High Cost of Progress in Maryland Schools

ANGELA PASCOPELLA's picture
Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Maryland schools are spending a fortune to raise achievement — $60,000 for each additional student who becomes proficient. It's too high a price for the results we have been getting. We need to do better.

Between 2003 and 2009, Maryland increased school funding by nearly 50 percent, or more than $3.5 billion a year. The impact can be measured by the National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP). Fourth- and eighth-graders in each state are tested in reading and math. Proficiency on these tests is, according to the Baltimore-based Annie E. Casey Foundation, the clearest indicator of whether a student has the minimum skills needed to succeed in the international economy.

The percentages of Maryland students achieving proficiency have increased. However, the cost per additional proficient student ranged from $35,000 in fourth-grade math to $136,000 in eighth-grade math.

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