Maryland State Department of Education

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Maryland State Department of Education
Agency overview
Headquarters Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.
Agency executive
  • Dr. Karen B. Salmon, Superintendent

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, who served as state superintendent of schools from 1991 to 2011.[1]

Jack R. Smith served as interim Superintendent of the Department until resigning to accept appointment as Superintendent of the Montgomery County Public Schools in June, 2016.[2] Smith was appointed to as interim Superintendent by the State Board of Education following the resignation of Superintendent Lillian M. Lowery in September, 2015.[3] Lowery had served as Superintendent since July, 2012.[4]

The first superintendent of schools for the State of Maryland was authorized in the 1865, by the Maryland General Assembly under the third and revolutionary Maryland Constitution of 1864 ratified briefly under the Unionist / Radical Republican Party then in power in the state during the American Civil War. 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 by the state in 1826 and finally opened by the city in 1829 with four schools (2 boys and 2 girls), later a high school for boys only, known as "The High School" opened 1839, (third oldest public high school in America - oldest in the region and state - "The Baltimore City College" - later nicknamed "City" or "City College") - renamed unofficially as the Male High School in 1844 with the opening of two public high schools for girls, Eastern and Western, then known as "Central High School of Baltimore" for 20 years and finally renamed B.C.C. in 1868. a "Negro" / "Colored" (now African-American) elementary schools authorized 1867,after a long controversy and public demand by the free black population, supplemented in 1883 by a "Colored High School" - second oldest in the nation (later renamed Frederick Douglass High School in 1925. Then "polytechnical" / schools for "manual training" founded that same year of 1883, with the "Baltimore Manual Training School" (later renamed 1893 as the "Baltimore 88i8 Institute" ["Poly"]). A second high school for Negroes was established in 1910 and no on the next decade and renamed the Paul Laurence High School for East Baltimore. A new nationally popular lower form of secondary education with junior high schools for lower grades 7, 8 and 9, were instituted in 1920. Supplementing the four academic citywide single sex schools, then were neighborhood comprehensive "co-educational" ("co-ed") high schools opened-1922, (Forest Park High School. New types of vocational-technical schools established in the 1920s, reorganized and reconstructed in 1955 with George Washington Carver Vocational-Technical High School and the merger of several previous institutions as Merganthaler Vocational-Technical High School. The junior high schools were reorganized into middle schools lowered to include grades 6, 7, and 8 in the early 1980s and surrounding suburban Baltimore County also leading the way along with Anne Arundel County to the south. Then rural sparsely populated Baltimore County instituted small one-room schools in wood-frame buildings beginning in the 1850s, supplementing the original colonial era "free schools" nominally established with only one in each of the counties. Baltimore County was second in the state with the first and only public high school in the newly purchased old Franklin Academy in Reisterstown as Franklin High School in the 1850s. Followed by secondary schools in the county seat of Towson. This slow growth of public education was later joined by Montgomery and Counties as the Washington, D.C. suburban region began reaching out into surrounding Maryland following World War II. By the 1970s, with the acceptance of various constitutional amendments to the old fourth and last / current 1867 Constitution of Maryland, from the various articles and sections submitted to the voters in various referendums after the failure of the newly revised 1967 Constitution proposed by the recent 1966 constitutional convention which was held to modernize the old 1867 Civil War era 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, who reorganized the Maryland structure using the best of the 1966-1967 Constitutional elements by pushing them through "piece-meal" passed by the state legislature (of whom he was a long-time leader) im the late 1960s and early 1970s.

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.[5][6][7] "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.[8][9] The state budget for education was $5.5 billion in 2009.[10]

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.[11] 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.[12] [13]


  1. ^ "Home." Maryland State Department of Education. Retrieved on July 5, 2015. "200 West Baltimore Street, Baltimore, MD 21201-2595"
  2. ^ New superintendent hopes to improve high-performing school system (Washington Post article-June 28, 2016)
  3. ^ Maryland schools superintendent announces resignation (Washington Post article-August 28, 2015)
  4. ^ Lillian Lowery named Maryland state superintendent of schools (Baltimore Sun article-April, 20, 2012)
  5. ^ [1][dead link]
  6. ^ Best High Schools 2009: The Top States. Newsweek (2009-06-15). Retrieved on 2011-03-04.
  7. ^ Hernandez, Nelson (2009-01-08). "State Public School System Ranked Best in U.S. by 2 Reports". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2010-05-12. 
  8. ^ Maryland Ranks #1 in the Nation on Advanced Placement Exams for Participation and Performance
  9. ^ Toppo, Greg (2010-02-04). "Maryland makes huge strides in Advanced Placement". USA Today. Retrieved 2010-05-12. 
  10. ^ "Slicing education?". The Gazette. The Gazette. 2009-11-05. pp. A–9. 
  11. ^ Education, Maryland Department of (2003). "Overview". Retrieved 2009-04-25. 
  12. ^ "Maryland | PARCC". 
  13. ^ Garriss, Kirsten. "MSA Test Changes Concern Some Parents". Retrieved 17 March 2014. 

External links[edit]