Students wait to board school buses.

Opinion: Let’s try some year-round schools

With Comptroller Peter Franchot at his side, Gov. Larry Hogan signed an executive order to mandate that schools start after Labor Day starting in 2017. On cue, Democratic leaders and teachers unions assailed the idea. They prefer the status quo. Rather than tinker around the edges, both Gov. Hogan and Democratic leaders should follow Virginia’s lead and try year-round schools.

First day of school by woodleywonderworks with Flickr Creative Commons License

Opinion: Responding to the school start order — Let summer be purposeful

If we are to have a conversation about adjusting our school calendar, let it not be about starting the school year later, let it be about making the year longer, richer, and more purposeful, writes Senator Bill Ferguson. Let this conversation center around how we can better use summer for highly enriched learning projects that allow students to learn outside the classroom environment. That’s what our competitor countries across the globe are focused on achieving; they’re looking to the future, not falling back into a comfortable past.

Brit Kirwan

Kirwan named to chair school funding commission

In an unusual joint announcement of a highly unusual joint appointment, Republican Gov. Larry Hogan and the Democratic leaders of the legislature Tuesday named former university system chancellor Brit Kirwan as chair of a commission to review all the hotly contested school funding issues in Maryland. Its recommendations are due in December 2017, potentially kicking off some of the most contentious debates of the election-year legislative session in 2018 as representatives fight for formulas that help their local schools.

Testing commission releases final report

The Commission to Review Maryland’s Use of Assessments in Public Schools has posted its final report on how to reduce standardized testing. As reported here last month, the commission realized it had little power on its own to reduce testing, but must leave it to the state and local school boards to take action. Under the law creating the commission, local boards of education have until Sept. 1 to adopt or reject the commission’s recommendation, and the State Board of Education has until Oct. 1.