Governor O'Malley Addresses The State Board of Education
Governor calls for renewed efforts to adapt curricula, track progress, and recruit and retain world class educators
BALTIMORE, MD (February 24, 2009) – Governor Martin O’Malley addressed the Maryland State Board of Education today, where he applauded the State’s accomplishments leading to its national number one ranking by Education Week Magazine, and outlined the critical components necessary to making Maryland’s public school more competitive in an emerging global economy. The Governor’s remarks come just one week after launching Maryland’s first ever statewide teacher survey, and just days after announcing full funding of Maryland’s schools including 100 percent funding of GCEI and teacher pensions, and full funding of the Thornton Bridge to Excellence Plan in Maryland through fiscal year 2011.
“We’re proud to be home to America’s number one public school system, and working together, we can make Maryland’s schools a global leader,” said Governor O’Malley. “With the record state investments we’ve already made in public education, combined with federal funds from the Obama Recovery and Reinvestment Plan, and the feedback from engaging our professional educators on the challenges and opportunities for public education in Maryland, our State has positioned itself to serve as a national model to ensure every child receives a quality public education.”
In early January, Education Week Magazine ranked Maryland’s public schools number one in the nation. Shortly thereafter, the College Board ranked Maryland’s high schools number one in the nation for Advanced Placement participation and achievement.
Governor O’Malley highlighted several critical components necessary to making Maryland’s public schools competitive globally, including the improvement of college readiness for every high school student in Maryland, and the addition of environmental and financial literacy to the curricula in Maryland’s public education system that prepares students for today’s knowledge-based economy.
“As you know, there is a growing sentiment among our industry partners that schools nationwide aren’t providing the type of training necessary to grow our country’s global competitiveness in the knowledge-based economy, particularly in comparison to other countries,” Governor O’Malley told the members of the Board. “We need to improve Science, Technology, Engineering and Math or STEM education throughout our State. The keys to our American economic potential will likely rest in our ability to unlock, harness, and advance green technologies. I am therefore calling on you today to find new ways to add environmental literacy to our STEM strategy for today’s students and tomorrow’s careers.”
In 2007, Governor O’Malley created the P-20 Leadership Council charged the Council with better aligning Maryland’s education systems with workforce demands. The Council was established to create an integrated statewide system to better prepare Maryland students for the jobs of the 21st century while enhancing the State’s economic competitiveness by creating a workforce with 21st century skills. This integration includes an emphasis on Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Education, and Career Technology Education (CTE).
“As we grow as a State – and as we age as a State – we’re facing some skills gaps in several sectors of our economy for which CTE can make a significant impact,” said Governor O’Malley. “In health care alone, we are anticipating a shortage of 10,000 nurses by 2016. And we project that more than 7,400 health care sector positions will come open each year which could be filled by students with an Associates Degree – or in many cases a high school diploma – if we do our part to help them acquire the requisite skills and training.”
In addition to calling for these developments in Maryland’s curricula, Governor O’Malley called on the Board of Education to develop a comprehensive performance measurement system that tracks student achievement and development from Kindergarten through higher education institutions. Ultimately, Governor O’Malley recognized that student achievement is directly related to the retention and recruitment of quality educators.
“With our Teacher Survey and the investments we’re making to protect teacher pensions, we’re already making important strides to recruit and retain teachers, but we can do even better. I firmly believe that good principals are teacher magnates. We will only be able to attract and retain the best teachers for our best-in-the-nation public school system if we grow our efforts on principals,” Governor O’Malley said.
Since the passage of the Thornton Bridge to Excellence Plan, State funding for local school systems has increased by $1.97 billion dollars, a 76-percent increase. Governor O’Malley proposed a record $5.4 billion funding level for FY2010 despite difficult economic times. In addition, for the first time ever, Maryland will have invested more than $1 billion in school construction funding over a three year period, including over $260 million proposed for FY2010 alone.