The former chancellor of the University System of Maryland will head a state education commission that will examine whether the state formulas in education are equitable and if they are adequate enough to provide students with the tools they need to be ready for college and the workforce.
William E. Kirwan, who served as chancellor for 13 years before retiring last year, will be the chair of the Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education. Gov. Larry Hogan (R), Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller (D-Calvert) and House Speaker Michael E. Busch (D-Anne Arundel) announced Kirwan’s appointment Tuesday.
The General Assembly passed a bill this year to create the commission, which will offer a preliminary report in December and issue a final report that will offer recommendations in December 2017.
Busch and Miller said Kirwan’s experience will serve the panel well.
“Dr. Kirwan’s national prominence and tremendous experience in how to prepare our children for the economy of the future is unparalleled,” Miller said in a statement. “I can think of no one better to chair the Commission.
Hogan, who has clashed with legislative leaders and union leaders over how much funding is provided to school districts, said he hopes the panel looks beyond education funding.
“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,” Hogan said in a statement. “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.”
The commission follows the work of the Maryland Commission on Education Finance, Equity and Excellence, also known as the “Thornton Commission.” The panel’s recommendations led to drastic changes in 2002 to the state’s K-12 school funding formulas and increased public school funding in the state.