By Erin Cox
Gov. Larry Hogan vetoed three education bills Thursday, calling them "a crude attempt" to dilute accountability in Maryland public schools.
Two of the bills were backed by the Maryland State Education Association, the state's largest teachers' union and a frequent target of Hogan's ire.
The legislation would have changed the composition of the Maryland Board of Education to include two teachers and a parent, made it possible for more school supervisors to join the union and made it harder to fire hundreds of political appointees at the state Department of Education.
Hogan's veto of the bills is final because it is the last year of the four-year term and the next General Assembly does not have authority to override him.
The Republican governor said the bills follow "an unfortunate litany of attempts" by state lawmakers to reshape education policy. Hogan used his four-page veto letter to criticize lawmakers for not passing bills he pushed to create an "investigator general" to look into school systems, and to criticize other legislation he vetoed in the past. The Democratic-dominated General Assembly overrode those vetoes.
"It is shocking to me, as well as the citizens of Maryland, the lengths the General Assembly will go to weaken accountability that will hurt the performance of our school children," Hogan wrote.
The state's largest teachers' union issued a statement calling Hogan partisan for vetoing the legislation that required him to appoint teachers -- who would have been recommended by the union -- and a parent to the state school board.
"It's the very definition of common sense that teachers should be at the decision-making table when developing policies that affect our students," MSEA president Betty Weller said in a statement. "Gov. Hogan is sending a very clear message: He doesn't believe teachers should have a voice in decisions about our schools, students and profession."
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