Common core, security, bullying among the school issues being debated in Annapolis

ANNAPOLIS, Md. - Maryland state lawmakers returned to Annapolis Wednesday to begin the 2014 General Assembly session.

While a review of Maryland's minimum wage and legalizing marijuana are expected to garner plenty of headlines, some education bills are already in the works.

Speaker of the House Michael Busch said education is just too important  to the state of Maryland to ignore.

Some legislators have already proposed some bills that will effect Maryland school systems. One of those proposals comes from Del. Mike Smigiel, a Republican from the Eastern Shore. Smigiel would like Maryland to reconsider the state's stance on Common Core, the federal standardized testing program for elementary schools.

"It cost $5 to test a student now," he said. "If we put Common Core through, it's going to cost $22 each to test students every year. Now the states are going to pick up that cost, not the feds."

Other lawmakers want to offer proposals that they feel will improve the safety of children at school. Del. John Cluster of Baltimore County, would like to see retired police officers as resource officers for specified public schools in areas where active officers aren't posted.

"It's important to have a retired officer because they are already trained," Cluster said. "They can assess a situation; they've been through stressful situation before and they are able to carry handguns. I think it's important to have an officer there."

Other legislators are concerned about the emotional safety of our students. Del. Jon Cardin, a Democrat representing Baltimore County, has proposed legislation that will require county boards of education to have a bullying hot line for students to report bullying in schools.

Cardin would also like to see "bullying tip boxes" in schools. Cardin says with technology today, bullying is even easier.

"When you are threatening people, it can have devastating consequences," Cardin said.

 

To officially become a law, all bills must be passed in both the House of Delegates and the state Senate by the end of the day on April 7.

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