December 17, 2017

Priority Issue: Funding Commission on Innovation & Excellence

 

The "Kirwan" Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education 

On September 13, 2017 MABE's President Joy Schaefer wrote the Commission to voice support for meaningful improvements to Maryland’s public school finance system, including substantial funding increases aligned with accountability for successful academic outcomes for all students. 

Background

In 2016 the General Assembly passed Senate Bill 905, and House Bill 999 to create the Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education. This bill was one of MABE’s top legislative priorities for the 2016 session. On September 29, 2016 the “Kirwan” Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education held its first meeting. Commission Chair, William E. "Brit" Kirwan, opened the meeting by emphasizing that this was a rare opportunity to be on such a commission, and that although the charge is very broad, the task at hand is essentially to make recommendations on how to make our schools better and that we owe it to students to develop a system that is as good as the best in the world.

MABE's representative on the Kirwan Commission is MABE President Joy Schaefer.  

The Commission has received comprehensive presentations on the Funding Adequacy reports produced by APA Consulting and adopted a framework for its work based on the National Center on Education and the Economy's (NCEE) "Nine Building Blocks of a World Class Education System."

All Commission meeting agendas and meeting materials are available on the General Assembly's website.

The APA Funding Adequacy Report is also available: Executive Summary; Adequacy Study: Final Report (11/30/2016 – Prepared by APA Consulting for MSDE)

Kirwan Commission Meeting Updates

Workplan

The Kirwan Commission has approved a workplan and timeline for meetings and a series of regional public hearings.

Maryland Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education
2017 Schedule and Work Plan
Remaining Meetings as of 8/2/17 – Subject to Change
All meetings will be held from 9:30am -5pm in Room 120 House Office Building, Annapolis unless noted. Time will be reserved at the end of each meeting for public comment.
August 30, 2017: Governance and Accountability (Building Block 9) 

 

 

  • Andreas Schleicher, Director of Education and Skills, OECD

September 14, 2017

  • Day-long Work Session on Building Blocks/Policy Recommendations
  • Evening Public Hearing: 7–9pm Eastern Shore (location TBA)

Other Public Hearings

September 28, 2017: 7-9pm Western Maryland (location TBA) Thurs,
October 12, 2017: 7-9pm Greater Baltimore (location TBA) Thurs,

October 25, 2017

  • Day-long Work Session on Building Blocks/Policy Recommendations
  • Evening Public Hearing: 7–9pm Central/Southern Maryland (location TBA)
November 16, 2017: Work Session on School Finance/Recommendations 
November 30, 2017: Work Session on School Finance/Recommendations 
December 20, 2017: Final Recommendations 

 

 

  • Finalize Policy/Funding Recommendations on Making Maryland a Top Performing System in the World

Meeting Agendas & Materials

September 14, 2017 MeetingAgenda & Materials

On September 14, 2017 the Kirwan Commission held a meeting to discuss a set of draft documents including a Vision Statement, Framework, and Consensus Recommendations.

August 30, 2017 Meeting – Agenda & Materials

  • ESSA Consolidated State Plan
    • Andrew Smarick, President, State Board of Education
    • Karen Salmon, State Superintendent of Schools
    • Mary Gable and Dara Shaw, Maryland State Department of Education
  • How Maryland Compares to Top Performing Systems – Building Block 9 – Governance and Accountability
     • Marc Tucker and Betsy Brown Ruzzi, National Center on Education and the Economy (NCEE)
  • Commission Discussion of Building Block 9 Gap Analysis and Q&A
  • Breakout Group Discussions about Building Block 9

July 26, 2017 Meeting

June 28, 2017 Meeting

June 1, 2017 Meeting

On June 1, 2017 the Kirwan Commission met to hear the following presentations and engage in breakout discussions on the following issues.

April 2017 Meeting

On April 26, 2017 the Kirwan Commission met to hear the following presentations and engage in breakout discussions on the following issues.

Following the morning presentations, the Commission broke into 3 groups for in-depth discussions on the following issues.

  • Building Block 6 – Redesign schools to be places in which teachers are treated as professionals, with incentives and support to continuously improve their practice and the performance of their studentsThe Breakout sessions focused on the following questions. 

    Does Maryland want to:
    1. Source its teachers from the top half of the students graduating from high school who are going on to college?

2. Limit admissions to teacher education programs to students who have a very strong academic record and have a strong capacity for connecting with young people and a strong vocation for teaching?

3. Limit the right to offer a teacher education program to a subset of universities with selective admissions programs or to students who meet a higher criterion for admission than many existing universities?

4. Require its universities to establish programs for elementary school teachers to specialize in either mathematics and science or English and social studies?

5. Forgive tuition, room and board at Maryland’s public universities for students in the top—say—five percent of their high school classes if they commit to serving in Maryland schools when they get their license to teach, provided that they meet the university’s admissions standards?

6. Adopt the teacher licensure standards being used in Massachusetts or similarly rigorous standards, for both content mastery and mastery of craft?

7. Abolish ‘alternative routes’ into teaching?

Following the breakout sessions the groups reported back for discussion among the full Commission.

January 2017 Meeting

On January 9, 2017 the Kirwan Commission met to receive briefings on topics including: Teacher Quality Systems in Top Performing Countries; Quality Teacher Preparation Programs; Moderated Discussion of High Quality Teaching; Adequacy of Education Funding Since 2002; Overview of Maryland Benchmarking and Gap Analysis Process; and Discussion of the 2017 Draft Work Plan/Schedule. The January 9 meeting featured presentations by national experts including: Linda Darling-Hammond, President and CEO, Learning Policy Institute; Robert Rickenbrode, Senior Managing Director of Teacher Preparation Strategies, National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ); and Marc Tucker, President, National Center on Education and the Economy.

In addition, the Commission heard from Rachel Hise, Lead Principal Analyst, Department of Legislative Services (DLS). Ms. Hise presented a comprehensive report requested by Commission members on the current state of the adequacy of education funding relative to what was provided in 2002 and in 2008. The following summaries of “adequacy” demonstrate the significant funding gaps existing in 2002, strong performance of the Bridge to Excellence Act to close those gaps by 2008, and disturbing gaps once again confronting the state based on the adequacy study’s analysis of 2015.

Fiscal 2002 Adequacy Summary

There was a statewide adequacy gap of nearly $1.1 billion.
• Statewide, adequacy was funded at 86.0%.
• Four counties achieved 95.0% or above funding of their adequacy targets; including Howard and Montgomery which exceeded their targets.
• Another five counties were funded at more than 90.0% of their adequacy targets.
• Seven counties were funded at less than 80.0% of adequacy.

Fiscal 2008 Adequacy Summary

There was a statewide adequacy gap of $106.9 million.
• Statewide, adequacy was funded at 98.9%.
• All but one county (Caroline) achieved 95.0% or more of their adequacy targets; including 16 that exceeded their targets.

Fiscal 2015 Adequacy Summary

There was a statewide adequacy gap of $1.6 billion.
• Statewide, adequacy was funded at 87.9%.
• Six counties achieved 95.0% or above funding of their adequacy targets; including four that exceeded their targets.
• Another five counties were funded at more than 90.0% of their adequacy targets.
• Three counties were funded at less than 80.0% of adequacy.

Importantly, Ms. Hise reported the actual, targeted and APA recommended state and local education funding totals for FY 2015 as $10.1 billion (actual); $11.1 billion (target under the Bridge to Excellence Act); and $12.9 billion (recommended by the adequacy study). This adequacy presentation provided the Commission with an analysis that shows the APA recommended funding total is reasonable in terms of building on the Bridge to Excellence Act’s adequacy totals based on 2002 standards – and the need to fund our state’s public schools based on current standards.  The January 9 meeting materials and all presentations are available on the General Assembly website.

This meeting followed the Commission’s December 8 meeting at which the adequacy study report was presented by the consultants Augenblick, Palaich and Associates (APA). At that meeting the Commission discussed the recommendations to significantly increase both state and local aid to education by increasing the base per pupil amount from nearly $7,000 to nearly $11,000 and making major reforms to the calculation of local wealth.

The Kirwan Commission will not meet again until April, following the legislative session, but will convene smaller workgroup meetings prior to that.  The Commission must issue its final report by December 31, 2017.

Final Report – National Experts Recommend $1.9 Billion Increase in Statewide School Funding

On December 2, 2016 the Maryland Association of Boards of Education (MABE) received the final report in which nationally recognized consultants recommend a $1.9 billion increase in state education funding. In 2001, consultants made similarly bold recommendations and the General Assembly and Governors took courageous steps to fully fund the Bridge to Excellence Act. Today, 14 years later, the experts are recommending precisely how much state and local funding is enough to provide the adequate resources for all students across the state to succeed on Maryland's recently adopted College and Career Readiness Standards. 

MABE applauds the adequacy study report for finding that current amounts of per pupil funding is inadequate for all students, and in need of dramatic increases for students receiving special education services, and for four-year old prekindergarten students. These recommendations address MABE's longstanding support for additional resources in these critical areas of need.  

The consultant's report recommends major changes in the way school systems are funded, including a much higher per pupil amount for all students, less targeted funding for English language learners and students living below the federal poverty level, and more targeted funding for special education. The report also recommends major shifts in the relative role of state and local funding in each of Maryland's 24 jurisdictions.

Board members on MABE's Committee on School Funding Adequacy met on Friday, October 14, 2016 and identified serious concerns with issues not adequately addressed or omitted in the draft of the final report. Such issues included the absence of funding recommendations to address concentrations of poverty, student transportation, school safety, school facilities operation and maintenance, the role of classroom instructional aides, and technology infrastructure and educational devices.         

The consultant's recommendations, now finalized, will be "on the table" for consideration by not only the Governor and General Assembly, but also the newly formed Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education, which must issue its final report by December 31, 2017. MABE's representative on this commission is MABE President Joy Schaefer.

MABE looks forward to the work ahead to craft legislation that builds on these recommendations to phase-in the significant increases in education funding needed to support the college and career readiness of the more than 890,000 students educated in Maryland's public schools every day. Link: Adequacy Study: Final Report (11/30/2016 – Prepared by APA Consulting for MSDE)

Commission Meetings – Background

On September 29, 2016 the “Kirwan” Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education held its first meeting. Commission Chair, William E. "Brit" Kirwan, opened the meeting by emphasizing that this was a rare opportunity to be on such a commission, and that although the charge is very broad, the task at hand is essentially to make recommendations on how to make our schools better and that we owe it to students to develop a system that is as good as the best in the world. The 23 Commission members in attendance introduced themselves and offered brief remarks on their priorities for the Commission work. MABE President-elect Donna Brightman spoke to her support for pursuing the goals of greater funding adequacy and equity, as well as the need for local school system flexibility and recognition of local board control over education policy. 

The Commission received the following presentations: 

  • Overview of Education Policy Landscape in Maryland Since 2002
    • Dr. Karen B. Salmon, State Superintendent of Schools, Maryland State Department of Education
  • Overview of Education Funding in Maryland
    • John W. Rohrer, Coordinator – Fiscal and Policy Analysis, Department of Legislative Services
    • Rachel H. Hise, Education Workgroup Leader, Department of Legislative Services
    • Erika S. Schissler, Education Workgroup Leader, Department of Legislative Services
  • Summary of the Adequacy Study and Consultant Studies
    • Kristy L. Michel, Chief Operating Officer and Deputy Superintendent for Finance and Administration, Maryland State Department of Education 
  • Link to All Sept. 29 Presentations

During the presentations, Commission members raised several questions concerning the consultants' adequacy studies, the history and operation of Maryland's school finance system, and issues such as educational technology, career and technology education, and alignment of the high school diploma and college readiness standards.

Chairman Kirwan indicated that the Commission would not be making any substantive recommendations in its interim report to the General Assembly this December, but would include a summary of the Commission's work to date and the work plan for 2017. He was clear about the heavy workload beginning in mid-April, following the legislative session, for the Commission to complete its work in the following eight months.      

On October 31, 2016, the Commission received the following presentations:

  • Overview of Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)
    • Lee Posey, National Conference of State Legislatures 
  • Overview of Accountability and Student Performance in Maryland
    • Dr. Karen B. Salmon, State Superintendent of Schools, Maryland State Department of Education
  • No Time to Lose: How to Build a World-Class Education System State by State
    • Lee Posey, National Conference of State Legislatures
  • Lessons from Top Performing Education Systems
    • Marc Tucker, National Center on Education and the Economy
  • Implementing System Reform
    • David Driscoll, Former Commissioner of Education, Massachusetts
    • Marc Tucker, National Center on Education and the Economy​
  • Link to All Oct. 31 Presentations

Meeting Agendas and Materials

The Dept. of Legislative Services webpage for the Commission contains the Commission roster and meeting agendas and materials. The MSDE webpage for the Adequacy Study and Stakeholder Group contains all of the consultants' reports and stakeholder group meeting materials.  


MABE Initiative Bill Passes to Create the Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education

The General Assembly passed Senate Bill 905, and House Bill 999 to create the Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education. This bill was one of MABE’s top legislative priorities for the 2016 session. On August 9, 2016, Governor Hogan issued a press release announcing that he had joined Senate President Miller and House Speaker Mike 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. MABE is represented on the Commission by MABE's President-elect Donna Brightman (President, Washington County Board of Education).  

Background

MABE greatly appreciates the lead sponsorship of Delegate Anne Kaiser and Senator Nancy King and the broad support in the General Assembly for the pursuit of continuous improvements in the state’s approach to adequately and equitably funding Maryland’s outstanding public schools.

MABE drafted proposed legislation and lobbied for the introduction and passage of this landmark legislation to create a blue ribbon commission on education funding to begin the process of translating the work of the consultant’s funding adequacy studies and recommendations into legislative proposals for comprehensive funding reforms. The legislation is modeled on the 1999 legislation which created the “Thornton” Commission and led to the passage of the Bridge to Excellence in Public Schools Act in 2002. The new “Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education” will review the current education financing formulas and accountability measures and make recommendations for updating and enhancing the funding formulas established by the Bridge to Excellence in Public Schools Act of 2002. The Commission is to provide a preliminary report to the Governor and General Assembly by December 31, 2016; and a final report by December 31, 2017.

The bill to create the Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education was amended at the request of the State Board of Education to reduce the scope of items that must be reported in the annual update of a school system’s comprehensive master plan. MSDE must convene a stakeholder group to review current master plan requirements and the new requirements of the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). MSDE must report by October 1, 2017 to the State Board of Education, the General Assembly, and the commission created by the bill, regarding what information should be included in future comprehensive master plans and whether they should be completed in a digital form that can be periodically updated.    

Senator Nancy King, Education Subcommittee Chair of the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee, was the lead sponsor of Senate Bill 905; and Delegate Ann Kaiser, Chair of the Education Subcommittee of the House Ways and Means Committee, was the lead sponsor of House Bill 999. This legislation represents one of MABE’s key legislative initiatives in 2016 and was a priority bill supported by a broad coalition of organizations in the educational advocacy community. The goal remains to convene legislative leaders and education, business, and local government stakeholders to craft legislation to ensure the long-term adequacy and equity of funding for students in public schools statewide. 

MABE has played a leading role as a member of the MSDE Stakeholder Group monitoring and providing input to the ongoing adequacy studies being conducted by consultants Augenblick, Palaich and Associates. The MSDE webpage for the Adequacy Study and Stakeholder Group contains all of the consultants' reports and stakeholder group meeting materials.  

MABE took the additional initiative to form its own Committee on School Funding Adequacy which in September of 2016 released a report “Priorities and Perspectives on the Future of Public School Funding in Maryland(Executive Summary) to provide background information, in-depth analysis, and an overview of local board perspectives on the ongoing adequacy study. MABE issued an initial version of this report in January of 2016.   


For more information, contact MABE’s Director of Governmental Relations, John R. Woolums, Esq., at jwoolums@mabe.org or 410-841-5414.