School choice in Maryland

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See also

School choice refers to the educational alternatives available to parents who do not wish to send their children to the local district public schools to which they are assigned. Public school choice options include open enrollment policies, magnet schools and charter schools. Other options include traditional school vouchers, scholarship tax credits, personal tax credits and deductions and Education Savings Accounts (ESAs), which allow parents to receive public funds directly for educational expenses.[1][2]

School choice options in Maryland include: charter schools and supplemental online learning programs. In addition, about 14.17 percent of school age children in the state attended private schools in the 2011-12 academic year, and an estimated 2.67 percent were homeschooled in 2012-13.

Educational choice options

See also: Number of schools by school type in the U.S.

Charter schools

See also: Charter schools in Maryland

According to the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, there were 52 charter schools operating in Maryland in the 2012-13 academic year. During that time, charter schools enrolled 19,705 students.[3][4]

Charter school authorizers are, according to the National Association of Charter School Authorizers (NACSA), the organizations "designated to approve, monitor, renew, and, if necessary, close charter schools." As of June 2014, the organizations in the following table were listed by NACSA as charter school authorizers in Maryland:[5]

Maryland charter school authorizers
Organization Authorizer type Number of schools overseen
Anne Arundel County Public Schools Local education agency 1
Baltimore City Public Schools Local education agency 33
Baltimore County Charter Schools Local education agency 1
Frederick County Public Schools Local education agency 2
Prince George's County Public Schools Local education agency 8
St. Mary's County Public Schools Local education agency 1
Note: If the total number of charter schools accounted for in this table differs from the total number listed elsewhere on this page, the discrepancy owes to differing calculation methods and data sources.
Source: National Association of Charter School Authorizers, "Maryland Charter Authorizers," accessed June 18, 2014

Magnet schools

Magnet schools, sometimes called theme-based schools, are public schools of choice that use a specialized subject area or innovative learning approach to attract students from more diverse backgrounds. In fact, magnet schools began as a way to desegregate public schools through choice rather than force. Magnet schools can reach beyond the barriers of school districts, but they are still managed and funded publicly by local districts, even though they are centered around specialized themes and subjects.[6][7]

In the 2011-2012 school year, there were 2,949 magnet schools in the United States. In that year, Maryland had 91 magnet schools that served 80,197 students. Approximately 73 percent of students enrolled in Maryland magnet schools were classified as a minority. That percentage of students was predominately African American. This was higher than Maryland's average of 57 percent minority enrollment. The state also reported an average student:teacher ratio of 15:1 in magnet schools, which is higher than the state average of 14:1 in traditional public schools. The table below lists this information again and compares it to Maryland's neighboring states.[8][9]

Magnet school participation, 2011-2012
State Magnet schools in the state Students in magnet schools Minority enrollment percentage Student:teacher ratio
Maryland 91 80,197 73% 15:1
School choice in Delaware 3 2,248 30% 18:1
New Jersey No data available
Virginia No data available
Source: Public School Review, "Public School Review state magnet school pages," accessed December 12, 2014

School vouchers and tax credits

Maryland offers neither school vouchers nor school choice tax incentives.[10]

Online learning

According to Keeping Pace with K-12 Online and Blended Learning, there are no fully virtual schools in Maryland. The Maryland Virtual School, the state-led online learning program, provides supplemental online courses for high school credit and High School Assessment courses and resources. State law prohibits online charter schools.[11]

Private schools

In the 2011-12 school year, 121,063 students, or 14.17 percent of school age children, were enrolled in 668 private schools. Maryland ranks seventh highest in the nation in private school attendance.[12]

Public school open enrollment

According to the Education Commission of the States, Maryland has no open enrollment policies.[13]


In Maryland in 2012-2013 an estimated 26,104 students, or 2.67 percent of the total student-aged population, were homeschooled.[14]

A summary of the state's laws relating to homeschooling can be accessed here.

School choice ballot measures

See also: School choice on the ballot and List of Maryland ballot measures

Ballotpedia has tracked no statewide ballot measures relating to school choice in Maryland.

Recent news

This section displays the most recent stories in a Google news search for the term "Maryland + Education + Choice"

All stories may not be relevant to this page due to the nature of the search engine.

Maryland School Choice News Feed

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See also


  1. National Conference of State Legislatures, "School Choice and Charters," accessed June 18, 2014
  2. Friedman Foundation for School Choice, "What is School Choice?" accessed June 18, 2014
  3. National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, "Total Number of Schools - Maryland," accessed June 20, 2014
  4. National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, "Total Number of Students - Maryland," accessed June 20, 2014
  5. National Association of Charter School Authorizers, "Maryland Charter Authorizers," accessed June 18, 2014
  6. Public School Review, "What is a magnet school?" accessed December 9, 2014
  7. Magnet Schools of America, "What are magnet schools?" accessed December 9, 2014
  8. National Center for Education Statistics, "Selected statistics from the common core of data: School year 2011-2012," accessed December 12, 2014
  9. Public School Review, "Maryland magnet schools," accessed December 12, 2014
  10. The Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice, "School Choice in Maryland," accessed June 20, 2014
  11. Keeping Pace with K-12 Online and Blended Learning, "Maryland," accessed June 20, 2014
  12. U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Common Core of Data (CCD), "Private School Universe Survey (PSS)", 2011-12 ; "Public Elementary/Secondary School Universe Survey, v.1a.," accessed May 12, 2014
  13. Education Commission of the States, "Open Enrollment: 50-State Report," accessed June 20, 2014
  14. A2Z Home's Cool, "Number of Homeschoolers in the USA," updated February 2, 2014