Capital Recap

By Catherine Gewertz — July 17, 2012 2 min read

The following offers highlights of the recent legislative sessions. Precollegiate enrollment figures are based on fall 2011 data reported by state officials for public elementary and secondary schools. The figures for precollegiate education spending do not include federal flow-through funds, unless noted.


Social studies education drew the attention of Maryland lawmakers in the regular legislative session that wrapped up in April.

35 Democrats
12 Republicans
98 Democrats
43 Republicans
1.4 million

They reinstated a requirement that seniors pass a test in U.S. government to get their diploma, and required the state board of education to adopt middle school tests in core subjects, including social studies, beginning in 2014-15. The state must also survey how much instructional time is spent on social studies and science in elementary school.

A new law requires Maryland counties to maintain their levels of year-to-year spending on education or risk having the state comptroller withhold a portion of their county tax collections and send it directly to school boards. Lawmakers also shifted responsibility for a portion of teacher pensions from the state to the counties, and raised the age of mandatory school enrollment from 16 to 17 in 2015, and to 18 in 2017.

The $14.6 billion fiscal 2013 budget includes $5.5 billion for precollegiate education, compared with $5.75 billion the previous year.


Gov. Robert F. McDonnell had hoped to revamp teacher tenure and evaluation, but the Republican was disappointed. A proposal to extend teachers’ probationary period from three to five years and replace their continuing contracts with three-year contracts failed in the legislature. That measure would have allowed administrators to let teachers go without explanation when their contracts were up.

20 Democrats
20 Republicans
32 Democrats
67 Republicans
1.8 million

Legislators, who concluded their regular session in March, approved a law requiring students to take one online course to graduate from high school. But they refused to repeal—despite Gov. McDonnell’s urgings—a 30-year-old law that requires school to begin after Labor Day. The lawmakers did enact a McDonnell-backed measure requiring districts to provide targeted help to 3rd graders struggling to master reading skills.

The legislature created a program that gives tax credits to people who donate to organizations that provide tuition scholarships to nonpublic schools for disadvantaged students and those with disabilities. In the face of a challenge by a Democratic lawmaker, Virginia’s attorney general found the program to be constitutional.

The $85 billion biennial budget for fiscal years 2013 and 2014, signed in June after a special legislative session, includes $11.7 billion for precollegiate education, compared with $10.8 billion in the previous biennium.

Related Tags:

A version of this article appeared in the July 18, 2012 edition of Education Week as Capital Recap


This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Future of Work Webinar
Digital Literacy Strategies to Promote Equity
Our new world has only increased our students’ dependence on technology. This makes digital literacy no longer a “nice to have” but a “need to have.” How do we ensure that every student can navigate
Content provided by
Mathematics Online Summit Teaching Math in a Pandemic
Attend this online summit to ask questions about how COVID-19 has affected achievement, instruction, assessment, and engagement in math.
School & District Management Webinar Examining the Evidence: Catching Kids Up at a Distance
As districts, schools, and families navigate a new normal following the abrupt end of in-person schooling this spring, students’ learning opportunities vary enormously across the nation. Access to devices and broadband internet and a secure

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Speech Therapists
Lancaster, PA, US
Lancaster Lebanon IU 13
Elementary Teacher
Madison, Wisconsin
One City Schools

Read Next

Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: January 13, 2021
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Obituary In Memory of Michele Molnar, EdWeek Market Brief Writer and Editor
EdWeek Market Brief Associate Editor Michele Molnar, who was instrumental in launching the publication, succumbed to cancer.
5 min read
Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: December 9, 2020
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: Stories You May Have Missed
A collection of articles from the previous week that you may have missed.
8 min read