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.
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.
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.
Comptroller’s chief of staff respond to Rascovar: “Having read your most recent column in MarylandReporter.com – “Maryland’s demeaning ‘Begathon” continues,” a politically-lubricated jeremiad against the Maryland public school construction program’s longstanding appeals process – I feel obliged to respectfully rebut several of your more misleading and uninformed points.”
Here we go again. In a few weeks, school superintendents will trek, en masse, to the second floor of the Maryland State House to grovel before the Board of Public Works for additional school construction funds. It is a demeaning “begathon” that long ago outlived its usefulness and turned into a political circus allowing the governor and comptroller to praise and reward their friends in the counties and humiliate their enemies.
Part 6 in this series of 12 essays leading to Columbia’s 50th birthday next June examines the planning and transformation of a small, rural, recently desegregated school system with middling rankings to one of the best school systems in the country. Howard County now has 76 schools with 54,000 children and 4,100 teachers, and they face the challenges of diversity, particularly in its urban core of Columbia. Links to all parts of the series published so far are at the bottom.
Maryland schools are often touted as some of the best in the country, but beneath the surface, it is becoming increasingly difficult to retain experienced teachers during the first few years into the profession despite receiving relatively high pay among teachers nationwide.
Consultants are recommending that Maryland spend $2.9 billion more on public schools each year, a 29% overall increase. The state share would increase by $1.9 billion and the counties would pick up the rest, with some big winners and Montgomery County the biggest loser in the reallocation of school dollars. The commission that will actually make recommendations to the legislature next year about school funding got its first bite at a thick consulting report justifying the increased spending on Thursday, with members questioning the two-year study and its approach.
The just-started Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education has been described as largely about rejiggering school funding in Maryland. “Our charge is much, much broader than money,” commission chair Brit Kirwan told the members Monday. “Equally important is how we spend the money.”
National experts on state education systems are scheduled to make presentations to the state commission examining state funding and standards for the Maryland public schools Monday afternoon in the House Appropriations Committee hearing room in Annapolis.