Maryland’s public schools were recently ranked the number one public school system in the country by a national education newspaper, the third straight year the state has received the honor.

Education Week, the country’s leading education publication, gave Maryland public schools a “B-plus” rating on its “Quality Counts” assessment, which judges school systems across the nation based on various categories.

“Even during these difficult economic times, we’ve worked with students, teachers and parents to continually improve and reform our public education system,” Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley said in a statement. “Since we received this same distinction last year, Maryland has began integrating our data systems to better track student progress, and has won President Obama’s ‘Race to the Top’ competition to continually improve our school system, recruit and retain the nation’s best teachers, and turn around low performing schools.”

According to the report, Massachusetts and New York followed Maryland with “B” ratings.

Most states generally stayed within the “C” range, but the District of Columbia ranked near the bottom with a “D-minus” rating. The nation overall received a “C” grading, reflecting only minor progress made since last year.

The school systems were judged in six different categories including their Chance for Success, K-12 Achievement, Transitions Alignment, School Finance, Standards, Assessments and Accountability, and The Teaching Profession.

The publication also collected state-level data from a policy survey conducted in 2010. In addition, information was pulled from the U.S. Department of Education, the American Federation of Teachers and the U.S. Census Bureau.

Maryland’s ranking in this year’s assessment comes after nearly two decades of work to improve the state’s education policies and student performance from grades preK-12, Maryland State Superintendent Dr. Nancy S. Grasmick said in a statement.

“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,” Grasmick said. “However, we have no intention of raising a victory flag as yet.”

After receiving a segment of President Obama’s $4.3 million Race to the Top Funding, Maryland has already increased efforts to further improve its public school system. The state plans to use the funds to toughen standards for students and educators, construct a data warehouse and build a foundation for further educational improvements.

 

Gregory Dale

AFRO News Editor