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Public education in Maryland

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K-12 Education in Maryland
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Education facts
State Superintendent: Lillian Lowery
Number of students: 854,086[1]
Number of teachers: 57,589
Teacher/pupil ratio: 1:14.8
Number of school districts: 25
Number of schools: 1,451
Graduation rate: 84%[2]
Per-pupil spending: $13,871[3]
See also
Maryland Department of EducationList of school districts in MarylandMarylandSchool boards portal
Education policy logo.jpg
Education policy project
Public education in the United States
Public education in Maryland
Glossary of education terms
The Maryland public school system (prekindergarten-grade 12) operates within districts governed by locally elected school boards members and superintendents. Maryland has 24 school districts.

The Maryland state constitution requires that the state offer "a thorough and efficient" free public school system.[4]

School revenues, expenditures and budget

See also: Maryland state budget
Maryland's education costs are 21% of the state budget

The K-12 education budget totaled $6.7 billion according to the governor's FY 2010 budget, a $68.3 million increase over FY 2009. Education accounts for a 21% of the total statewide budget - $31.7 billion. According to the FY 2010 budget, approximately $1 billion has been allocated to the governor's 3-year total for school construction.[5]

Charter school spending

In the 2004-2005 school year, shortly after the charter school law was adopted approximately $679,854 was spent on charter schools. Spending has since increased to $5.04 million for 2007-2008. A total of $13,565,391 was spent for the years 2004-2008.[6]

The cost per pupil is $12,966 the 10th highest the nation according the Census Bureau 2007-2008 report.[7]

School Year 2007-2008 2006-2007 2005-2006 2004-2005
Total Spending $5,038,936 $3,868,890 $3,977,711 $679,854

Personnel salaries

Maryland ranked 8th in the nation, according to the American Federation of Teachers for average teacher salary in the 2006-2007 school year. The average teacher salary was $56,927, a 4.8% increase from 2005-2006. Beginning teacher salary was $40,849, a 5.7% increase from 2005-2006.[8] The average teacher salary for 2004-2005 was $52,330. The average beginning teacher salary was $37,125, a 3.9% increase from 2003-2004. In comparison, the average teacher salary nationally was $46,602.[9]

Role of unions

The main unions related to the Maryland school system are Maryland State Education Association (MSEA), an affiliate of the National Education Association (NEA) and AFT Maryland. For the 2003 tax period MSEA had: $13.9 million in total revenue, $13.7 million in total expenses and $11.5 million in total assets.[10] AFT Maryland had: $1.1 million in total revenue, $1.1 million in total expenses and $337,687 in total assets.[11]

List of local Maryland school unions:[12]

Role of school boards

The State Board of Education is the main policy-setting body that oversees elementary and secondary education in the state.[13] Each school district has it's own school board. The board not only establishes the education policies and standards but also approves the annual budget. The state board consists of 12 board members which are appointed by the governor. Members may sever two four-year terms. Student members, however, serve a one-year term. The superintendent, on the other hand, is selected by the board for a renewable four-year term. The superintendent also serves as secretary-treasurer but does not have a vote.[14]

Taxpayer-funded lobbying

See also: Maryland government sector lobbying

The main education government sector lobbying organization is the Maryland Association of Boards of Education.


Maryland has partial transparency due to the passage of the Maryland Funding Accountability and Transparency Act. The state has made a searchable database available.[15] Information specifically regarding the Maryland State Department of Education can be viewed here.

Despite the state's attempts to increase transparency, some still argue that local transparency is lacking. Local school systems for example mostly fail to provide "accessible and searchable information on contracts and guidelines for applying for them, and lobbying and ethics reports," according to reports.[16]


A 2009 study, Leaders and Laggards, conducted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Institute for a Competitive Workplace, Frederick M. Hess of the conservative American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research, and the Center for American Progress, gave Maryland: "C" in academic achievement; "C" in truth in advertising about student proficiency; "C" in rigor of standards; "A" in post-secondary and workforce readiness; "A" in for its teacher workforce policies; "F" in data quality.[17]


  • In Montgomery County the Parents Coalition of Montgomery County filed a series of FOIA requests which later revealed in 2009: one school system's account was overdrawn by $122,000, a school spent $14,000 on a gym without a bid and a principal was reimbursed $11,000 for expenses on a personal credit card. The school audits are currently not posted on the district's website.[18]
  • According to a legislative audit, in 2009 the state department of education failed to inspect day care centers and in effect hired too many educators. The audit revealed that of 100 centers 75% did not receive the required inspections. The state tripled the number of educators since 1990. Their salaries total 7% of the department of education's budgeted payroll.[19]

Academic performance

The charts below reveals details on Maryland schools' performance according to the Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) report, which is used by the federal No Child Left Behind (NCLB) program to determine the academic performance of schools.

Public schools

According to AYP standards, below is a chart that indicates whether schools in grades 3-5, 6-8 and 9-12 have met AYP standards for the 2008-2009 school year. A "no" indicates a school that did not meet AYP standards. A "yes" indicates a school that did meet AYP standards.[20]

School grade Reading Mathematics
Grades 3-5 yes yes
Grades 6-8 yes yes
Grades 9-12 yes yes

Schools listed for improvement due to a failure to meet AYP scores include: 9 schools in Anne Arundel County, 81 schools in Baltimore City, 16 schools in Baltimore County, 1 school in Caroline County, 4 schools in Cecil County, 1 school in Charles County, 3 schools in Dorchester County, 4 schools in Frederick County, 8 schools in Harford County, 1 school in Howard County, 1 school in Kent County, 8 schools in Montgomery County, 56 schools in Prince George's County, 1 school in Saint Mary's County, 3 schools in Somerset County, 1 school in Washington County, 2 schools in Wicomico County.[21]

Charter schools

According to AYP standards, below is a list of charter schools that and their progress for the 2005-2006 and 2006-2007 school years. A "no" indicates a school that did not meet AYP standards. A "yes" indicates a school that did meet AYP standards.[6]

School 2005-2006 2006-2007
Northwood Appold Community Academy - no
Patterson Park Public Charter School no no
Rosemont Elementary/Middle School - yes
The Crossroads School yes yes
The Empowerment Academy yes yes
Monocacy Valley Montessori Charter School yes yes
Restoration Academy Charter School - no
EXCEL Academy Public Charter School - yes
Turning Point Academy Public Charter School - no
Potomac Public Charter School (closed 07-08) - yes

State Budget Solutions’ Education Study: “Throwing Money At Education Isn’t Working”

State Budget Solutions’ examined national trends in education from 2009-2011, including state-by-state analysis of education spending, graduation rates, and average ACT scores. The study shows that states that spend the most do not have the highest average ACT test scores, nor do they have the highest average graduation rates. A summary of the study is available here. Download the full report here: Throwing Money At Education Isn’t Working.

See National Chart to compare data from all 50 states.

State Spending on Education vs. Academic Performance 2012

State 2011 Total Spending[22] 2011 Education Spending[23] 2011 Percent Education Spending 2012 Total Spending[24] 2012 Education Spending[25] 2012 Percent Education Spending 2010 Avg. ACT score[26] 2011 Avg. ACT score[27] 2012 Avg. ACT score[28] 2010 Graduation Rate[29] 2011 Graduation Rate[30]
Maryland $55.4 billion $18.0 billion 32.4% $55.9 billion $18.5 billion 33.0% 22.3 22.1 22.1 80.0% 80.4%

School choice

School choice options include:

In May 2010 House Bill 1362 was enacted. It is now MD Chapter 743 This allows the School Board of Education to create a K-12 Full-time On-line/Virtual School. Parent organization Emerging Minds of Maryland played an important role in getting legislation passed

External links


  1. National Center for Education Statistics, "Table 2. Number of operating public schools and districts, state enrollment, teacher and pupil/teacher ratio by state: School year 2011–12," accessed March 18, 2014
  2. ED Data Express, "State Tables Report," accessed March 17, 2014 The site includes this disclaimer: "States converted to an adjusted cohort graduation rate [starting in the 2010-2011 school year], which may or may not be the same as the calculation they used in prior years. Due to the potential differences, caution should be used when comparing graduation rates across states."
  3. United States Census Bureau, "Public Education Finances: 2011," accessed March 18, 2014
  4. Maryland Constitution,"Article VIII, Section 1," retrieved September 23, 2009
  5. State of Maryland,"FY 2010 Operating Budget," retrieved September 23, 2009
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Maryland Department of Education,"Maryland’s Public Charter School Program:Providing High Quality Choices in Public Education," retrieved September 23, 2009
  7. Maine Watchdog, Education Spending Per Child, July 6, 2010
  8. American Federation of Teachers,"Maryland ranks eighth in nation for teacher pay," retrieved September 23, 2009
  9. American Federation of Teachers,"Maryland ranks in the 12th nation for the teacher pay," March 29, 2007
  10. Center for Union Facts,"Maryland State Education Association," retrieved September 22, 2009
  11. Center for Union Facts,"AFT Maryland," retrieved September 22, 2009
  12. Center for Union Facts,"State of Maryland," retrieved September 22, 2009
  13. Maryland Department of Education,"State Board," retrieved September 22, 2009
  14. Maryland Department of Education,"State Board Members," retrieved September 23, 2009
  15. Maryland House Bill 358 (2008)
  16. Washington Examiner,"Make transparency permanent Maryland government policy," March 16, 2009
  17. U.S. Chamber of Commerce Institute,"Maryland Education Report Card," retrieved November 17, 2009
  18. WTOP,"Parents on school fees: Show us the money," September 18, 2009
  19. Baltimore Sun,"Audit faults education department on inspections, hirings," September 3, 2009
  20. Maryland School Report Card,"2009 System Improvement Status," retrieved September 23, 2009
  21. Maryland School Report Card,"2009 Schools Identified for Improvement," retrieved September 23, 2009
  22. "Alabama Government Spending Chart - Total Spending" Aug. 4, 2012
  23. "Alabama Government Spending Chart - Education Spending"Aug. 4, 2012
  24. "Alabama Government Spending Chart - Total Spending" Aug. 4, 2012
  25. "Alabama Government Spending Chart - Education Spending"Aug. 4, 2012
  26. 2010 ACT National and State Scores "Average Scores by State"
  27. [ 2011 ACT National and State Scores " Average Scores by State"]
  28. [ 2011 ACT National and State Scores " Average Scores by State"]
  29. National Center for Education Statistics
  30. National Center for Education Statistics
  31. Maryland Department of Education,"Charter Schools Overview," retrieved September 23, 2009
  32. 32.0 32.1 The Heritage Foundation,"School Choice in Maryland," retrieved September 22, 2009