Bill number does not exist. Enter a vaild keyword.

Statutes Text

Article - Education




§7–1A–04.

    (a)    All eligible prekindergarten providers shall include structural elements that are evidence–based and nationally recognized as important for ensuring program quality, including:

        (1)    Beginning in the 2025–2026 school year:

            (i)    High staff qualifications, including teachers who, at a minimum, hold:

                1.    State certification for teaching in early childhood education; or

                2.    A bachelor’s degree in any field and are pursuing residency through the Maryland Approved Alternative Preparation Program, which includes early childhood coursework, clinical practice, and evidence of pedagogical content knowledge; and

            (ii)    Teaching assistants who have at least:

                1.    A Child Development Associate (CDA) certificate; or

                2.    An associate’s degree;

        (2)    Professional development for all staff;

        (3)    A student–to–classroom personnel ratio of no more than 10 to 1 in each class;

        (4)    Class sizes of no more than 20 students per classroom;

        (5)    A full–day prekindergarten program;

        (6)    Inclusion of students with disabilities to ensure access to and full participation in all program opportunities;

        (7)    For at least 1 year before a student’s enrollment in kindergarten, learning environments that:

            (i)    Are aligned with State Early Learning and Development Standards;

            (ii)    Use evidence–based curricula; and

            (iii)    Use instruction methods that are:

                1.    Developmentally appropriate; and

                2.    Culturally and linguistically responsive;

        (8)    Individualized accommodations and supports for all students;

        (9)    Instructional staff salaries and benefits that are comparable to the salaries and benefits of instructional staff employed by the county board of the county in which the early learning program is located;

        (10)    Program evaluation to ensure continuous program improvement;

        (11)    On–site or accessible comprehensive services for students;

        (12)    Community partnerships that promote access to comprehensive services for families of students; and

        (13)    Evidence–based health and safety standards.

    (b)    In addition to the requirements listed in subsection (a) of this section, an eligible prekindergarten provider shall:

        (1)    If the provider is an eligible private provider, achieve a quality rating level of 3 in the Maryland EXCELS program and publish that quality rating in a publicly available manner, determined by the Department;

        (2)    If the provider is an eligible public provider, achieve a quality rating level of 4 in the Maryland EXCELS program and publish that quality rating in a publicly available manner, determined by the Department;

        (3)    Submit to the Department a plan to achieve a quality rating level 5 in the Maryland EXCELS program within 5 years after becoming an eligible prekindergarten provider;

        (4)    Achieve in accordance with the plan a quality rating level 5 in the Maryland EXCELS program within 5 years after becoming an eligible prekindergarten provider and publish that quality rating in a publicly available manner, determined by the Department; and

        (5)    Except as otherwise provided in § 7–1A–07 of this subtitle, be open for pupil attendance in accordance with § 7–103 of this title.

    (c)    (1)    An eligible prekindergarten provider may not engage in explicitly religious activities during school hours.

        (2)    If an eligible prekindergarten provider engages in an explicitly religious activity, the activity shall be:

            (i)    Separate in time and location from any instruction offered by the eligible prekindergarten provider; and

            (ii)    Voluntary.

        (3)    (i)    An eligible prekindergarten provider shall make reasonable efforts to make the areas where prekindergarten children spend time during school hours as nonsectarian as possible.

            (ii)    An eligible prekindergarten provider may not be required to adopt any rule, regulation, or policy that conflicts with its religious or moral teachings.

        (4)    (i)    An eligible prekindergarten provider shall comply with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, Title 20, Subtitle 6 of the State Government Article, and not discriminate in student admissions, retention, or expulsion or otherwise discriminate against any student or parent of a student on the basis of race, color, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, or gender identity or expression.

            (ii)    If a student has a disability, placement of the student shall be based on where the student will be best served.

            (iii)    An eligible prekindergarten provider found to have violated the nondiscrimination requirements under this section:

                1.    May not continue to be an eligible prekindergarten provider; and

                2.    Shall reimburse the Department all public funds provided under this subtitle minus any amount received from the child care scholarship program.

        (5)    Except as provided in § 7–305.1 of this title, an eligible prekindergarten provider may not suspend or expel a child who is enrolled in a prekindergarten program.



Click to return on the top page