This promise can only become a reality if our state legislators, those continuing to debate education reform in Annapolis, decide to fully implement the recommendations of the Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education, better known as the Kirwan Commission.
At its core, the Kirwan Commission recommendations are about educational equity, about supporting all students, regardless of Zip code or circumstance, with the educational resources they need to learn and thrive. This isn’t the current reality for many students in our city.
I see firsthand the immense, lasting impact that a lack of resources and capacity have on both the education and development of students.
From the moment they enter, teachers, support staff, and nonprofits are playing catch-up, trying to set them on the path to read on grade level by fourth grade. This is the educational milestone that often determines if they will ever become grade-level readers, and significantly predicts their future academic success.
I know what the Kirwan Commission recommendations, especially its increased funding and expanded focus on early childhood education, could mean for these students and their futures. It could mean more teachers and staff, more student support and interventions, more resources for families.
Imagine what these students will be able to dream, pursue and accomplish with the resources of a more equitable, quality education system surrounding them.
I can’t wait for this reality, but it won’t come to fruition unless every citizen — those with or without children, those working in schools or not, those living in Baltimore City or on the Eastern Shore — band together and demand change. This isn’t just a fight for nonprofits like Reading Partners, city school systems, or tenured education experts; we all have a role to play in closing the education opportunity gap for Maryland students.
I’m urging our state legislators to be selfless enough to enable this reality, to fulfill our collective responsibility to create that environment. This is about children’s lives, after all. What greater legacy can any of us leave behind than the promise of a better tomorrow?