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Education advocates march in the rain on Nov. 7 to protest Gov. Larry Hogan's "dark money" fundraiser at Live! Casino and Hotel. More than 100 protesters came out to support full funding of Kirwan Commission recommendations for public education.
Education advocates march in the rain on Nov. 7 to protest Gov. Larry Hogan's "dark money" fundraiser at Live! Casino and Hotel. More than 100 protesters came out to support full funding of Kirwan Commission recommendations for public education. (Amy Davis / Baltimore Sun)

Quoting from the U.S. Census on per pupil spending among the top 100 school districts in the country, “Of the 100 largest school systems based on enrollment in the United States, the five school systems with the highest spending per pupil in 2017 were New York City School District in New York ($25,199), Boston City Schools in Massachusetts ($22,292), Baltimore City Schools in Maryland ($16,184), Montgomery County School District in Maryland ($16,109), and Howard County School District in Maryland ($15,921)."

Maryland had one additional school system in the top 10, making its total four of the top 10 school systems in the United States. Note that this is before any additional funding recommended by the Kirwan Commission on education. The previous Thornton Commission mandated significant increases in funding and promised dramatic changes in outcomes but without a way to measure return on investment or accountability for its achievement. Now, we have Kirwan with the same scenario (“Maryland education commission endorses $4 billion public school plan. Now lawmakers have to fund it,” Nov. 21).

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Based on the census information, it is clear that Maryland is already investing well ahead of the vast majority of our peer group. Rather than throwing more money at the problem, we should find out where all the money is going and then benchmark what we are doing against other systems that produce far better outcomes on a more efficient basis.

Edward Whitman, Towson

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