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.
He’s at it again! Gov. Larry Hogan, Jr. issued another executive order that makes it even clearer he intends to usurp the powers of the Maryland State Board of Education and every local school system in the state. So far, no one is challenging Hogan’s decree setting the start of the school year statewide after Labor Day and the last school day no later than June 15. Nor is any school system threatening to defy his order, which screams “overreach.” There is no valid education reason for Hogan’s action.
Does Gov. Larry Hogan Jr. have the power to issue an executive order mandating when the school year begins and ends? It’s not the most pressing question facing Maryland – but the answer could have a dramatic impact on the state’s future governance. Indeed, there’s an urgent need for someone on either side of this issue to take the matter to court. A constitutional question of enormous consequence is at stake.
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.
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.