Maryland's Race to the Top Plan
August 11, 2010
Good morning, my name is Martin O’Malley, I am the Governor of the State of Maryland, and on behalf of the nearly 844,000 students and the 5.75 million citizens whose economic futures depend on the quality of public education in Maryland, I want to thank you for the opportunity to present Maryland’s Race to the Top plan.
By any number of objective measures, the people of our State have, through their hard work, investments, and sound decisions, created over the last 20 years one of the best public school systems of any state in America. We are excited about Race to the Top because we believe with your support and partnership, we can lead the race to restore Public Education in the United States to the top of the world.
In Maryland’s Plan, we focus on great teachers and great leaders; high standards; robust and timely data systems; and the capacity to turn around under performing schools. With your support, Maryland’s Plan – in short order – will create a new data-driven platform for effective leadership and collaboration, improved performance, and higher student achievement across the entire educational mission. We are excited about our plan and think you will be as well.
If there is one theme we’d like to impress upon you it is this: Maryland is large enough to make a difference, we are small enough to make it happen, and – in the toughest of times -- we have a proven track record of setting goals, measuring performance, and delivering results in education reform and student achievement across all income levels and ethnic backgrounds of our diverse State.
In fact, our statewide student population is majority minority, and we see our diversity as our strength.
While there are only five of us on the panel before you, Maryland’s plan has had the benefit of a broad-base of stakeholder input – teachers and their union representatives from AFT and NEA, principals, our 24 district superintendents (and yes there are only 24); our State School board (which has more authority by statute than virtually any state board in the country); members of our higher education community from Johns Hopkins to the University of Maryland, and our partners from the business community through the Maryland Business Roundtable for Education.
In my brief opening, I would like to 1) introduce you to our panel while giving you a road map for our presentation and 2) give you a thumbnail sketch of Maryland’s Innovation Economy and the highly skilled and educated people I have the honor to serve in these challenging and transformational times.
First our panel:
- Dr. Nancy Grasmick is our State Superintendent of Education
- Dr. William Hite, is the Superintendent of Schools for Prince George’s County Schools one of our largest school districts – which along with Baltimore City, has seen some of the most dramatic improvements in student achievement over these last several years , and he will be presenting the impact of our plan from the perspective of a district Superintendent,…
- Dr. Jim Foran is project director of our Race to the Top application
- Dr. Colleen Seremet is the Assistant Superintendent for Instruction
I’ll wrap up with a parents perspective because I’m a dad, and that’s my job,…
Let me conclude this introduction by saying that in Maryland we agree whole-heartedly with President Obama’s assertion that, “America cannot lead in the 21st Century unless we also have the best educated, most competitive workforce in the world…”
Maryland’s Race to the Top
Maryland’s economy is an Innovation Economy. In fact, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce ranks Maryland’s economy as one of the top two States for innovation and entrepreneurship. Together we are making major commitments to the life sciences, green tech and cyber security. We have the advantage of a unique set of assets: some of the world’s leading institutions of higher learning, science, healing, and discovery; 58 federal agencies and facilities; Fortune 500 companies; more PHD’s per capita than any State in America; and, one of America’s most highly skilled workforces.
Because of our Innovation Economy, in Maryland we know that investments that improve the education of our children, are investments that expand economic opportunities for our entire State. Education Week Magazine has ranked Maryland’s schools number one in the nation for two years in a row. The Milkin Institute ranks Maryland #1 in America for investing in our “human capital” – the talents, skills, and education of our people. In times when virtually every state government has been forced to make record budget cuts and spending reductions, our State has chosen to make record investments in public education and school construction. And we have increased participation in STEM related AP courses by 65% over these last four years.
In Maryland, the education mission is performance driven.
Why? Because in Maryland we know that “the future is not a gift: it is an achievement.”
Your Race To The Top investment in Maryland will be an investment in America’s future.
It’s an investment in a State that has demonstrated time and again our commitment to excellence and equity.
A state that has codified important education reforms – including adequacy of funding -- into law.
A state that has been nationally recognized by numerous publications for measuring performance in government with openness and transparency.
A state with a proven track record of delivering results.
A state that leads the nation in innovation and public education.
And a state that can lead the way for all States in achieving for America’s children, an education that is truly world class.
A Parent’s Perspective
Let me talk about what this will mean for parents,… Our race to the top plan creates a new easy to access platform that will empower parents to find out instantly, in real-time over the internet, how their child is doing and how their child’s school is doing. Access will be available not only from home but importantly, from public libraries,… and training will be available to every Maryland parent.
Parents will be able to learn what their child’s school is doing to address challenges and whether their child’s school is improving.
They will be able to learn about wraparound services like afterschool programs, nutrition and health. They will be able to request a case manager to assist with things like eye and dental care, attendance, counseling and even lifelong fitness.
The bottom line is that parents will be invited into their child’s educational experience and given the opportunity to engage in more meaningful ways as the critically important and essential leader in driving student achievement and school performance.
Maryland is large enough to make a difference, small enough to make it happen, and we have a proven track record of setting goals, measuring performance, and delivering results in education reform and student achievement.
We won’t let you down – we are prepared in Maryland to lead the way in achieving, for America’s children, an education that is truly world class.
Thank you again for the opportunity to present our plan.