The public is invited to the January 16 meeting of the Democratic Club of Kent County, where Dr. Karen Couch, KCPS Superintendent, will speak on the topic of “Maryland Educational Reform Recommendations,” resulting from the work of the “Kirwan Commission.” Dr. Couch served as a member of the the Commission; formally known as the “Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education,” the body recently completed its work, and the recommendations (and their costs) will be considered by the Maryland General Assembly during the current session.
The Commission studied educational policy for two years, including looking at what’s worked in other states and countries. Highlights of their recommendations include:
• Expanding prekindergarten to all 4-year-olds, as well as 3-year-olds from poor families;
• Increasing the standards to become a teacher, and raising teacher salaries;
• Revamping high schools to offer students training for well-paying jobs right after graduation;
• Establishing more “community schools” with additional services for students and their families;
• Providing more support to special education students and schools with concentrations of poor families; and
• Creating an accountability program to make sure money for education goes where it’s supposed to.
The Commission report envisions phasing in these new and expanded programs over 10 years. By that time, the state and the local school systems would reportedly need to add a total of about $4 billion per year more than they would have if spending stayed on its current course. The state’s share of the increase would be $2.8 billion when fully phased in, while local governments would collectively be paying $1.2 billion more. It is not clear what Kent County’s additional costs would be, nor how they would be funded.
Join us on Thursday, January 16 at Sumner Hall, 206 S. Queen St., Chestertown, for this informative meeting. Doors open at 5:30 for light refreshments (please note, dinner will not be available for this meeting). Dr. Couch will begin her presentation at approximately 6:30 pm. See you there!
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