Protecting funding for education must be a key priority for all legislators and Mary-Dulany has been a fervent supporter of education for the entirety of her legislative career. As someone who was educated in Harford County public schools and attended state schools for both her bachelor's and law degrees, Mary-Dulany recognizes that the first-rate public education in Maryland must remain one of the state’s top priorities. During her 16 years in the House of Delegates, Mary-Dulany James fought for and protected the funding and other resources that have made Maryland’s schools the best in the country.
In her first legislative term, Mary-Dulany proudly supported the Bridge to Excellence in Public Schools Act, frequently referred to as the Thornton Act, which helped Maryland become a leader in public education throughout the country. With the passage of this bill, Maryland became the first state in the country to enact a comprehensive reform of its school funding based on the principles of adequacy and equity. In Harford County, this meant hundreds of millions of new dollars going towards educating our children.
Additionally, in 2012 Mary-Dulany was at the forefront of passing legislation to ensure that all the counties within the state did their part to provide a top-notch education for Maryland’s children. The legislation was intended to protect the state’s investment in education by requiring counties to maintain adequate levels of funding for education at the local level, while also permitting the counties to make necessary adjustments during tough economic times. The legislation also closed loopholes in the existing law by requiring the counties that wish to make cuts to provide an adequate explanation to the Maryland Department of Education as to why such cuts are necessary. This allows for governmental oversight to guarantee that the counties comply with their obligation to provide our children with the top-flight education that the citizens of Maryland both expect and deserve.
In one of her proudest accomplishments, while chairing the Pension Subcommittee, Mary-Dulany James modernized Maryland’s teacher pension system by elevating benefits for all teachers across the state, making pension benefits competitive with those available in other states, and helping counties attract and retain highly qualified teachers.
More recently, in 2013, Mary-Dulany co-sponsored a bill to make primary and secondary education more accessible by requiring the implementation of online courses and services throughout the state. This bill also requires that the Maryland Department of Education make online courses accessible to individuals with disabilities, such as blindness.
Mary-Dulany supports the Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education, also known as the Kirwan Commission, and its recommendations to modernize Maryland’s schools. She knows that providing resources for students and teachers alike and prioritizing our education system is the only way to maintain Maryland’s standing as one of the best education systems in the nation. As our Senator, she’ll fight hard for schools in Harford County and across the state to ensure that all students have the opportunity they need to succeed.