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ABAG Member: Baltimore Community Foundation Chief of Staff Says Gap In Kirwan Commission

Friday, December 1, 2017   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Clapp Communications
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Source: Baltimore Sun

We salute Maryland’s Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education — known as the “Kirwan Commission” because it’s chaired by William E. “Brit” Kirwan, the chancellor emeritus of the University System of Maryland — for holding public hearings around the state, giving a preview of the content of its report and inviting community input. Though the topics addressed in the report, the “nine building blocks,” constitute an appropriate list of education policy concerns, we see a disturbing gap in the commission’s work to date.

There is no mention of race in the building blocks — no mention of known racial disparities in educational outcomes; of the negative impact that decades-long, persistent federal, state and local discriminatory policies and modern-day de facto segregation have had on performance outcomes for the U.S. when comparing our educational system to other nations’. The well-documented system of race-based policies intentionally designed to minimize opportunity for a segment of the population apparently was not considered.

We find this to be a problematic omission within the commission’s research, particularly given the fact that our state and country are rapidly reaching a point at which the majority of those enrolled in public schools are students of color.

There are models to show us how to do this. For instance, the Portland Public Schools Racial Educational Equity Policy and Plan provides a rich template for aligning policy and practice with research and data on the effects of systemic racism in education.

 

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