Expanding Educational Opportunity in Maryland

March 2017 / Abell-Supported Research / Education
kids at computers
An Abell-funded report by the Maryland Center on Economic Policy that examines the role of funding formulas in increasing equity.

Maryland delivers some of the highest-quality education in the country by some measures, and yet too many students still see their educational opportunities limited based solely on where they live. This is because our investments in education have not kept pace with the standards we expect students to meet, and these investments are not distributed equitably among school districts.

It is essential for Maryland children and for our economy that we provide schools across our state with the resources they need to deliver a first-rate education. When students have access to high-quality public schools, they are better prepared to succeed in college, find good jobs, and fully participate in their communities—and research shows that a well-educated workforce means a stronger economy for everyone.

A new report by the Maryland Center on Economic Policy, supported by the Abell Foundation, shows that Maryland has an opportunity to improve the way we fund education through the current review process of Maryland’s school finance system.

The report identifies two major shortcomings in Maryland’s school finance system:

  • Our total state investment in education is not sufficient to provide all students an excellent education. Maryland education funding currently falls short of the standard set in the last school reform process by $1 billion per year, and it would take nearly $3 billion to meet the standards we hold our students to today.
  • Our current school funding formula does not deliver adequate resources to the districts with the greatest needs. Districts with lower incomes, more students of color, and more students with disabilities are not as well equipped as other districts to provide a high-quality education.

The report recommends four specific changes to the funding formulas that will help correct these shortcomings, and also highlights the need to significantly increase overall state investment in education.