Governor Martin O'Malley today hosted the "Better Choices, Better Results Forum -- Education" -- the second in a series of statewide forums aimed at fostering an ongoing, collaborative dialogue on the O'Malley-Brown Administration's efforts to strengthen the middle class by pursuing its strategic goals. During the event, stakeholders from across the state engaged in a roundtable discussion about the better choices made, measuring progress and delivering results to strengthen and grow Maryland's middle class and create a better, stronger Maryland for our children.
"One of the most important things we can do to strengthen the middle class is to provide every Maryland child with the opportunity to get a great education -- that's why we made the choice to invest in education, even in tough times," said Governor Martin O'Malley. "That investment is paying dividends with better results: we have had the number one rated public schools in the country for five straight years, eight out of ten children are entering Kindergarten ready to learn and we've made college affordable by holding tuition for our public colleges and universities to the lowest levels in the nation."
This forum highlighted key education initiatives, showed Maryland's progress on early childhood education, college and career readiness and college affordability, and fostered an ongoing dialogue to lay out a vision to sustain and continue to grow Maryland's number one public education system into the future.
Recent Advanced Placement data shows that Maryland continues to make progress on our goal to prepare students for college and career. This week, the U.S. Department of Education announced Eleven Maryland schools have earned a prestigious 2013 National Blue Ribbon designation. And working together with Maryland's hard working educators, Maryland has made more progress on low-income student achievement than any other state in the nation.
"Maryland is fully committed to raising the bar for our students, preparing them for the world that awaits beyond their high school doors," said State Superintendent of Schools Lillian M. Lowery. "Strong instruction based on higher standards means a better future for our graduates and our communities."
With better choices, the O'Malley-Brown Administration has built what Education Week magazine says is the best public school system in America for the fifth year in a row. These better choices are leading to better results. Eight out of 10 of our youngest students are entering Kindergarten ready to learn compared to five out of 10 a decade ago. Maryland's elementary school students have raised their MSA scores nearly 40 percent in both reading and math, and our middle school students have increased their MSA scores in math by more than 80 percent. What's more, Maryland's high school students have been ranked number one in the nation in AP success for seven consecutive years and are graduating at the highest rate in our State's history. In addition, alone among the 50 states, Maryland froze in-state tuition at state colleges and universities four years in a row and has held tuition increases to the lowest in the nation for more than five years. We also invested more in public education, more in innovation, and more in infrastructure than ever before in our State's history.