Maryland State Department of Education

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Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) is a division of the state government of Maryland in the United States. The agency oversees public school districts. The agency is headquartered at 200 West Baltimore Street (off North Liberty Street/Hopkins Place, just west of Charles Center) in downtown Baltimore in the newly renamed "Nancy Grasmick Building", after Nancy Grasmick, the most recent long-serving state superintendent of schools.[1]

Jack R. Smith is the current interim Superintendent of the Department, having been appointed to that post by the State Board of Education following the resignation of Superintendent Lillian M. Lowery in September, 2015.[2] Lowery had served as Superintendent since July, 2012.[3]

The first superintendent of schools for the State of Maryland was authorized in the 1860s by the Maryland General Assembly. The office continued to be supplemented later with the creation of a State Board of Education to supervise the various levels of activity in public education among the various 23 counties of Maryland which had widely different situations, funding levels and growing opportunities for the elementary/grammar schools, intermediate/junior high/middle schools and high schools/secondary education, with Baltimore City (public schools authorized 1826 and opened 1829, high school opened 1839, African-American schools authorized 1867, polytechnic/technical schools founded-1883, junior highs instituted in 1920, neighborhood comprehensive high schools opened-1922, vocational-technical schools established 1920s, middle schools organized-1980s) and Baltimore County also leading the way. These were later joined by Montgomery and Prince George's Counties as the Washington, D.C. suburban region reached out into Maryland. By the 1970s, with the acceptance of various constitutional amendments to the old 1867 Constitution of Maryland, from the various articles and sections submitted to the voters in various referendums after the failure of the proposed 1967 Constitution proposed by the recent 1966 constitutional convention which was held to modernize the old 1867 charter, contained provisions to set up an executive cabinet-level Department of Education for the State, along with the revamped structure of state government under the governorship of Marvin Mandel.

In 2009, the Maryland state public schools system was ranked #1 in the nation, overall, as a result of three separate, independent studies conducted by Education Week, Newsweek, and MGT of America.[4][5][6] "Education Week" has ranked Maryland public education #1 in the nation for two years in a row, since 2008. "Education Week", the nation’s leading education newspaper, looked at data in six critical categories over the past two years, and placed Maryland’s state education system at the very top of national rankings. Maryland placed at the top of the list in "Education Week"’s annual “Quality Counts” tally, with the nation’s only B+ average. The new report found that no other state has a more consistent record of excellence than Maryland. Results for the State were above average in all six of the broad grade categories, and ranked in the top seven in five of the six categories. According to "Newsweek" magazine, Maryland public schools rank first in the nation in the percentage of high schools offering—and students taking—college-level courses. The College Board ranked Maryland's public schools system, first in the nation amongst students earning a score of three or higher on national AP exams.[7][8] The state budget for education was $5.5 billion in 2009.[9]

School assessment[edit]

The Maryland School Assessment (MSA) is a test of reading and math meeting NCLB requirements. Grades 3-8 are tested in math and reading, and grades 5 and 8 are tested in science.[10] However, Maryland is field testing the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers this spring that are made specifically for the Common Core State Standards Initiative. Maryland plans to end usage of MSA and expand the PARCC Assessment the following year.[11] [12]


  1. ^ "Home." Maryland State Department of Education. Retrieved on July 5, 2015. "200 West Baltimore Street, Baltimore, MD 21201-2595"
  2. ^ Maryland schools superintendent announces resignation (Washington Post article-August 28, 2015)
  3. ^ Lillian Lowery named Maryland state superintendent of schools (Baltimore Sun article-April, 20, 2012)
  4. ^ [1][dead link]
  5. ^ Best High Schools 2009: The Top States. Newsweek (2009-06-15). Retrieved on 2011-03-04.
  6. ^ Hernandez, Nelson (2009-01-08). "State Public School System Ranked Best in U.S. by 2 Reports". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2010-05-12. 
  7. ^ Maryland Ranks #1 in the Nation on Advanced Placement Exams for Participation and Performance
  8. ^ Toppo, Greg (2010-02-04). "Maryland makes huge strides in Advanced Placement". USA Today. Retrieved 2010-05-12. 
  9. ^ "Slicing education?". The Gazette. The Gazette. 2009-11-05. pp. A–9. 
  10. ^ Education, Maryland Department of (2003). "Overview". Retrieved 2009-04-25. 
  11. ^ "Maryland | PARCC". 
  12. ^ Garriss, Kirsten. "MSA Test Changes Concern Some Parents". Retrieved 17 March 2014. 

External links[edit]