Kirwan Commission Discusses Plan To Reform Maryland Public Educa - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Kirwan Commission Discusses Plan to Reform Maryland Public Education System

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It was a full house at Tuesday night's meeting at Wor-Wic Community College. (Photo: WBOC) It was a full house at Tuesday night's meeting at Wor-Wic Community College. (Photo: WBOC)

SALISBURY, Md.- A group made up of more than 20 local and state leaders is seeking to overhaul the current public education system throughout the state of Maryland.

This, in an effort to make Maryland schools more competitive nationally and internationally, and to provide more of a quality education for students.

To do this, the Kirwan Commission is exploring five key factors like investing in early childhood education, implementing a more rigorous curriculum, improving teacher salaries, and addressing funding inequities for students, among other proposals. 

But this won't come cheap, the commission estimates this could cost up to nearly $3.8 billion annually, but it will be phased-in over the next decade.

During a public information meeting held Tuesday night at Wor-Wic Community College in Salisbury, Dr. Brit Kirwan, chair of the commission, said the change is needed because, "Overall, Maryland schools are very mediocre in the country that performs very mediocre internationally."

According to statistics provided by Kirwan, only 40 percent of Maryland high school students that graduate each year are college and career ready.

School leaders were present at tonight's meeting and said investing in schools is important, though the price is steep.

According to Kirwan, funding will be shared by the state and local jurisdictions 50/50.

John Gaddis, superintendent of Somerset County Public Schools, says investing is the way to go, but he worries that the cost may be too steep for certain counties.

"Let's be smart, let's prioritize what's most important, is it early childhood education, is it dual enrollment, what is it that we need?" he said. Gaddis, however, maintained there is a direct correlation between funding and student performance. 
 
But Kirwan says picking and choosing certain policies over others will not yield the change the commission is seeking, saying a lot of the policies are interconnected.
 
Others like Helena Schoffstall, a retired teacher, says she's all for investing in the future of our students, but says this may be too much, and that local people could be the ones taking the hardest hit.
 
"I'm concerned that the county governments would have to cut programs like the senior citizens programs, the MAC programs, some of them have already been impacted in recent years by the budget," she said.
 
The recommendation is set to be a major focal point in the coming legislative session. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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