Wrong on school funding, showing the folly of predictions

Suddenly last week, Chairman Brit Kirwan said the Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education wouldn’t be able to meet the deadline established for recommending new school funding formulas. Last year’s prediction of a broad and contentious debate about how to dole out state aid for education this coming session was off by at least a year.

Kirwan Commission won’t finish school funding recommendations this year

The commission charged with revising state school funding formulas will not be able to finish its work by its Dec. 31 deadline, commission chair Brit Kirwan told the panel Wednesday. “It will take more time to do our work completely and accurately,” said Kirwan, the former university system chancellor. The Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education is trying to reach consensus on major changes on how the state and local governments should spend the largest single slice of state and local budgets.

Kirwan Commission considers large-scale tutoring plan to close proficiency gaps

Maryland has one of the highest household incomes in the U.S., but only 40% of its students met proficiency standards in reading and math on the PARCC assessments in 2017, a Johns Hopkins University researcher told the Kirwin Commission last week. A $1.46 billion plan using one-on-one and small group and tutoring would help close the gap between top performing students and those who struggle to keep up, the researcher said.

Rascovar: ‘Free’ tuition isn’t free

Talk on the far left about “free” college tuition got a boost last week from an acolyte of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, the foremost proponent of this marvelous-sounding idea. Benjamin Jealous, former head of the NAACP who is running for governor, told a group of college students and progressive activists, to no one’s surprise, that his gubernatorial pitch includes free education for Marylanders at the state’s public colleges and universities.

Legislators weigh recommendations to expand pre-kindergarten

The state’s income threshold for families to qualify for free pre-kindergarten should be increased by more than 60%, a state workgroup told a legislative panel Tuesday.  The Joint Committee on Children, Youth and Families, weighing universal schooling for 4-year-olds acknowledged, the need for an increase in funding for the early education program statewide. Maryland’s Kirwan Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education has also tentatively agreed to recommend universal pre-K.

Kirwan education commission hashing out recommendations, including universal pre-kindergarten

The Kirwan Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education on Thursday will continue hashing out its recommendations for improving Maryland public schools and revising the funding formulas to pay for them — such as a proposal for universal pre-kindergarten. The commission, chaired by former University System Chancellor Brit Kirwan, will cap off the day with a long public hearing that has 60 people signed up to testify in Baltimore.

Practical solutions for schools based on facts, not ideology

Gov. Hogan and his Republican allies in the General Assembly have offered only unproven right-wing pabulum about school vouchers and unregulated charter schools. They suggest that the best solution for under-performing public schools is some form of privatization. And they buttress this argument by claiming that adequate education funding can’t solve these problems.

Howard County’s interim superintendent puts mark on school system

There’s a reason the local school superintendent is the highest paid local official in Maryland’s counties. It’s the toughest job in the county, heading the institutions where taxpayers spend the most money and that touch the most lives. The fierce competition for the top talent also drives up the salaries, and the average superintendent of large urban and suburban school system lasts only about four years in the job.

Crunch time coming for Kirwan commission; public hearings set

Crunch time is coming for the Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education, chaired by former University System Chancellor Brit Kirwan and commonly known as the Kirwan commission. After nine meetings over the past year, the 24-member commission has heard from dozens of experts and consultants on many aspects of education policy, practice and funding. Now, it’s time to make some recommendations and decisions for a report due to the governor and legislature in December.

Maryland lags behind some states on school spending

Maryland often prides itself on how good its schools are and how much it spends on them. But the Kirwan Commission studying the state’s school funding and how it spends the money was told on Wednesday that Maryland actually lags behind several states with better test scores — Massachusetts, New Jersey and New Hampshire. On the other hand, compared to countries with top-performing students, U.S. schools spend far more per pupil. The conclusion, according to commission’s lead consultant, is that “money matters but how it is spent matters greatly.” He made a number of key recommendations.