For the fourth year in a row, Maryland’s public schools we’re ranked number one in the country by Education Week magazine. (Massachusetts, New York, and Virgina were second, third, and fourth.)
Gov. Martin O’Malley credits his continued spending on education with the state’s gold medal finish and is hoping that the ranking will justify borrowing $370 million for new school construction in the next budget year.
But the ranking isn’t that simple. We may have been number one over all, but we were third in teaching and achievement and seventh in financing. In “standards, assessment and accountability” we were twenty-fourth. (Remember, there are only fifty states!) Not only that, but one of the categories is average family income, which favors an affluent state like Maryland and is not in itself a measure of education quality.
And considering Maryland’s public schools as just one big mass may be inappropriate given that there exists a wide achievement gap between between counties and across race.
But it raises the question, how should a a diverse state like ours be evaluating our progress in education?