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Maryland is standing on the threshold of a new era in how we educate our children. The "Kirwan" Commission will shape public education funding policy for the next generation. Since Black and Latinx students make up more than half of Maryland's public school enrollment — and Maryland's future rests on how well it serves these students — closing racial gaps is urgent.

Add your name now: The state's "Kirwan" Commission must center race equity in the group's final recommendations.

The Education Trust recently released a new set of analyses that examine racial inequities in Maryland's schools. Is our current education system in Maryland equitable? The data paint a clear picture: NO. Black and Latinx students are not being adequately and equitably served by Maryland's education system.

The challenge is structural inequity. Black and Latinx students get the least of the opportunities and resources that matter most from before kindergarten and until they graduate. As the percentage of students of color increases, the gap between the district's needed funding and its actual funding tends to get worse.

We believe that racial inequities can be eliminated. However, that starts with honest conversations about race. In addition to advocating for a full and equitable funding formula, We urge the Commission to include explicit policies, strategies, and staffing to address racial inequities in the final recommendations.

We must put pressure on the "Kirwan" Commission to make clear that race equity is a priority for education in Maryland.

To Members of Maryland's Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education:

Maryland's current education system is not equitable. Black and Latinx students get the least of the opportunities and resources that matter most from before kindergarten and until they graduate. As the percentage of students of color increases, the gap between the district's needed funding and its actual funding tends to get worse.

I support ACLU of Maryland’s call to the "Kirwan" Commission to support strong and effective recommendations to further race equity.

Here are some recommendations the "Kirwan" Commission could include to increase equity for African American/Black and Latinx children:

  • Ensuring that all school districts, but especially those serving high percentages of students of color, get their full amount of their funding target.
  • Recruiting and retaining culturally representative preK-12 educators.
  • Providing explicit training on racial, linguistic, and culturally responsive pedagogy and practice, and social justice training for teachers and administrators.
  • Identifying and implementing culturally specific pedagogy, curriculum investments, and assessments at all grade levels.
  • Collaborating with culturally specific community-based organizations to provide wraparound services, youth mentoring, and other supports.
  • Providing culturally responsive counseling and career services to increase graduation rates.
  • Increasing the amount of culturally specific information, supports, and services available for newly-arrived immigrants, and increase partnerships with community-based programs to promote and encourage parent engagement.

I urge the "Kirwan" Commission to center race equity as recommendations are finalized.