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The Governor's P-20 Leadership Council of Maryland

The Governor’s P-20 Leadership Council of Maryland is a partnership between State educators and the business community to better prepare Maryland students for the jobs of the new economy while enhancing the state’s economic competiveness by developing a workforce with 21st Century skills. The Council also ensures that college and career readiness and college completion strategies for Maryland students are being implemented. The Council consists of the Governor or his designee, legislators, and representatives from elementary and secondary education, postsecondary education, and the workforce and economic development communities.

Dating back to the mid-1990’s, Maryland was one of the first states to establish a PreK-16 Partnership, known as the Maryland Partnership for Teaching and Learning K-16, which has evolved into the Governor’s P-20 Leadership Council. The Council is recognized nationally for its voluntary, inclusive organizational structure and it remains one of the more active partnerships in the nation.

The Maryland Partnership for Teaching and Learning K-16 was officially recognized and established in 2002 by a Memorandum of Understanding between the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE), the Maryland Higher Education Commission (MHEC), and the University System of Maryland (USM). This MOU and partnership originated in SB 453 (Chapter 315)/HB 661 (Chapter 429) of 2002, the College Readiness for Disadvantaged and Capable Students Act. The bill directed the K-16 Leadership Council to be formalized through an MOU and directed the Council to study and plan for the establishment of the K-16 Research and Development Institute and the Maryland Clearinghouse for Educational Statistics.

In 2007, Governor Martin O’Malley issued Executive Order 01.01.2007.20 expanding upon the foundation laid by the Maryland Partnership for Teaching and Learning K-16 by formally establishing the Governor’s P-20 Leadership Council. The executive order expanded state-agency representation to include the Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation and the Department of Commerce, expanded membership to include 35 appointed members representing the education, workforce creation and business communities, and created an Executive Committee to direct the Council in its work. Following issuance of this executive order, the Maryland Partnership for Teaching and Learning K-16 was dissolved in 2008 with this Memorandum of Understanding between the Maryland State Department of Education, the Maryland Higher Education Commission, and the University System of Maryland.

The Executive Order also established 17 Areas of Focus for the P-20 Council to investigate ways to improve education, advance workforce creation, and make the State more competitive:

  1. Ensuring that all students have the basic, critical thinking, and technical skills necessary to succeed in the modern workplace;
  2. Reducing dropout rates and increasing retention and graduation rates in high school and college;
  3. Improving student achievement and closing student achievement gaps;
  4. Improving teaching quality;
  5. Improving teacher retention;
  6. Strengthening and expanding educational leadership programs;
  7. Redesigning career and technology education programs to meet college expectation and employer needs;
  8. Expanding the availability of career and technology programs and high school centers;
  9. Strengthening STEM programs at the high school and college levels;
  10. Connecting high school expectations and college expectations with employer needs;
  11. Creating pathways for all students to obtain college degrees;
  12. Providing teachers the resources and professional training they need to help students reach higher standards;
  13. Expanding opportunities for continuous learning;
  14. Aligning high school graduation requirements with college readiness requirements;
  15. Improving the connections between the pre-kindergarten, primary, secondary, and higher education systems;
  16. Creating programs and incentives to encourage mutually beneficial relationships between schools, school systems, higher education, and the business community; AND
  17. Any other strategies requested by the Governor or General Assembly.

In 2010, the Maryland General Assembly codified the P-20 Council and expanded its membership. Senate Bill 286 (Chapter 191)/House Bill 466, expanded Council membership to its current 38 seats by adding 2 members of the Maryland Senate, 2 members of the Maryland House of Delegates, 2 representatives of nonpublic elementary and secondary schools, and 6 additional members with experience and knowledge that will benefit the council. The bill also replaced the elementary and secondary school teachers’ representative with 2 representatives who are members of an employee organization representing elementary and secondary school teachers. The bill did not expand upon the original 17 strategies to be pursued by the Council, but did require an annual report due December 15 to the Governor and General Assembly containing a summary of the Council’s activities and any recommendations from the Council.

The College and Career Readiness and College Completion Act of 2013 further expanded the responsibility of the Council by requiring a biennial report to the Governor and General Assembly on the states progress toward implementing college and career readiness and college completion strategies.