2017 PPI Score
School Choice Score: 62%
Maryland’s Broadening Options and Opportunities for Students Today (BOOST) Program was enacted in 2016 and began providing vouchers in 2016–17. This school choice program, the state’s first, provides vouchers to low-income students to attend private schools.
Charter Schools Score: 0%
Maryland has one of the weakest charter school laws in the nation due to large amounts of control from local districts.
The only entities that can authorize charter schools in Maryland are local public-school districts. These districts show outright hostility towards charter schools and micromanage them to the point where charters cease to be innovative bodies that can produce results for students. Charters face outward hostilities from boards, are micromanaged, operationally limited, poorly funded and are not even allowed to hire their own principals and staff to ensure success under their model.
Maryland has earned an F in CER’s recent charter school law rankings. Maryland earned an F because Charter schools in Maryland are dependent on school districts in order to be authorized and must negotiate with their districts in order to have exemptions from any regulations and be autonomous entities.
- Fast Facts
- Law Passed: 2003
- Number of Charter Schools: 51
- Estimated Charter School Enrollment: 23,500 (up 24percent from 2015-16)
- No Caps on Charter Schools
- Virtual Charter Schools Prohibited
- Charter Schools are allowed to contract with EMOs and CMOs for management purposes
- Maryland earned one out of fifteen points for authorizers. The only entities that can authorize charter schools in Maryland are local public school districts. Districts make bad authorizers because in authorizing charter schools, they are authorizing their competition. This means that they are very likely not to authorize schools that would represent real competition or regulate charter schools to the point where they cease to become truly innovative options for students.
- Maryland earned one point out of fifteen for growth. While Maryland does not technically have a cap on the number of charter schools that can be authorized, school boards have wide discretion to limit the ability for charter schools to be authorized whenever they want to for whatever reasons they want to, which is a functional cap. Additionally the regulatory environment in Maryland is such that charter schools are not growing which hurt Maryland’s score as well.
- Maryland earned a three out of twenty for operations. Charters in Maryland are subject to the same regulations that all other schools are subject to. Charters can appeal to waive these requirements to the state board. Charter schools thrive based on their ability to be innovative and do things that traditional public schools cannot. When charter schools are treated in the exact same way they can’t perform this function in this way which means that they can’t be as effective as they ought to be for students. Additionally, Charter schools are subject to the existing collective bargaining agreement for teachers unless exemptions are made in charters. Without these exemptions charter schools in Maryland are often hamstrung with staffing decisions and do not have the ability to act as autonomously as they need to be effective. Additionally, Charter school teachers must be certified in the same manner that traditional public school teachers are. The sole effect of this policy is that it prevents individuals who have not gone through the bureaucratic measures of teacher certification from working with students even if the charter schools thinks they are the right individual for the job.
Maryland earned a four out of fifteen for funding. A 2007 Maryland Court of Appeals ruling reaffirmed the State Board of Education’s decision that the law requires charter students be funded in a “commensurate” manner and at the same level as traditional public schools. Funding is decided first by the school districts, which do not always respond favorably to charter schools, and as a result, inequity still persists.
Online Learning Score: 75%
This considerably limits access, eligibility, and the quality and quantity of providers of digital content. Maryland’s online course enrollments have dramatically risen from 647 during the 2011-12 school year to 4,530 in the 2012-13 school year. Additionally, the numbers of approved online courses grew from 74 to 93 courses.
Teacher Quality Score: 68%
Delivering Well Prepared Teachers D
Expanding the Pool of Teachers C-
Identifying Effective Teachers C-
Retaining Effective Teachers C
Exiting Ineffective Teachers F