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Throwing money at schools hasn’t worked in the past and won’t work now under the Kirwan Commission plan

Then House Speaker Pro Tem Adrienne Jones (now Speaker of the House), with former Speaker of the House Michael Busch, spoke at a press conference in May announcing plans for expanding education through the Kirwan commission plan in Annapolis. Some believe throwing money at education is not the solution to improving achievement gaps.
Then House Speaker Pro Tem Adrienne Jones (now Speaker of the House), with former Speaker of the House Michael Busch, spoke at a press conference in May announcing plans for expanding education through the Kirwan commission plan in Annapolis. Some believe throwing money at education is not the solution to improving achievement gaps. (Joshua McKerrow / Capital Gazette)

I just read your article of September regarding teacher flight and had to laugh and cry at William “Brit” Kirwan’s statements and recommendations (“Maryland teachers are fleeing the profession for more prestigious fields. How one plan aims to fix that,” Sept. 3).

I spent 43 years in education, including 30 years in Baltimore and 13 years in Baltimore County, including as a staffing specialist and director of staffing and as a director of teacher certification. Mr. Kirwan’s statements about raising the teacher standards, salaries and teacher certification requirements have been repeated and repeated over and over again every year for the past 40 years, and nothing has changed. You could find the exact article in your archives from 40 years ago.

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Funding sources for such changes are never identified. Other new and more basic ideas must be examined, such as the teacher education programs at the universities. When I spoke with new teachers after their first year in the classroom, the most resounding statement was always the lack of instruction by the schools regarding classroom management and behavior. They also said there was a lack of support from administrators at the building and central office levels. Building level administrators are under immense pressure to produce student achievement. Many do not have the resources or experience to really support new teachers internally within the building. Some would prefer to terminate the teacher and hope for a new replacement and then begin the process all over again as opposed to working with the individual.

What are local governments doing in community efforts to help support schools and parents with the education process? Some of the points made by Mr. Kirwan are very valid and need to be addressed. However, I do not believe it’s where to begin.

Ken Kuyawa

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