The Blueprint for Maryland’s Future (also known as “Kirwan”) is landmark legislation that was passed into law in 2021. Building on the recommendations of the Kirwan Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education, this legislation represents a comprehensive overhaul of education funding in the state of Maryland, with major new investments designed to close equity gaps and improve the overall quality of education in the state.
The Kirwan Blueprint should not be confused with City School’s existing Blueprint for Success. Our 2017 Blueprint for Success clearly articulated our vision and our plan for what we would accomplish — as a district, in schools, and for students — should equitable resources be made available. With our Blueprint – an evidence-based guide to what students will be taught, how they will be taught, and how we can improve environments for learning – our elected officials and advocates rallied support for what would become, after years of debate, the successfully passed Kirwan legislation. Thus, the priorities in the Kirwan plan align with the existing City Schools priorities articulated in the Blueprint and Reconnect, Restore, Reimagine. In many ways, City Schools has a head start on Kirwan implementation.
While some initial elements of Kirwan were implemented in the 2021-22 school year, the 2022-23 school year will mark the beginning of substantial impacts on district funding. It’s important to understand what Kirwan is — and what it isn’t.
Kirwan is a recalibration of state funding through an equity lens that works to correct what has been historical underfunding of educational resources for children from low-income families, English language learners, and students with disabilities. In addition, it gives special attention to students who live in areas of concentrated poverty.
This will mean additional funds for the district and the opportunity to deploy new resources on behalf of our students. At the same time, as part of its equity focus, Kirwan is targeted at schools and students who need it most; some schools and students will benefit more than others from Kirwan funding.
Kirwan is not a curriculum, and it is not a “blank check” for the district to spend however it wants; there are guidelines, restrictions, requirements, and mandates. Kirwan is also not the sole source of funding for the district. It is designed to be transformative — to support students and schools at the margins as well as bring about systemic change.
Kirwan is a long-term change to City Schools resources that will scale up significantly in coming years. Like our Blueprint, it is an evidence-based approach to closing opportunity and achievement gaps with clearly identified focuses that are similarly aligned with City Schools’:
Kirwan funds universal pre-k as well as the opening of more Judy Centers — early learning hubs that help prepare children for school readiness. The new funding will allow us to broaden accessibility to pre-k by offering greater choice and more flexibility for families. Learn more with infographic
New curriculum standards, as well as expanded access to Career and Technical Education (CTE) opportunities, will ensure we’re giving students access to rigorous and varied educational experiences that will prepare them for their success in college and career. Learn more with infographic
New career-advancement opportunities, salary structures, recruitment strategies, and professional development options will allow us to recruit more highly qualified teachers and leaders and focus on retention.Learn more with infographic
Kirwan allocates resources for high-impact initiatives to close achievement gaps, especially for English language learners and special education students. With funding for the expansion of Community Schools, more schools in areas with high concentrations of poverty will be empowered to deliver more social services, after-school programs, and expanded health services. Learn more with infographic
Kirwan funding arriving after pandemic disruptions to education makes this an incredible opportunity to target resources when and where the need is at its greatest. Kirwan begins to correct historical inequities while providing opportunities for more resources for our students, our families, our communities, our schools, and our staff.