Strong public schools play a critical role in our region's economy and our quality of life. That's why Jim Mathias fought against cuts to the education budget and for the Lower Shore's fair share of school construction funds.
During the worst recession in a generation, Jim Mathias helped make sure the state fully funded our public school system. In 2013 alone, he helped secure $169.7 million in state aid for the public schools in Somerset, Wicomico and Worcester Counties this year. This term alone, he has helped to secure over $50 million in state aid for public school construction, including funds for Washington High School & Greenwood Elementary in Somerset County, Bennett High & Middle Schools in Wicomico County, and Pocomoke High School and Snow Hill High School in Worcester.
Jim understands that helping our children become more active learners starts early in life. That's why he supported the Pre-Kindergarten Act of 2014 that expands access to pre-kindergarten education for lower-income families across Maryland.
Having high quality teachers is crucial to making sure that our children receive the best possible education in our schools. Jim supported the creation of the Nancy Grasmick Teacher Scholars program, which helps teachers who teach in certain fields of study or economically disadvantaged areas repay their student loans.
Funding is only one part of the equation for successful schools, which is why Jim supported common sense measures to improve accountability and achievement in our classrooms. Jim voted to increase the length of time it takes for a new teacher to gain tenure, to require student achievement to be a component of teacher performance evaluations, and to establish incentives for highly effective teachers and principals who teach in specialized areas.
It is not enough that our students learn in modern classrooms - they must be in a safe environment in these ever-difficult times. With this in mind, Jim supported an increase of $25 million,for security improvements such as video surveillance, automatic-locking doors, and shatterproof glass. These improvements will help to will limit outside visitors to schools and keep our children safe.
Thanks to strong state investments and common sense accountability measures, Maryland's public schools have been ranked #1 in the nation for five years in a row and Maryland's students outperform their peers on Advanced Placement exams. Student achievement is rising, more qualified teachers are in our classrooms, and graduation rates are climbing, but Jim knows that the job is not done and he will never stop fighting for our children