On November 4th, Republican businessman Larry Hogan was elected to be Maryland’s next governor; he will be the state’s second Republican governor since the 1960s. “Many voters interviewed at the polls seemed to be enduring, rather than enjoying, the election, often showing more interest in defeating one of the nominees than in helping the other to victory” (Wagner and Johnson).
Both Larry Hogan and Anthony Brown ran campaigns with ad hominem ads that neglected their own stances on issues. In regard to education, Hogan claimed that Brown planned to increase tuition for community colleges while Brown claimed that “Hogan would slash $450 million from the state school construction budget” (Dresser). Although he has acknowledged benefits of pre-K education, Hogan has stated that Maryland cannot afford free pre-K for all. Hogan garnered support by promoting extensive tax cuts. “Hogan promised throughout his campaign to roll back as many as possible of the tax increases enacted under O’Malley — 40 by his count” (Wagner and Johnson).
The potential ramifications of further cuts to education are disconcerting. Harford County teachers have not had a step increase in their salary in six years. One teacher shared that she is leaving teaching as she is tired from working three jobs yet struggling to pay her bills. “‘We not only had a salary freeze, but we’re being charged more for healthcare,’ she said. ‘Our salary is technically going down’” (Do). Most Baltimore County Public Schools’ high school teachers are teaching six classes, and many English teachers are teaching over 150 students.
On his website, www.hoganforgovernor.com, Hogan advocates for a redistribution of the allocation of educational spending. “I want to push all the money that we put into education down into the classrooms to the teachers and the students where we can actually make a difference rather than eating it up in administrative costs at the state level and at the county levels.” He additionally advocates for charter schools and school choice for students who cannot afford private school “if their school is failing.”
Hogan’s specific policy decisions will not be revealed until late January. “Gov.-elect Larry Hogan (R) said Tuesday that his transition team is working hard to ‘put a government together’ but that he does not plan to talk publicly about substantive policy issues until he is sworn in” (Wagner and Johnson). Recently, he has shown concern regarding the state’s $900 million dollar budget shortfall. “Larry Hogan said Monday [November 17th] that new budget figures show Maryland’s economic picture is even bleaker than he had warned during his campaign, and will make it tougher to devise a plan to cut taxes” (Dresser).