||Education Week - 3 in a Row! (Video)|
For the third year running, Maryland public schools have been ranked number one by Education Week. Dr. Nancy Grasmick addresses the gathering at a Washington D.C. news conference held by the nation's leading education newspaper.
The Maryland public school system finds itself in a familiar place: ranking first in nation for the third straight year, according to an independent national report being released today.
Education Week, the nation’s leading education newspaper, looked at data in six critical categories over the past three years, and once again placed Maryland’s state education system at the very top of national rankings.
Maryland’s grade of B+ placed at the top of the list in Education Week’s annual “Quality Counts” tally. New York and Massachusetts again followed Maryland, with B grades. Most states received grades in the C ranges or below, according to the report.
“Even during these difficult economic times, we’ve worked with students, teachers and parents to continually improve and reform our public education system,” said Governor Martin O’Malley. “For Maryland to be a winner in this new economy we must move forward by creating and saving jobs through innovation and that includes protecting our nation’s-best public school system. We must also be willing to continue making tough choices so that we can protect our shared priorities; priorities that will allow us to make this new economy ours.”
State Superintendent of Schools Nancy S. Grasmick said that Maryland’s goal is to provide outstanding educational opportunities for every child in every neighborhood.
"Recognition of our State’s track record of success is gratifying to all of us who work to strengthen our schools, and Quality Counts provides us with some important measurement tools,” Dr. Grasmick added. “However, we have no intention of raising a victory flag as yet."
Maryland has already taken the next step in its school reform plan. Last year, Maryland became one of a handful of states to be awarded a portion of the federal government’s $4.3 billion Race to the Top funding. With the funds, the State is strengthening standards for students and educators, building a new data warehouse, and constructing a foundation for further educational improvement.
Maryland's 2011 ranking in Quality Counts is based on State education policies and student performance that reflect nearly two decades of work on a preK-12 curriculum; state accountability and standards; teacher effectiveness; and work on school readiness, high school reform, and preparation for college and the workplace. Quality Counts uses more than 50 indicators to develop its report.
Individual grades reported by Education Week show Maryland’s consistent strength throughout the report card.
- Chance for Success – Maryland received a B+ grade. This category includes such factors as parental education, family income, student performance, and graduation rates.
- K-12 Achievement – Maryland received a B- grade. This category includes National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) scores and an analysis of achievement gaps. This grade ranked third in the nation.
- Transitions and Alignment – Maryland tied for first in the nation with an A grade. This category includes early childhood education, college readiness policies, and workforce policies.
- School Finance – Maryland received a B+ grade. This category is based on school funding and equity in finance.
- Standards, Assessments, and Accountability (2010 data) – Maryland received a B+ grade. Maryland has a long history of high standards and detailed statewide accountability programs.
- The Teaching Profession (2010 data) – Maryland ranked fifth in the nation with a B grade. Maryland continues to improve the quality of its education workforce.
Today's announcement by Education Week continues Maryland’s long history of success in the annual review. Maryland has consistently worked to strengthen policies and improve student achievement. The State placed third in 2008, the first year the publication issued a comprehensive ranking, before gaining the top spot for the first time in the 2009 “Quality Counts” report. Maryland’s lead on the rest of the nation grew with the 2010 report, and its success is confirmed again this year.
"Maryland's number one ranking is a true team effort, and I’d like to thank the staff of the Maryland State Department of Education, members of the Maryland State Board of Education, and local system superintendents, administrators, and teachers for continuing their focus on student achievement," Dr. Grasmick said. "Education is a bipartisan cause in our State, and we've had unflinching support from the Governor, the Maryland General Assembly, educators, parents, and the public at large."
Also critical to Maryland’s success has been the efforts of the business community, Dr. Grasmick said.
"Business leaders I talk to really understand the need for strong schools and prepared graduates," she said. "Our State must remain competitive both domestically and internationally, and a strong preK-12 education system is critical to that effort."
Most of the state-level data gathered by Education Week comes from a policy survey of the states conducted in the summer and fall of 2010. In addition, the publication draws on data from such organizations as the U.S. Department of Education, U.S. Bureau of the Census, and the American Federation of Teachers.
For more information, see the Education Week website, www.edweek.org.
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ATTACHMENT: EDUCATION WEEK’S QUALITY COUNTS RELEASE