Maryland’s schools are among the best in the nation, but Peter knows we can make them even better. Our state’s economic success is directly tied to our well-educated workforce, so it is critical that we remain focused on providing quality public education.
Throughout his tenure as comptroller, Peter has been a stalwart advocate for K-12 public education and Maryland’s public universities and colleges.
He’s voted for $2.3 billion to expand and renovate schools, fought to better maintain our existing facilities, and led efforts to teach financial literacy in high school so that all of our kids can lead financially stable lives.
Since becoming Comptroller in 2007, Peter has visited over 400 public schools across the state and frequently engages students, teachers, and administrators on how we can improve our education system. These visits and interactions with students and teachers have informed his perspectives on the challenges facing our public education system today.
For more than a decade, Peter has demanded answers and action on the absence of climate-controlled, healthy classrooms in Baltimore City and County. The vast majority of these classrooms were located in the region’s poorest communities and neighborhoods, while modern, climate-controlled schools were enjoyed by more affluent communities in Baltimore County and Baltimore City. After hearing stories from students, teachers, and parents about the inhumane conditions in schools without air-conditioning and heat, Peter used his seat on the Board of Public Works to shed light on the issue.
In addition to the obvious health risks associated with consistent and prolonged exposure to sweltering conditions, studies have consistently shown the negative academic impact that heat can have on student performance. That’s why in 2016, Peter and the Maryland State Chapter of the NAACP wrote a joint letter to the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division requesting an investigation.
Thanks to his advocacy, Baltimore County and Baltimore City accelerated their installation of air-conditioning units and heating units in public schools. Peter will continue to hold education officials accountable and ensure that taxpayer dollars are being spent to provide our children with safe and healthy classrooms that are conducive to their learning and success.
Peter has been a vocal opponent of standardized testing and its outsized role in determining academic achievement and teacher performance. Thanks to his leadership and advocacy, Maryland has moved in the right direction by leaving the PARCC Consortium and developing a Maryland-tailored assessment.
Peter believes that instead of a high school assessment, the State should join the more than 24 other states that offer the SAT or ACT -- which most colleges require for admission -- as an option to high school students. By offering the SAT or the ACT, Maryland high school students who choose to attend college won’t have to pay for exam preparation classes, the cost of taking the SAT or the ACT, and will actually take a test that plays a consequential role in their higher education endeavors. Peter will continue to advocate for Maryland’s public schools to eliminate standardized testing as a high school graduation or grade promotion requirement. What’s more, ending the stranglehold of standardized testing will give teachers more control in how they educate their students.
According to Standard & Poor’s Global Financial Literacy Survey, the U.S. ranks only slightly higher than Botswana in adult financial literacy at 57 percent. As comptroller, Peter has advocated for many years to make financial literacy courses a requirement for high school graduation. Poor financial decisions, as the 2008 Great Recession underscored, can have long-term, drastic effects on people’s personal and professional lives. Peter believes that before young Marylanders earn a Maryland high school diploma and pursue their endeavors, high school graduates should be equipped with the knowledge and training in financial education to make meaningful decisions about their financial health. He’s worked with legislators, local officials, and nonprofit organizations like Junior Achievement to expand financial literacy opportunities to young Marylanders.
In addition to being a staunch advocate of our K-12 Education system, Peter has been a consistent supporter of advancing our public higher education system. As a member of the Board of Public Works, he has voted to approve more than $1 billion in capital projects that allows our public universities and community colleges to provide the world-class education that our students deserve and need to compete in a global economy.
Maryland's students represent the future of our great state. We have a duty and an obligation to ensure that all of our students -- regardless of zip code -- get a high-quality education that prepares them to thrive in a modern economy.