KIRWAN’S Really Coming!


After some concern that legislation funding for the Kirwan Commission’s Innovation and Excellence in Education initiative might be delayed a year, some elements of the ambitious education proposals have been introduced this past week to boost public education in Maryland:

  • Implement free full-day kindergarten for low-income 3- and 4-year olds
  • Hire, retain and train high quality and diverse teachers and principals and toughen certification standards
  • Boost standards and services so that all students are ready for college or career, with particular attention on students in schools with high concentrations of poverty
  • Establish a strong accountability system to oversee the recommendations.

The legislation did not identify a funding stream for the initiatives that will detail how much the state has to pay and how much local jurisdictions contribute, according to the Baltimore Sun (“Kirwan funding proposed by Dems,” 3/5/19). More comprehensive legislation next year will include such a formula. This year, however, to begin paying for recommendations, the legislation calls for $325 million in increased funding from state taxpayers for public schools for FY2020 and $750 million in FY2021. The monies would cover, in part, an expansion of full-day kindergarten for 4-year olds, a small salary increase for teachers, more services for struggling learners, some grants to districts with high concentrations of poverty and more for special education.