see children who are sick, stressed, or traumatized — especially in low-income districts. The benefits of investing in mental health services are clear: Schools with mental health services see improved attendance rates, better academic achievement, and higher graduation rates as well as lower rates of suspension, expulsion, and other disciplinary incidents. According to the ACLU, data shows that the presence of school-based mental health providers not only improves outcomes for students, but can also improve overall school safety.
- Conversely, there is no evidence that increased resources officers in schools improves school safety it causes harm. When in schools, resources officers do what they are trained to do, which is detain, handcuff, and arrest. This leads to greater student alienation and a more threatening school environment.
- The growing deficit of mental health services offered in schools is inexcusable, especially given the growing use of law enforcement in schools. This dangerous combination is a central reason the most vulnerable students are being funneled into the school-to-prison pipeline.
Additional Funding for New Schools in Prince George’s County
Solis also supports funding specifically for additional public schools in Prince George’s County School. More public schools in Prince Georges County would provide smaller classrooms to students and allow students to have undivided attention from teachers and faculty. Two things that have been proven to increase students’ academic success.