Maryland State Department of Education

Last updated
Maryland State Department of Education
Agency overview
JurisdictionFlag of Maryland.svg  Maryland
Headquarters200 West Baltimore Street, Baltimore, Maryland 21201
Flag of the United States.svg  United States
39°17′22″N76°37′07″W / 39.289529°N 76.618533°W / 39.289529; -76.618533 Coordinates: 39°17′22″N76°37′07″W / 39.289529°N 76.618533°W / 39.289529; -76.618533
Agency executive
  • Dr. Karen B. Salmon, Superintendent
Parent agency Government of Maryland
Website Official website OOjs UI icon edit-ltr-progressive.svg
USA Maryland location map.svg
State of Maryland

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, which are 24 local school systems — one for each of Maryland's 23 counties plus one for Baltimore City. Maryland has more than 1,400 public schools in 24 public school systems, with 2019 enrollment of approximately 900,000. [1] Of the student body, 42% are on FARMS (i.e., qualify for Free And Reduced Meals) and 22% are Title 1 (i.e., schools with high percentages of poor children). [2]


MSDE is led by the State Superintendent of Schools, and receives guidance from the Maryland State Board of Education. [3] The agency is headquartered in downtown Baltimore at 200 West Baltimore Street (off North Liberty Street/Hopkins Place, just west of Charles Center) in the Nancy Grasmick Building. [4]

School districts

The largest school districts in Maryland are:

Largest school districts
Montgomery County 165,00089% [5]
Prince George's County 133,00079% [6]
Baltimore County 114,00088% [7]
Anne Arundel County 83,00088% [8]
Baltimore City 79,00070% [9]
Howard County 59,00093% [10]
Frederick County 44,00092% [11]



The first superintendent of schools for the State of Maryland was authorized in the 1865, by the GeneralGeneral Assembly of Maryland under the third and revolutionary/radical Maryland Constitution of 1864 ratified briefly under the Unionist / Radical Republican Party then in power in the state and nationally during the American Civil War (1861-1865) and continuing into the post-war Reconstruction era of the late 1860s and into the 1870s. The new appointive 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 then 22 counties of Maryland (plus Baltimore City - an independent municipality recognized with the status of a county) which all had widely different situations from the Appalachian Mountains and the Blue Ridge in the Western panhandle to the Chesapeake Bay and adjacent rural counties of the southern portion of the "Free State" to the Potomac River and the Eastern Shore (Delmarva peninsula) to the short North Atlantic Ocean coast. Several different 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 first four schools (2 boys and 2 girls). In 1839, a high school opened for boys only, known first as "The High School"; it is the third oldest public high school in the United States, and the oldest in state.[ citation needed ] The high school later became known as the Male High School in 1844 with the opening then of two public high schools for girls, Eastern and Western, then known as the "Central High School of Baltimore" since 1850 for near 20 years and finally renamed B.C.C. in 1868.

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 becoming as Franklin High School in the 1850s. Followed by secondary schools in the county seat of Towson as Towson High School in 1873.

A "Negro" / "Colored" (now African-American) elementary schools were authorized 1867, after a long controversy and public demand by the free black population of the, supplemented in 1883 by a "Colored High School" - second oldest in the nation next to Dunbar High School in Washington, D.C..[ citation needed ] Baltimore 's new secondary school for its large free blacks population grew to be a crowning academic/cultural and social achievement for the former slaves over the next decades. The "Colored High" was later renamed Frederick Douglass High School in 1925, recalling its earliest beginnings as the independent private Douglass Institute founded in 1865, immediately after the Civil War on the 400 block of East Lexington Street, by Davis Street alley, on the north side around the corner from the Battle Monument from the War of 1812. It was located between North Calvert and North Streets (later renamed Guilford Avenue) in the former Newton University adjacent townhouse buildings. Founded in the 1840s, Newton's buildings served as a hospital for Union Army wounded in the recent strife. Former Baltimorean and escaped slave Frederick Douglass himself presided over the dedication ceremonies in September 1865, and later frequently lectured at the Institute. The Institute endured 18 years until the establishment by the City Schools system with a small struggling high school after continuous pressure and campaign for African-American schooling opportunities.

Then "polytechnical" / schools for "manual training" founded that same year of 1883, with the "Baltimore Manual Training School" (later renamed 1893 as the "Baltimore Polytechnic Institute" ("Poly").


A second high school for Negroes was established in 1910 and in the next decade was 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, beginning with (Forest Park High School in the northwest part of the city and later Southern High School by Federal Hill in old South Baltimore. New types of vocational-technical schools established in the 1920s, reorganized and reconstructed in 1955 with George Washington Carver Vocational-Technical High School on Presstman Street in West Baltimore's Sandtown-Winchester neighborhood and followed by the merger of several previous vocational institutions and renamed as Merganthaler Vocational-Technical High School on Hillen Road by Lake Montebello in the northeast city.

The state’s practice of segregated schools was ended by 1954, with the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Brown v. Board of Education in 1954 that segregated schools violated the U.S. Constitution.

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 of the city.

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 state 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 executive departments structure using the best of the 1966-1967 Constitutional elements by pushing them through "piece-meal" then passed by the General Assembly of Maryland (state legislature) of whom he was a long-time leader in 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 publications Education Week , Newsweek , and MGT of America. [12] [13] [14] "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. [15] [16] The state budget for education was $5.5 billion in 2009. [17]

School assessment

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. [18] 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. Maryland substituted PARCC for the MCAP during SY 2018-2019. [19] [20]

Former superintendants

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  1. MSDE — Report Card
  2. MSDE — Report Card
  3. Maryland State Department of Education — About
  4. "Home." Maryland State Department of Education. Retrieved on July 5, 2015. "200 West Baltimore Street, Baltimore, MD 21201-2595"
  5. 2020 Montgomery County Schools At A Glance
  6. 2019 Prince George's County Schools At A Glance
  7. 2019 Baltimore County Schools At A Glance
  8. 2019 Anne Arundel County Schools At A Glance
  9. 2019 Baltimore City Schools At A Glance
  10. 2020 Howard County Schools At A Glance
  11. 2020 Frederick County Schools At A Glance
  12. [ dead link ]
  13. Best High Schools 2009: The Top States. Newsweek (2009-06-15). Retrieved on 2011-03-04.
  14. Hernandez, Nelson (2009-01-08). "State Public School System Ranked Best in U.S. by 2 Reports". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2010-05-12.
  15. "Maryland Ranks #1 in the Nation on Advanced Placement Exams for Participation and Performance" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-04-20. Retrieved 2010-02-05.
  16. Toppo, Greg (2010-02-04). "Maryland makes huge strides in Advanced Placement". USA Today. Retrieved 2010-05-12.
  17. "Slicing education?". The Gazette. The Gazette. 2009-11-05. pp. A-9. Archived from the original on 2015-09-04.
  18. Education, Maryland Department of (2003). "Overview". Archived from the original on 2011-07-16. Retrieved 2009-04-25.
  19. "Maryland — PARCC".
  20. Garriss, Kirsten. "MSA Test Changes Concern Some Parents". Archived from the original on 17 March 2014. Retrieved 17 March 2014.
  21. "Home." Maryland State Department of Education. Retrieved on July 5, 2015. "200 West Baltimore Street, Baltimore, MD 21201-2595"
  22. Lillian Lowery named Maryland state superintendent of schools (Baltimore Sun article-April, 20, 2012)
  23. Maryland schools superintendent announces resignation (Washington Post article-August 28, 2015)
  24. New superintendent hopes to improve high-performing school system (Washington Post article-June 28, 2016)