For the fourth year in a row, Education Week has ranked Maryland the top state for education policy and performance. After being marked on overall student achievement and for how equitably it allocates funds to different schools, the state earned an overall grade of B+ compared to the national average of C.
The rankings by Education Week have been promoted by Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley, who has pushed for increased investment in education over the past decade, writes Liz Bowie at the Baltimore Sun.
"Each year, Quality Counts provides new results for a portion of the policy and performance categories that constitute the framework for the report's State of the States analysis," writes Amy M. Hightower at Education Week.
"For 2012, the nation as a whole earns a C for school financeâ¦ Seven states—Connecticut, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Wyoming—earn the top grade of B-plus for school finance; four states receive a D, the lowest grade."
And overall, considering the Chance-for-Success Index, the K-12 Achievement Index, school finance, the broader educational environment, school performance, and the level and equity of school funding, Maryland is the top-ranked state for the fourth year in a row.
"School finance has been an anchor for us. We do have an equitable funding formula," interim state schools Superintendent Bernard J. Sadusky said.
The state received an A for its early education programs and for preparing students for college and jobs after graduation.
Maryland was also commended for its percentage of students who do well on Advanced Placement tests.
Nothing less than first was acceptable for Sadusky:
"If it had been two, five or seven, my picture would have been on the bulletin board, and I would have been out of here."
Sadusky was appointed interim superintendent in the summer after the state school board began its quest for a replacement for Nancy S. Grasmick, who held the job for two decades.
Sadusky said that while he and his staff were delighted with the result, the state still had much work to do, referring to the fact that Maryland has the greatest gap of any state in the nation in math achievement between poor students and those who don't qualify for the subsidized lunch program, writes Bowie.
"Students who graduate from Maryland public schools should be prepared for the jobs that are available and for college," he said.