Kirwan Report Part II; “Savage” Cuts and “Starvation Wages” for Teachers

By Bill Richbourg

For decades, misleading rhetoric from leading figures in America, like that in a recent article by Norman Augustine, a local corporate magnate RINO, would have us believe that the U.S. spends far less on education than is the case. Consider this statement by former presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, who said that “Over the past decade, states all over America have made savage cuts to education. Teachers are paid starvation wages…”  paint a very dark and dismal perspective of American education, and, of course, of America.  Mr. Augustine, through either ignorance or intention, mimics Mr. Sanders in tone and rhetoric.

As a result, nearly one-third of the American people believe that we spend less than $4,000 per pupil, a gross underestimate. After decades of increases the U.S. per-pupil expenditures have nearly tripled over the past 50 years, from $4,700 in 1966 to $13,847 in 2016. 

America’s per-pupil spending on K-12 education stands at an all-time high in most states. The U.S. spends more money per pupil on primary and secondary school than any other major developed nation, and American teachers earn substantially more than their peers in the private sector. That is before consideration of the fact that teachers work only 10 months out of the year. (

Even the far left Washington Post faults the Kirwan Commission for promoting these myths: “The Kirwan Commission’s central claim that Maryland has underinvested in schools is undermined by figures showing that in 2017, the most recent year for which national data is available, Maryland spent 22% MORE on a per-pupil basis and paid its teachers 28% MORE than the national average.”

The myth that teachers are severely underpaid is a central theme in promoting the Kirwan Blueprint.  Teachers’ salaries may justify increases for reasons other than “severe underpayment,” such as the fact that it is beneficial that teaching be viewed as a highly professional and desirable profession that attracts the “best and brightest.”

Although there are may ways to assess where teachers’ salaries fall on the spectrum of professionals in other fields, one is to determine whether a person gains or loses money when switching careers into or out of teaching. Using that method, it has been determined that transferring from the private sector into teaching is associated with an 8% salary increase, while leaving teaching for the private sector is associated with a 3% salary decrease. 

However, it is problematic that teachers will see any pay raises unless and until Maryland finds a way to pay for all the programs mandated in the Kirwan Bill.

Stay tuned for further comments on other objectionable aspects of the Kirwan Report. 


Bill Richbourg is a member of the Montgomery County Republican Central Committee

Montgomery County Republican Party