Maryland Among the Biggest Losers
Quality Counts is a system that grades all 50 states on the Chance-for-Success Index. It is supposed to give a snapshot of a person’s prospects for successful outcomes over a lifetime from early childhood to adulthood and the working world.
States are scored on 13 separate indicators. Four of them deal with conditions in early childhood experiences that are big predictors of success in formal schooling. Six of the indicators focus on formal education from pre-school to college. The final three try to look at a snapshot of adulthood. States are graded on an A-F scale. For a number of years Maryland ranked number 1 or number 2 in the nation, often switching places back and forth with Massachusetts. Massachusetts is still number 1 but Maryland has dropped to 8thplace. Its score has had the second largest drop in the country, second only to Vermont. Interestingly, the District of Columbia has made the greatest gains.
While the Kirwan Commission has spent two years developing a plan to improve Maryland’s education, important components of the state’s educational program have slipped. Maryland is one of the wealthiest states in the nation based on per-capita income. It has the second highest percentage of adults (following Iowa) in the percentage of adults working full time in the workforce. Maryland adults are well-educated. The big issue seems to be the performance of its children on the National Assessment of Educational Performance test. Unlike the more successful states, well under half of Maryland’s 4thand 8thgraders are proficient in these basic achievement tests. Four the last 4 years, Maryland’s governor has bragged that he has invested more money in education than any other governor. That is a truthful statement. What is not mentioned is that the amount of money invested is the bare minimum required by Maryland law through its maintenance of effort requirement for both local school districts and the state. The National Educational Assessment of Educational Performance is a consistent measure that does not vary as educators chase the next guaranteed to improve education. Many educators believe that the popular Common Core curriculum is ineffective because it is inconsistent with the neurological development of children. It would seem to make sense that before we throw billions of dollars toward the recommendations of the Kirwan Commission, we carefully examine the factors that are sending one of the richest states in the country and one that had the best educational rating into free fall. Why is Maryland the second biggest loser in the chase for the best educational system.