The Greater Baltimore Committee is closely monitoring the activities of the Commission on Innovation & Excellence in Education, often referred to as the Kirwan Commission. The GBC is tracking the commission because it believes a substantial link exists between strong and adequately-funded public education and the GBC’s mission to improve the Baltimore region’s business climate and develop solutions to problems that affect the region’s competitiveness and viability.
The commission, created by the Maryland General Assembly in 2016, brings together the expertise of Maryland’s educators and administrators, community leaders, and public officials and is charged with making recommendations for legislative and policy initiatives to increase innovative approaches to education. The commission, chaired by former University System of Maryland Chancellor William E. (Brit) Kirwan, is also looking into approaches and practices that would lead to adequate and equitable funding for Maryland’s public schools.
One of the commission’s primary responsibilities is evaluating the Study of Adequacy of Funding for Education in the State of Maryland, conducted by Augenblick Paliach and Associates. The study, issued in 2016, assessed funding for public education and whether it adequately prepares students for the global economy.
At its most recent meeting on June 28, the Kirwan Commission heard presentations from a number of experts, including Dr. Jack Smith, Superintendent of Montgomery County Public Schools, and Dr. Nancy Shapiro, Associate Vice Chancellor of the University System of Maryland, regarding efforts to improve the teaching profession. The commission also heard from Zachary Levine, Executive Director of TEACH.org, regarding perceptions of the teaching profession by Millennials (people born between the early 1980s and the early 2000s.) The commission also discussed best practices to establish standards for a public education system that can compete globally.
Tracking the work of the commission complements the GBC’s support for an effective public school system that prepares students for a robust and diversified economy. Currently, the GBC has two groups studying the state education system: the Education and Workforce Development Task Force and the Education and Workforce Committee.
The Commission is expected to issue recommendations and its report by December 2017, prior to the next General Assembly session. The GBC will analyze the commission’s final recommendations to determine their potential affect on the state and regional business climate.