By Martin O'Malley, Governor
Today, Education Week announced that Maryland's public school system ranks first in the nation among all 50 states. This tremendous achievement is a tribute to the students, teachers, and parents who, in response to the increased investments made by all Marylanders, continue to achieve at unprecedented levels.
Since the passage of the Thornton Bridge to Excellence Plan, we have worked together as One Maryland to increase state funding for local school systems by more than $2 billion, an 82 percent increase. Last year, the State of Maryland invested an historic $5.3 billion in public education, including a $740 million investment school construction to begin to replace temporary learning shacks with state-of-the-art classrooms. In addition, we were able to hold the line on in-state college tuition at a zero percent increase for a third consecutive year, making higher education more accessible and more affordable for Maryland's families.
Each year, Education Week issues an education report card that includes an overall letter grade for each of the 50 states plus the District of Columbia. Grades span six categories, including transitions and alignment; school finance; K-12 achievement; standards, assessments, and accountability; and the teaching profession. Maryland ranked number one in transitions and alignment policies, which measures a State's ability to connect the K-12 education system with early learning, higher education and the workforce. Maryland earned a grade of 100 for early-childhood education, a grade of 90 for college readiness, and a grade of 100 for the economy and the workforce.
Today's announcement of our best public education system in the nation compliments other national rankings. Last year the Milken Institute ranked Maryland at number two nationwide for technology economy preparedness, and ranked Maryland first in the nation for human capital investment. But these continued accomplishments are not inevitable.
Now more than ever, even in these difficult times, we must continue to protect our investments in public education to ensure that every child receives a world class education and a better future. The people of Maryland are our greatest asset and our continued economic strength depends upon our ability to invest in them, and prepare our children today for the jobs of tomorrow.