Kirwan Education Commission Back to Work on Most Politically Sensitive Task

Kirwan Education Commission Back to Work on Most Politically Sensitive Task

The Maryland Philanthropy Network convenes its members in an effort to look for ways in which funders can stay engaged with public policy to help affect systemic change in education. Past programming related to the Kirwan Commission includes A Conversation with Dr. William Kirwan, Chair of Commission on Innovation & Excellence in Education  and The Kirwan Commission: An Advocacy Update for 2018.

The  education commission that met in relative obscurity for 16 months now faces the challenge of deciding what it will take and how much it will cost to implement its lofty goals of change and improvement for Maryland public schools.

The Kirwan Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education has become a key talking point in the 2018 election campaign, and on Thursday it picks up its work where it left off in January for the legislative session.The commission will split into five work groups to tackle the five main policy recommendations of its preliminary report in January.

In an interview, William “Brit” Kirwan, the former university system chancellor who chairs the commission, said the commission will likely finish most of its work “sometime this summer.” But also “we have to modify the current funding formulas,” and that won’t happen till “early or mid-fall.”

Kirwan laughed when asked how much the proposals will cost, saying he is often asked that, but “it would be almost irresponsible to put a number out there” before the commission’s work is done.

“We really do need to drill down” into how the recommendations will be implemented, he said.

Good reactions to early report

“I was very pleased by how that preliminary report was received by the General Assembly,” Kirwan said. He is “not really surprised” that it’s become a topic for candidates on the campaign trail.

“Everybody is invested in and interested in education. It touches everybody’s life in some way,” he said. “It’s both a state issue but is also an important local issue.”

“Without exception, people resonate with the five major policy recommendations,” he said. “People think it makes sense but does it make enough sense to fund the recommendations?”

But Kirwan emphasized that “it’s not just about new money.”

“There will be some things we are no longer doing,” and part of the task of the work groups will “identifying areas where we can shift resources.”

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Source: The Maryland Reporter


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