Maryland: Working in Education in Maryland

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Based on data from the past two years, Education Week magazine ranked Maryland's public school system the best in the country. The magazine based Maryland's ranking on student performance and state education policies surrounding pre K-12 curriculum, accountability, standards, school readiness, high school reform, and preparation for college and the workplace.

According to the Digest of Education Statistics, Maryland spent $10,909 per student for the 2005-2006 school year. Across the United States the expenditure per student was $9,154 for the same period.

Teacher's Aides

The Baltimore Teachers Union recently extended its career ladder to paraprofessionals who have only a high school education. This may be the first para-to-teacher program in the country that enrolls participants with no postsecondary education. The school board pays all tuition, books, and fees for either an associate or bachelor's degree. Each participant must pay a one-time $50 fee, maintain good academic standing, and make a three-year commitment to teaching special education.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the mean annual wage for teaching assistants in Maryland in May 2008 was $25,360, higher than the nationwide mean of $23,560.

Curriculum/Instruction and Technology

Maryland has developed its own assessments and science standards. The Maryland School Performance Assessment Program involves a week of testing every year for third, fifth, and eighth graders. Rather than compartmentalizing reading, writing, math, and science, the assessments test for multiple abilities at the same time.

The Maryland State Department of Education operates a virtual learning program designed to give students access to challenging curricula though online courses. In addition to having a virtual school, Maryland offers a computer-based assessment and requires technology testing for teachers.

Educational Management

The report Maryland Task Force on the Principalship: Recommendations for Redefining the Role of the Principal; Recruiting, Retaining, and Rewarding Principals concludes that:

  • Principals must be given sufficient staff and support and the power to use staffing as needed to build an effective leadership team.
  • Comprehensive, job-embedded programs are needed for the identification and professional development of current and prospective principals.
  • Local school systems need to adjust the salary and compensation of principals to better reflect their responsibilities.

The Division for Leadership Development of the Maryland State Department of Education aims to build the capacity of present and potential school leaders to increase student achievement. Another way Maryland works to improve educational leadership is by participating in national programs that are authorized to certify nontraditional administrators.

The U.S. Department of Education named two Maryland principals as recipients of the Terrel H. Bell Award for Outstanding School Leadership in 2009. Only eight principals nationwide received the award; Maryland was the only state with two honorees.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the estimated mean wage for preschool and childcare administrators in Maryland in May 2008 was $51,130, exceeding the nationwide mean of $46,370. For elementary and secondary administrators the mean was $93,460, which was higher than the nationwide mean of $86,060.

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