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Maryland Schools Top Nation 5th Consecutive Year

The state received a B+ grade by Education Week, which released the annual report.

Maryland schools were ranked the best in the nation for the fifth year in a row, according to a study released by Education Week.

"Maryland public schools are so fortunate to have bipartisan support throughout the State," State Superintendent Lillian Lowery said in a statement. "Our schools have the benefit of strong support from the Governor, other elected officials, educators, parents, business leaders, and the public at large. This ranking could not be achieved without the support of every partner, and we won’t be able to continue our improvement without that broad coalition."

The state received an 87.5, B+ grade in the publication's analysis. Massachusetts trailed by 3.4 points to secure a second place ranking.

At the other end of the spectrum, the report lists South Dakota as the lowest performing state at 69.3, D+. 

A majority of the states—38 to be exact—fell along the C range. The nationwide average was 76.9, C+, which is a half point up from the 2012 average of C.

Factors considered in the rankings include indicators of student achievement and teacher quality, disciplinary policies, how students' needs to cope with academic and personal pressures are being met and the role of parents and community groups.

"The conditions for success in schools include not just having high-quality teachers, but ensuring that they are working in schools designed for success. In schools designed for success, there's a growing interest in ensuring that school climate supports students," said Deborah Delisle, the U.S. Department of Education's assistant secretary for elementary and secondary education, in a statement in the report.

M January 11, 2013 at 04:40 PM
As far as I know, the US spends well in excess of $800 Billion per year on its public schools. This is not a state secret. This compares to $65B in Canada, $86B in Russia, $40B in Australia, $61B in South Korea... and so on. Only Britain, France, Japan and Germany spend over $100B per year on Education, and none of them even come close to the $200B mark. The USC (Rossier) survey identifies the US as the highest spender per student at over $7700 per year. Despite this, US students' Math and Science scores manage only 10th and 9th out of the top 12 ($ spent per pupil) nations, respectively. Do the Math before you assert more "BS". Meanwhile, the real issue is our price/performance ratio; whether that is a MD-specific or a US national statistic matters little. Either way, it augurs poorly for the future. I maintain that throwing additional funds at the problem... fixes nothing.
FIFA January 11, 2013 at 04:55 PM
Would you like to source your data please?
M January 11, 2013 at 05:04 PM
FIFA, I'm happy to do so... Sorry I cannot reply directly to your post, it must be under review (no "Reply" button yet) http://rossieronline.usc.edu/u-s-education-versus-the-world-infographic/
Karl Schuub January 11, 2013 at 05:33 PM
Suffice it to say the US spends among the highest amounts per pupil; whether it's first or fourth in no way undermines that assumption and the results are a downward and consistent trend in scoring, the most prevalent and troubling is math and science, the very subjects that will keep the US competitive.
sgor January 11, 2013 at 05:35 PM
i guess the old saying that "figures don't lie but liars figure" has some validity---- give a group with an agenda numbers and they will give you what think you'll swallow. fortunately my children weren't educated by this current group of me me me educators (?) ----my sympathies to those whose children are the pawns in the game
FIFA January 11, 2013 at 05:36 PM
M, thank you for the sourcing. It helps very much to see the rest of the data as I would kindly suggest to you that only giving gross dollars spent as you did does not fairly show the per capita spending as that is a more important measure. From the study, the per capita (per person) spending for the top 4 is: US 7,743 United Kingdom 5,834 Austraila 5,766 Canada 5,749 In the top four the US spends about about 33% more than the other top spenders. Most misleading in the statistics you quote I believe is the study measure the costs of edcuating "school-aged child" in the study are children aged 6-23. Thus college costs are included in the analysis. The cost per child will increase if a nation has more people attending college. That said, the performance of our students in the areas measured is not good enough.
jag January 11, 2013 at 05:43 PM
Joe/Sanchez, Rhee's group doesn't even pretend to be measuring the success/failure of the school systems, hence why Louisiana and DC (remarkably crappy school systems) are ranked top 5 while MD/VA (remarkably successful school systems) are in the middle and bottom: Earlier in the week, Michelle Rhee’s advocacy organization, Students First, released a study of its own that assessed states based on their education policies, not the outcome of those policies. In this assessment, Louisiana topped the list followed by Florida. Maryland earned a D+, which ranked it at 17. Virginia ranked 38 and D.C. outperformed the two states with a C+ and a fourth place ranking." You're trying to compare apples and shovels, just for the sake of fulfilling your irrational need to constantly denigrate this state. It's pathetic and sad.
CB9678 January 11, 2013 at 05:47 PM
M you do know most of the countries on those studies, who rank ahead of us do not educate their special ed kids and thus do not score them in the data!
Steve January 11, 2013 at 05:56 PM
You are comparing apples and oranges. The Europeans have a totally different education model and testing protocol.
FIFA January 11, 2013 at 06:00 PM
Interesting info CB
Jeff Hawkins January 11, 2013 at 06:11 PM
If I'm not mistaken I believe the U.S. is the only country that tests their students randomly. Other areas of the world and especially Japan only test the best and the brightest. Lower achieving students are NOT factored in. In the U.S. ALL tests scores are combined.
Meem January 11, 2013 at 06:23 PM
It's cheese. (Ha, I don't know. Just funnin'.)
Tobin Smith January 11, 2013 at 06:37 PM
I don't necessarily believe that a high school only degree equals fast food worker. We currently have 50% unemployment or underemployment for recent college grads yet there are shortages for skilled or vocational positions in manufacturing. People trained (associate degrees) in STEM fields have a better chance of making the same money as those with degrees. STEM is science, technology, engineering, mathematics. A good high school program gives these kids a boost and there are tons of opportunities for those driven to succeed instead of waiting for a handout.
Karl Schuub January 11, 2013 at 06:37 PM
Steve - it ought not to be about the test at all and who scores best and how they score. It ought to be about the actual number of humans that emerge from our system able to participate in the world markets with superior abilities and contributions. No greater commentary on our schools other than we beg for immigrants from India and Asian countries to fulfill some of our highest level technical jobs. Using that gauge the schools here regardless of which state all fail miserably.
Karl Schuub January 11, 2013 at 06:53 PM
I agree Tobin...used to be that having a bachelors degree meant something but since pretty much anybody that can sit up straight can manage to acquire one it loses it's value; certainly it's prestige. Plumbers, electricians, draftsman, etc., all make oodles of money and are in much higher demand than attorneys (for instance). The success measure used in this analysis would assume a greater measure of success for the attorney - would give extra points to a state for producing this attorney but the funny thing is there's such a glut of attorney's they're a dime a dozen and many of them are bagging groceries. In the meantime the plumber not weighted as highly makes 5 times what the attorney makes with more work than he can handle.
1ke January 11, 2013 at 07:05 PM
You know nothing next to nothing about school reform Michelle Ree, Students First or the charter school movement. You just like how it feels. JoeBlob.
1ke January 11, 2013 at 07:10 PM
Do you know anything about Douglass High School? Have you ever been there or worked there? What is the solution, Dr. M. ? Obviously, mass incarceration of Black men hasn't worked. Welfare to work hasn't worked. Even your people moving to the counties hasn't worked?
1ke January 11, 2013 at 07:21 PM
We? Who is we, Karl? You are the least democratic, civic-minded and forward-looking contributor to these pages. It is easy to be a grasping, reactionary crank who finds fault with every institution, minority group, plan, trend and effort--especially those that cost your precious nickels and dimes. I think your negativity all starts with being a cheapskate and having few friends who are different from you: different religious persuasions, different racial group, different socioeconomic class, different professional orientation, different hobbies. When is the last time you bought somebody a beer? Broke a routine of daily living?
Steve January 11, 2013 at 07:25 PM
You should pick up a copy of the book "Outliers- The Stories of Success " by Malcolm Gladwell. It's a good read and it explains why Chinese kids are better at math than Americans. It has to do with the way they learn their language.
Karl Schuub January 11, 2013 at 07:38 PM
Shall I link for you the number of foreignors now filling technical positions in the US? If attacking me makes you feel better than facing reality then attack away but it won't change the truth. I don't know you; really don't care about you one iota.
Karl Schuub January 11, 2013 at 07:44 PM
If that were true it'd be great because learning techniques can easily be duplicated although it would appear to date we either can't or won't try. There is some evidence of the specificity of certain types of activies in select centers of the brain - language and math being processed in differing areas. That being the case it's difficult to understand how acuity towards math would be a language learning related outcome.
Steve January 11, 2013 at 07:54 PM
Like this: http://www.gladwell.com/outliers/outliers_excerpt3.html
Karl Schuub January 11, 2013 at 07:58 PM
I will admit that's interesting. Before I'd become a believer would of course need to dig more deeply but it's an interesting suggestion.
JD1 January 11, 2013 at 10:02 PM
Actually it's more about $$ spent per student than any achievement...sorry to disappoint
JD1 January 11, 2013 at 10:19 PM
Walk the halls folks and see for yourself .... Been in 20+ schools in the last two weeks. If MD is the best, the US is in serious trouble. Sorry to pop the bubble with reality. Achievement gaps in some of our "best" schools including our own PHHS are HUGE. We have done nothing to address the fact that checked out parents negate good teachers every time. We need to lose the acronyms (STEM, RTTT...ETC) stop being slaves to the test (along with the companies making millions off of making them, scoring them and producing curriculum to prepare for them) and apply common sense. We need to worry less about college prep and worry more about life prep. And most of all, get the politicians like Marty out of the education business once and for all. See if Marty will walk the halls of Woodlawn, Overlea, or Lansdowne without his armed buddies.
John Clarke January 13, 2013 at 08:20 PM
If Maryland schools are ranked as #1 in the nation, we need to bow our heads in shame as we have failed to give our youth the best education possible so that they may succeed in this world. Our nations public school system has been a total dabacle for decades and it is time for our political leaders to own up to the facts. The statistics that school administrators spew out is nothing more than total fabrications to make themselves look good. If our public school system is so good for the average child, why does our political leaders choose to send their own children to private schools to receive their education and when asked they will change the subject. If our nation and children are to prosper in the future we must demand that changes be made to the system.
1ke January 13, 2013 at 09:01 PM
JD1, what the Governor or any other suit does or does not do has precious little to do with the problem or the solution. You are correct on every other account. No one wants to talk about race, class, plutocrats and elitism. Damn, I am not even sure that a bright, activist and highly informed fellow like you wants to talk about it.
JD1 January 14, 2013 at 04:43 AM
1ke...I don't talk about it. I DO something about it every day. I'm on the front lines with kids from all walks of life and the teachers who have dedicated their lives to giving them a chance at life. That's why I can't stand it when blowhards like OMalley wear meaningless rankings on their sleeve as a badge of honor. He has done NOTHING to improve schools or make life easier for kids who struggle. He is no leader and he is certainly no educator. The best thing he could do for schools in MD is stay out of the way or better yet, help to dismantle the statewide testing program so teachers can teach. Tomorrow, schools throughout the state will begin the scramble to teach to the test in preparation for the next round. Instead of engaging kids in meaningful and engaging instruction, schools everywhere will be doing practice tests, MSA reviews and other BS efforts to inflate scores. His kid at Loyola won't be subjected to that...why do mine have to? MD schools #1....I don't think so...
Janis January 14, 2013 at 06:13 AM
Look who is on the education week board of trustees Board of Trustees Editorial Projects in Education Jerry D. Weast Jerry D. Weast is a 35-year veteran of education leadership. Dr. Weast led Montgomery County Public Schools—16th largest school district in the nation—to achieve both the highest graduation rate among the nation’s largest school districts for four consecutive years and the highest academic performance ever in MCPS at a time when the non-English-speaking student population more than doubled and enrollment tipped toward low socioeconomic demographics. Dr. Weast’s approaches to early childhood education, differentiation of resources, professional growth systems, predictive analytics, and relationship strategies for both unions and business involvement are the subjects of numerous Harvard Business School case studies, and of the book Leading for Equity (Harvard Education Press, 2009). Montgomery County Public Schools was a 2010 winner of the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award for management excellence and a 2010 finalist for the Broad Prize in Urban Education. Dr. Weast’s leadership is analyzed in the book Team Turnarounds: A Playbook for Transforming Underperforming Teams (Frontiera and Leidl, 2012); and the success Montgomery County Public Schools achieved during Dr. Weast’s tenure is held as a model in the book Renewal: Remaking America’s Schools for the 21st Century (Kwalwasser, 2012)...
Joan Anders January 17, 2013 at 11:50 PM
I went to MoCo shcools an I has a gret ednucation.

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