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.

Rascovar: Judge shouldn’t play Humpty-Dumpty with Md. universities

It could be a cringe-worry moment when U.S. District Judge Catherine Blake finally rules on the lawsuit by black state universities demanding sweeping changes in Maryland’s public higher education system that benefit only their own campuses. In no way is Judge Blake qualified to disassemble Maryland’s well-regarded higher education network and then re-assemble the pieces in an entirely new way that miraculously makes historically black schools integrated and thriving learning institutions.

School scoring bill sent to Hogan, who promises veto

Democrats in the Maryland General Assembly on Tuesday passed legislation establishing parameters for school evaluations that the state school board strongly opposes and Gov. Larry Hogan has promised to veto. The House went along with Senate amendments, and sent the bill to Hogan, who called it “an utter disgrace.” If the bill is delivered to Hogan’s office by Monday, he has six days to act on it, giving the legislature the chance to override a veto before it adjourns April 10.

Open Source textbooks could save students a bundle

As the cost of college has skyrocketed, students and parents could soon get relief on expensive textbooks under the Textbook Cost Savings Act of 2017 that would provide funding to develop free open source learning materials.“The state is moving rapidly towards free textbooks online,” said the bill’s sponso rSen. Jim Rosapepe, D-Prince George’s, in an interview. “If the bill passes it will be state policy that we want to move in that direction as much as possible.”

Financial aid officers oppose new requirements to help students manage loans

Financial aid officers across the state oppose two proposals that would require state funded colleges and universities to generate an annual “loan letter” to students that spells out their loan obligations and help them manage their finances better. The letter would be required to include payoff amounts, cost of borrowing and monthly payments – even for loans obtained at other schools.

Poll finds support for increased school aid and higher taxes to support it

New polling results funded by the state teachers union finds broad bipartisan support for increased funding for public education, even if it means “closing corporate loopholes and raising income taxes on the state’s highest earners.” The poll taken late last month by Gonzales Research was part of the same survey that found 74% approval ratings for the job Gov. Larry Hogan is doing. But the results of the questions on education would seem to put the same voters at odds with Hogan’s strong opposition to new taxes and strong support of increased funding for private school scholarships.

Teaching profession is less attractive in U.S., Maryland, than in other countries, commission is told

Compared to teachers in countries with the best performing students, U.S. teachers are less well compensated, have less support to prepare for teaching, have less time for planning and collaboration, and overall have less autonomy in the classroom, a state commission was told Monday. American teachers also spend the most instructional hours in the classroom with larger average class size compared to dozens of the most developed countries.