Education Funding Hot Topic at #MACoCon

Dr. William “Brit” Kirwan

The [Kirwan] Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education was formed in 2016 to answer two questions: Should the state revise current education funding formulas? And what major new education policies must be enacted to put Maryland public schools on par with the best in the world? The Commission released preliminary policy recommendations earlier this year, and has recently sharpened its focus on education formulas — including the pattern and role of county funding.

During the 2018 MACo Summer Conference panel “Angling for Educational Excellence: Kirwan 2.0” attendees heard an update on the Commission’s work, as well as a timeline for its final recommendations.

Dr. William “Brit” Kirwan, Chair, Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education, began the session by providing an overview of the Commission, its preliminary recommendations, the status of the Commission’s four working groups, and a timeline for its final report. Dr. Kirwan also stressed the need for a strong system of governance and accountability to oversee the implementation of its recommendations.

Craig Rice, Montgomery County Councilmember

Craig Rice, Montgomery County Councilmember and MACo appointee to the Kirwan Commission, discussed early childhood education, including pre-kindergarten. Councilmember Rice also emphasized MACo’s position that any recommendations made by the Commission be fair and equitable to all twenty-four jurisdictions, and that no recommendations result in a “winners and losers” situation for Maryland’s counties.

Allegany County Commissioner and MACo appointee to the Kirwan Commission, William Valentine, discussed the Commission’s goal of eliminating the gap in compensation between teachers and high-status professions that require comparable levels of education. Commissioner Valentine also explained the Commission’s plan for expanding access to Career and Technical Education (CTE) pathways.

The session was moderated by Delegate Maggie McIntosh and was held on Saturday, August 18. The 2018 MACo Summer Conference was August 15-18, 2018 at the Roland Powell Convention Center in Ocean City, MD. This year’s theme was “Water, Water Everywhere.”