DRM’s Leslie Margolis Urges Stronger COVID-19 Response from MSDE

photograph of Leslie Seid Margolis, Managing Attorney at the Maryland Disability Law Center

Leslie Seid Margolis, DRM’s Managing Attorney, has joined the ranks of Maryland legislators, teachers, and advocates demanding a stronger response to COVID-19 from Maryland State Superintendent Karen Salmon. A Baltimore Sun article reported on July 29 that the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) has failed to provide a concrete plan for supporting schools this fall, instead only offering noncommittal suggestions to local school districts. As Margolis says in the article, suggestions are not enough. Delegate Brooke Lierman, a representative of Baltimore City and an attorney at Brown, Goldstein and Levy, LLP, sums up the situation: Superintendent Salmon “claims to be leading by giving options,” Lierman says in the article, “but really there is just no plan; she belittles the needs that parents have for child care; and she communicates as little information as possible.”

As part of the Maryland Education Coalition, DRM has helped draft several letters voicing these concerns to the Superintendent. DRM is also an appointed member organization of the MSDE’s external stakeholder committee, but the MSDE has provided hardly any information to its stakeholders regarding statewide school plans, and the minimal information provided is often only made accessible at the last minute — too late for meaningful input from stakeholders. DRM continues to urge Salmon and the MSDE to work with its stakeholders to develop a plan that supports students who have difficulty learning online, including students with disabilities, young children, and homeless students.

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