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Governor, Senate President, and House Speaker Announce Former USM Chancellor Kirwan as Chair of Maryland Education Commission

ANNAPOLIS, MD – Governor Larry Hogan today joined Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller, Jr. and House Speaker Michael E. Busch to announce the appointment of former University System of Maryland Chancellor, Dr. William E. “Brit” Kirwan, as the Chair of the Maryland Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education.

The Commission follows the work of the Maryland Commission on Education Finance, Equity, and Excellence, known as the “Thornton Commission”, which met from 1999-2002. The recommendations of the first Commission resulted in “The Bridge to Excellence in Public Schools Act” (Chapter 288 of 2002), which established new K-12 State education aid formulas and resulted in over a 100% increase in public school funding in Maryland over the past decade. The 2002 legislation also required a follow-up study to review education funding levels.

The Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education, created by Senate Bill 905/House Bill 999 of 2016, will make recommendations on:

  • An updated base per pupil funding amount and additional funding for special needs students (i.e., low income, English language learners, and special education students) that are adequate for students to meet the new academic standards for college and career readiness;
  • counties with increasing and declining enrollment; expansion of prekindergarten and funding for prekindergarten and other early childhood education programs;
  • equity in school finance and local wealth measures;
  • the regional cost of education index;
  • accountability measures;
  • the effects of the federal Every Student Succeeds Act on education in the State; and,
  • Policy initiatives to enhance the availability of and access to innovative educational opportunities in K-12 education systems and how the State can better prepare students for postsecondary education, the workforce and the global economy.

“The formation of the Kirwan Commission is a valuable opportunity to identify new polices and ground-breaking solutions that will better prepare students for the future and has the real potential to improve educational outcomes in Maryland schools,” said Governor Hogan. “In order to live up to its potential, the Commission must resist the temptation to focus entirely on education funding, to the exclusion of innovative new ideas that will truly change our schools for the better.”

“A quality education for every child in Maryland is a top priority of the General Assembly,” said Speaker Busch. “Dr. Kirwan has dedicated much of his career to the students of this State and his work through the Commission will set a blueprint for the success of Maryland’s children for the next decade.”

“Dr. Kirwan’s national prominence and tremendous experience in how to prepare our children for the economy of the future is unparalleled,” said President Miller “I can think of no one better to chair the Commission and am deeply grateful for Dr. Kirwan’s willingness to serve our State once again.”

The Commission will begin its work this fall and will provide a preliminary report in December 2016, with a final report and recommendations in December 2017.

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