State Department of Education
Park Elementary School, 201 East 11th Ave., Brooklyn Park, Maryland, August 2010. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.
One of the primary education journals in the nation, Education Week in 2011 ranked Maryland the number one public school system in America for the third straight year ("Quality Counts" surveys: 2009, 2010, 2011). Maryland also led the nation in Newsweek Magazine's 2010 "America's Best High Schools" issue. Maryland ranked first for the second year in a row, with 53% of the State's high schools making the list, up from 29.5% of schools in 2009. Ranking is based on student participation in Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate tests.
Margaret Brent Elementary School, 100 East 26th St., Baltimore, Maryland, July 2009. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.
On national tests, Maryland students consistently excel. In 2010, Maryland students ranked first in the nation on Advanced Placement (AP) Exams for the third year in a row. The standard is based on the percentage of students taking the AP exam, as well as the percentage of those students who score a 3 or higher, out of 5. Some 24.6% of the 2010 graduating class took and passed at least one content exam. This is compared to the nationwide average of 16.9%. In Maryland, the best performance came from Montgomery County, with 66% of the graduating class taking the exam, and 46% passing.
Severna Park Elementary School, 6 Riggs Ave., Severna Park, Maryland, September 2009. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.
In Maryland, public education is a responsibility shared by State, county and Baltimore City government. The State Board of Education sets educational standards, certifies teachers, partially funds school construction and instruction, and monitors school performance. The Board also oversees the State Department of Education. County boards of education often set additional requirements, develop new programs, and provide substantial local funding. Local, State and federal funds combined to provide $11.4 billion for Maryland public schools with an average cost per pupil of $12,509 in the 2008-09 school year. In 2010, Maryland was one of eight states awarded additional federal grants for education in round two of the Race to the Top program.
Baltimore School for the Arts, 712 Cathedral St., Baltimore, Maryland July 2009. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.
The Maryland school year is a minimum 180 days long. Schools are open for a ten-month period, from about Labor Day to mid-June. Opening and closing dates vary from county to county. Kindergarten is mandatory for children who are five years of age by September 1. The State also requires that children, ages 5 to 16, attend school. Elementary and middle school students attend school at least 6 hours a day, high school students 6.5 hours a day. Students may attend school up to age 21.
In September 2008, for prekindergarten through high school, 843,861 students enrolled in 1,459 public schools, and 131,315 students enrolled at 1,395 private schools. Public high schools graduated 59,002 students in 2009. Those intending to continue their education: 79.8% (75.3% in a college or university, 4.5% in a trade or business school); to work: 14.9%; to enter military service: 3.9%.
Paul Laurence Dunbar Middle School, 500 North Caroline St., Baltimore, Maryland, April 2008. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.
More stringent requirements for graduation from high school were set by the State in 1992. Credits required were increased from 20 to 21. General requirements were replaced with particular courses, or courses with specific content. Fewer credits were reserved for electives (nonrequired courses chosen by students). Beginning with the graduating class of 2009, students must take and pass the Maryland High School Assessment exams in algebra and data analysis, biology, english, and government in order to graduate. They also must perform 75 hours of volunteer community service approved by the State.
Prettyboy Elementary School, 19810 Middletown Road, Freeland (Baltimore County), Maryland, July 2006. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.
Special Public School Programs. These cover prekindergarten for four-year olds; and career and technology education, including consumer and homemaking classes. Gifted and talented programs also are offered by the State, on a tuition basis, at summer centers for students who qualify academically, meet geographical distribution requirements, and are able to pay the cost.
Special education services for students with disabilities range from aid for part or all of a school day to specialized services for homebound students or those in separate facilities or hospitals. Within the State Department of Education, the Division of Special Education and Early Intervention Services administers both State and federal programs for special education.
Brooklyn Park Middle School, 200 Hammonds Lane, Brooklyn Park (Anne Arundel County), Maryland, January 2004. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.
© Copyright May 09, 2011 Maryland State Archives
Maryland Manual On-Line, 2011
August 9, 2011
Note: In this past edition of Maryland Manual, some links are to external sites. View the current Manual