Maryland’s schools have been ranked #1 in the nation for the second year in a row, but we have to do everything we can to keep our schools on top. Our main challenge is to ensure that every child enters our K-12 education ready to excel at learning. Research now shows that 90% of human brain development occurs before age 5. We will keep our schools on top if we continue our progress toward free, high-quality, pre-kindergarten opportunities for all Maryland children.
Last year, the Assembly passed Delegate Hucker’s bill, HB 184, which helped make our state eligible for federal Early Education grants. This year, he sponsored HB 350, which will finish the job of winning an Early Education Challenge Grant from the federal government by demonstrating strong legislative support for and oversight of expanded pre-kindergarten. The House and Senate passed Delegate Hucker’s pre-K bill, and the Governor signed it. If we succeed in winning a federal grant, tens of thousands of additional Maryland children will receive pre-K.
Maryland’s schools have been ranked #1 due largely to the Thornton Bridge to Excellence plan, which, as executive director of Progressive Maryland, Hucker lobbied for years to pass; he then worked further to fully fund it. In 2009 the General Assembly voted to fully fund Thornton.
Delegate Hucker has worked hard to keep college affordable. For 4 years in a row (2007-2010) the General Assembly succeeded in freezing Maryland State college and university tuitions. Delegate Hucker strongly supports expanding community colleges, vocational education and apprenticeship programs.