Maryland State Department of Education

MSDE Bulletin

Keeping You Current on Education Reform in Maryland

October 11, 2000 Vol. 11, No. 12

Teacher Shortage Likely to Grow

The Maryland State Board of Education has been told that previous projections of future teacher needs made by the State Department of Education remain true and that for Fall 2001, a record annual number approaching 10,350 teachers must be hired by state public schools to start that school year.
That figure, revealed in the annual Maryland Teacher Staffing Report, 2000-2002, is approximately 1,600 more teachers than the record of approximately 8,710 new teachers that were hired to start the current school year. The 10,350 projection is more than double the number of new teachers needed just five years ago to start the 1996-97 school year (4,588). Reasons for the rapid increase include the unusually large number of teachers eligible to retire, rising enrollment, increasing efforts to reduce class size thereby requiring more teachers and the number of teachers dropping out of the profession.
For the past several years, the state has been developing programs to recruit new teachers and keep current teachers in the system.
"Our staff has done an outstanding job to help us anticipate these needs, and we hope that many of the programs we have enacted over the past few years will start to bear fruit in producing not just more teachers for our system, but top-quality teachers," said State Superintendent of Schools Nancy S. Grasmick. "We have programs to keep some of our best teachers working even after they were eligible to retire. We have aggressively moved to put mentoring programs in place to help young teachers and keep them from getting discouraged during their early years in a most challenging profession. And we have scholarship programs in place that commit students to teach in Maryland schools after they graduate. We have great hope that this forethought will make a difference as our school systems work to fill next year's vacancies."
To allow systems to take advantage of these programs, the State Board certified all 24 school systems as having teacher shortages. It also declared the following content fields as critical shortage areas: Art; agriculture; computer science; English for speakers of other languages (ESOL); Spanish; mathematics; Earth/space science, physical science and physics; and six areas of special education.
Of continued concern is the number of teacher candidates produced by Maryland's 22 colleges that offer teacher education programs. The 1999-2000 graduating classes from these schools produced 2,550 teacher candidates, a four-percent decrease over the previous year and far short of the number of teachers needed by state schools.

"We hope that many of the programs we have enacted over the past few years will start to bear fruit in producing not just more teachers for our system, but top-quality teachers."
- Nancy S. Grasmick
Superintendent of Schools

Dr. Grasmick Wins McGraw Prize

Maryland State Superintendent of Schools Nancy S. Grasmick has been awarded the prestigious Harold W. McGraw, Jr. Prize in Education that is given annually to recognize individuals who have shown an extraordinary commitment to improve education.
"The real recognition goes to the Maryland team of education administrators, teachers, parents, community and state leaders who have worked so diligently to improve teaching and learning at all levels in our state," said Dr. Grasmick in accepting the award in New York City on Sept. 26.
Dr. Grasmick said she plans to donate the $25,000 gift to charities and scholarship funds that benefit young people in Maryland.
Recipients must have displayed a sense of innovation in attempting to creatively change, improve or enhance a specific area of education. Dr. Grasmick joins a distinguished list of honorees including U.S. Secretary of Education Richard Riley; former First Lady Barbara Bush; former governor of Colorado and current Los Angeles Superintendent of Schools Roy Romer; and North Carolina Governor Jim Hunt.
This year's other recipients were Sanford I. Weill, chairman and chief executive officer of Citigroup, Inc., and Rod Paige, superintendent of the Houston Independent School District.
The awards were presented by Harold W. McGraw, Jr., chairman emeritus of The McGraw-Hill Companies.

Maryland Seeks Efficiency in Baldrige

State, 6 Local Systems Hope to Maximize Resources
The pursuit of State Superintendent of Schools Nancy S. Grasmick to make the Maryland State Department of Education and the local school systems more efficient is beginning to take shape as MSDE and six local systems are set to begin participation in the Baldrige in Education Initiative.
MSDE and the local school systems in Baltimore County, Carroll, Howard, Kent, Montgomery and Wicomico will begin adopting some of the best practices of efficiency as endorsed by the Baldrige initiative. Maryland is one of six states selected through a competitive process to participate in the program that is a national partnership of 24 business and education organizations managed by the National Alliance of Business and the American Productivity and Quality Center.
Congress created the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award 11 years ago to recognize best practices from some of America's high-performing companies and share those ideas among the business community. In 1999, the program was expanded to school systems.
"We feel fortunate to be chosen as one of the original Baldrige education states and we are intent on making the most of this opportunity," said Dr. Grasmick. "There are countless ways school systems can apply Baldrige Criteria to operate more efficiently. In turn, this will help increase the achievements of school reform by maximizing our resources. Baldrige is all about taking the high ideals developed in boardrooms and turning them into performance excellence in the classroom. That is exactly what we have aimed to accomplish in Maryland schools."
The Baldrige program works to align state and local education programs through consistent strategies that focus on setting goals, tracking progress and making continuous improvements over time. The initiative develops opportunities for business and education leaders to forge long-term partnerships.

Dropout Conference

Dropout Conference Draws a Crowd

Nearly 1,000 educators, community leaders, human service providers and social services representatives from across the country met in Baltimore early in October to address the challenging issue of how to keep students in school.
"The attendance at this conference clearly demonstrates the commitment we have to finding effective dropout prevention strategies as we deal with this complicated issue," said Maryland State Superintendent of Schools Nancy S. Grasmick.
The 12th Annual National Dropout Prevention Network Conference was co-sponsored by the Maryland State Department of Education and the National Dropout Prevention Center/Network at Clemson University.
The conference offered more than 100 small-group sessions led by experts from around the nation.

Programs Target Closing the Gap

Programs Target Closing the Gap

Two major steps intent on closing the achievement gap have been announced by The Maryland State Department of Education.
MSDE has received a $1.5 million grant ($500,000 for each of the next three years) to improve accessibility to Advanced Placement tests for economically disadvantaged students. The department additionally unveiled a new partnership with the College Board, the administrator of Advanced Placement tests and the Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT). The College Board will work directly with Maryland school systems to improve Advanced Placement participation and success rates.
"Financial concerns of individuals should never be a barrier to learning, and these moves should help tear down some barriers that have existed," said State Superintendent of Schools Nancy S. Grasmick. "Taking Advanced Placement courses prepares students to do better on SAT exams that may be critical to their future. And the rigorous work demanded by AP courses makes the transition to college courses that much smoother."
Historically, substantially fewer students in Maryland's low-income districts have taken Advanced Placement courses and exams than in the state's wealthier school districts.
The grant will focus on continued training of teachers, enabling more to qualify to teach AP courses. This would make courses available at more schools. The grant also will reduce or eliminate AP exam fees for low-income students across the state.
MSDE hopes the grant will help it reach the goals of having AP courses offered in all public high schools by 2002-2003 and having one AP course added annually to all high schools through 2011.

MSDE Bulletin
School & Community Outreach Office
Maryland State Department of Education
200 W. Baltimore Street
Baltimore, MD 21201
Web site:

Ronald Peiffer
Assistant State Superintendent

Neil Greenberger