County Executive, Anne Arundel County Public Schools Announce Creation of the Joint Commission on the Opportunity Gap
Commission will monitor progress on addressing opportunity gap recommendations, impacts of systemic racism on county youth
Annapolis, MD (May 18, 2021) - County Executive Steuart Pittman and Anne Arundel County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. George Arlotto announced today the creation of the Joint Commission on the Opportunity Gap. The Joint Commission will initiate and monitor progress toward meeting the four priority recommendations in the Joint Initiative to Eliminate the Opportunity Gap (“JIEOG”).
“The opportunity gap deeply affects the way our children enter – and leave – our schools,” Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman said. “From a very young age, we see children falling behind their peers due to forces beyond their control, building inequity into their educational experiences and their lives outside of schools. I am eager to work with Dr. Arlotto and this Commission to address the issue head on in our county.”
The Commission will review the findings of the JIEOG, a 15-month undertaking that included input from more than 200 residents across 11 community meetings and 5 regularly convened subcommittees. The Commission will include 15 members - six appointed by the County Executive, six appointed by the Superintendent, and three appointed by the commission once it is seated.
“The issues that create and sustain opportunity gaps for the children in our communities and in our schools reach far broader than our school system and require a broad-based approach to overcome,” Dr. Arlotto said. “I am confident the work of this committee will result in sustainable actions for our school system, our County government, and our community partners that will better the lives of all of our children and I am deeply appreciative to all those who are lending their time and talents to this effort.”
The opportunity gap, related to race and income, begins in early childhood and leaves children who experience poverty, income inequality, and racism as the least ready to learn when they reach the classroom. Due to factors inside and outside of the school system, the gap in school readiness and achievement widens as the students move through the school system.
"It is the belief of the NAACP that every student in Anne Arundel County should have access to educational experiences and opportunities that enable them to reach their full potential and be ready for success in college and a rewarding career by the end of high school,” NAACP Anne Arundel Chapter President Jackie Allsup said. “The Opportunity Report has recommendations and strategies to address these inequities."
The Commission will serve as an advisory body, with a Chair jointly designated by the County Executive and the Superintendent. Members will serve two-year terms, and may be re-appointed once.
County Executive Pittman will host a livestream event tonight at 6 p.m. with Superintendent Arlotto; Carl Snowden, the Convener of the Caucus of African American Leaders; and County staff to discuss the opportunity gap. Residents can submit question by emailing them to [email protected], and the event will be livestreamed on:
Channel 38 on Verizon
Channel 98 on Comcast / Broadstripe