William Kirwan, who chaired a Maryland commission on education, talks about a blueprint with a 10-year plan to improve education in the state during a news conference last March in Annapolis, Md. Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller is standing left and the late House Speaker Michael Busch is standing right.
William Kirwan, who chaired a Maryland commission on education, talks about a blueprint with a 10-year plan to improve education in the state during a news conference last March in Annapolis, Md. Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller is standing left and the late House Speaker Michael Busch is standing right. (Brian Witte/AP)

The commentary on the Kirwan Commission by David Hornbeck (“Hogan is wrong about the Kirwan Commission," Aug. 25) is the perfect example of the answer to Kirwan being “half-baked and pie in the sky." The fact that Mr. Hornbeck is a former state superintendent of schools in Maryland is not surprising. His op-ed jumps all over the place dealing with crime and poverty and never showing the proof that the education reform plan has any chance to alleviate all the problems of the world. And yes, I read through the Kirwan report when it came out.

First off, trying to compare cultures of different countries to our own culture is a waste of strategy as cultures take hundreds of years to take effect. He states that the “Kirwan recommendations were carefully conceived by analyzing practices in other countries and states that are among the best-performing in the world.” But, there is no guarantee that implementing something that worked in another country will work in our country based on the way we see education and the goals of education.

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Many of the facts presented by Mr. Hornbeck may or may not be fixed by Kirwan. Maryland’s crime rate? Based, I assume, on poverty which affects education. Sounds good but I seriously think it is a long stretch. Crime and the criminal element will never be wiped out. Do you know why? The money is too good. There are too many rewards to the successful criminal. It is directly diametrical to education — achievement without work.

Finally, Mr. Hornbeck states, “framed another way, the question is what must Maryland do to produce a highly trained workforce? What must Maryland do to reduce crime? What must the state do to give all Marylanders a real opportunity for educational success regardless of race, income, language or disability? The commission has answered those questions with a blueprint grounded in real-world educational practice." Talk about solving everything. Why not add every other problem we have in Baltimore and Maryland and claim the Kirwan commission will solve them also?

On top of all the accolades heaped on the Kirwan plan, Mr. Hornbeck fails to mention where the money will come from. Must come from somewhere, don’t you think? Billions of dollars just don’t pop out of the air. What other worthwhile programs may suffer to enforce Kirwan? And when you get right down down to it, if you can’t find the money then all further discussion is moot and maybe other worthwhile plans that may have a chance to succeed may be considered.

Gov. Larry Hogan looked at the reality of the Kirwan plan and had the guts to speak out and call it the way it really is! And that doesn’t make him “anti-” public education.

Stas Chrzanowski, Baltimore

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