Focus on the Facts: “F” is for Maryland

The institute’s Focus on the Facts No. 2 described Marylanders’ relatively low utilization of public schools, compared to other states.

And can you blame them? Regardless of all the educrat back-patting following the release last December of the most recent scores on the Maryland School Performance Assessment Program (MSPAP) test, two recent, independent studies of education standards each give Maryland a failing grade.

In the Fordham Foundation’s study of state geography standards, Maryland ranked 34th out of 39 participating jurisdictions. In the same foundation’s examination of history standards, Maryland ranked 26th out of 38.

We can do no better than to quote directly from the reports themselves. Of the state’s geography standards, the foundation says, “Maryland receives an F with a score of 27. Maryland’s Social Studies Outcomes and Indicators are weak in geography content and skills. The High School Core Learning Goals, which present geography in the context of government, U.S. history and world history courses, are even weaker.”

As for history, the foundation is more caustic still:

“The Maryland standards are formulated at an exceedingly high level of generality, which, when not vacuous, call for the intellectual sophistication of a history professor. They are also doctrinaire – in a ‘big government’ direction…. The treatment of U.S. and world history is flimsy and superficial.”

Enough said.

Douglas P. Munro


Susan Munroe and Terry Smith, State Geography Standards: An Appraisal of Geography Standards in 38 States and the District of Columbia (Washington, D.C.: Thomas B. Fordham Foundation, February 1998)

David Warren Saxe, State History Standards: An Appraisal of History Standards in 37 States and the District of Columbia (Washington, D.C.: Thomas B. Fordham Foundation, February 1998).

Posted in: Education