Governor Martin O'Malley today, joined by students, educators and other officials, visited the Academy of Health Sciences, an innovative early college high school in partnership with Prince George's County Public Schools and Prince George's Community College, to highlight the Administration's Early College Innovation Fund passed in the 2013 legislative session.
The Administration remains committed to increasing access to postsecondary education and helping students obtain credentials that position them to compete for jobs in growing sectors of Maryland's economy like cybersecurity, biotechnology, and life sciences. The Early College Innovation Fund serves to encourage the development of early college access programs that provide accelerated pathways for students seeking career and technical education (CTE) or training in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) disciplines.
"Maryland's economy is an Innovation Economy, Prince George's Community College is an Innovation school, and Prince George's County Public Schools are innovation leaders. The Early College Innovation Fund will support accelerated pathways for students seeking CTE or STEM training while increasing access to postsecondary education and allowing our children to obtain the skills they need to be competitive in a 21st century global economy," said Governor O'Malley. "Working together with our educators and academic partners, parents and students, we can make the better choices to invest in our children's future by giving them the tools they need for the jobs of tomorrow."
The Academy of Health Sciences is the state's most successful model for early college high school. Upon graduation, each student earns both a high school diploma and an associate's degree.
"Governor O'Malley is the nation's leader on college affordability. This year, Maryland became the first state in the nation to guarantee hardworking high school students college credit paid for by local school systems. It's a game changer for middle and low income families. And Prince George's, with the Academy of Health Sciences at the Community College and College Park Academy, where students will earn University of Maryland credits, is the leader in Maryland," said Senator Jim Rosapepe, a member of the Senate Education Subcommittee and former member of the University System of Maryland Board of Regents.
"We are dedicated to giving our sons and daughters the freedom to excel," said Delegate Jolene Ivey, a member of the Education Subcommittee of the House Ways and Means Committee and Chair of the House Prince George's Delegation. "Children who get an early start with STEM subjects can shoot for the stars. The Early College Innovation program is the rocket fuel."
"We have had incredible success in creating early college opportunities for County high school students through an innovative partnership between the Prince George's Community College and the Prince George's County Public School system," said Prince George's County Executive Rushern L. Baker, III. "I want to thank Governor O'Malley for taking the time to come and see this fantastic program firsthand. His commitment to ensuring that our state has a top flight education system is unwavering. I believe our children can achieve anything when they put their minds to it. This program is about expanding opportunity and exposure. I want to see more students in our schools exposed to opportunities like this."
The Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) will generate competitive grants to fund partnerships of local school systems and higher education institutions to create early college high schools or other forms of early college access. The support would bridge funding intended to help eligible partnerships bear some of the start-up costs associated with creating new early college programs. Priority would be given to proposals that launch early college high schools (also known as "middle colleges") focused on CTE or STEM and that provide students with credentials (in the form of degrees, certificates, and certifications, as appropriate) in fields for which there is high-demand in Maryland.
The O'Malley-Brown Administration has set the goal to Increase Student Achievement and College and Career Readiness in Maryland by 25 percent by the End of 2015. The State of Maryland is also working toward the goal to ensure that at least 55 percent of Maryland's adults age 25 to 64 will hold at least an associate's degree by the year 2025. For an unprecedented five years in a row, Maryland's schools have been named #1 in the nation by Education Week Magazine. In 2012, Maryland elementary school students achieved their highest MSA scores ever in both reading and math. Maryland middle school students achieved their highest scores ever in math. According to the College Board, Maryland students have ranked #1 in AP success for seven consecutive years. Maryland students are graduating at a record rate, according to data from the class of 2011.
Maryland is the first state in the nation to set specific STEM education standards.