Investing in Every Child

September 2017 / Abell-Supported Research / Education
image of teacher with two children
An Abell-funded report by the Maryland Center on Economic Policy examines the future of compensatory education aid in Maryland.

We in Maryland have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to ensure that every child has access to a quality education. The Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education (also known as the Kirwan Commission) is leading a review of our state’s education system and making recommendations for reform.

One of the most important tasks before policy makers is to design an effective system of supports for students who face obstacles to learning. When children grow up in families that struggle to afford the basics, they often face an array of challenges in daily life. They are more likely to develop health problems than children in wealthier families. They don’t always have reliable access to necessities like food, housing, and health care. Many face environmental hazards in the home and violence outside of it. These challenges can take a toll on the body and mind, producing physiological stress and interfering with brain development.

Compensatory education aid–targeted school funding intended to meet the needs of low-income students–is an essential tool that helps children overcome these barriers. A large body of research shows that providing additional funding–and investing it in evidence-based practices like expanded learning and one-on-one tutoring–can make a big difference in children’s lives.

A new report by the Maryland Center for Economic Policy, supported by the Abell Foundation and other local funders, examines the state’s compensatory education system and recommends policy solutions to make it more effective.  It calls on policymakers to:

  • modernize the way low-income students are counted;
  • strengthen support for low-income districts; and
  • target resources toward concentrations of poverty.

Learn more about how compensatory education works in Maryland and the opportunities for improving it with the resources below.