Presentation: the Ideas behind the blueprint for Maryland future with Wu comments

A Presentation To The Accountability And Implementation Board

National Center on Education and the Economy (NCEE) Briefing on the Ideas Behind the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future in Four Parts

Marc Tucker, President Emeritus
Betsy Brown Ruzzi, Vice President Emeritus

Quick summary: The presentation is not of high quality, and some key facts are wrong because the authors mixed things together.

I believe the authors for this report failed to separate the Maryland, Maryland counties, USA, world cities, city-like countries and provide a much more solid analytic solution/suggestion for us. I know the comments may be a little harsh. Unfortunately, this presentation will be used for policy makers to make important policies. AIB has to figure out a way to fund the blueprint first.

  1. Starting the report, there is a problem. Comparing with Finland, Ontario(Canada), Shanghai (China) and Singapore, four of the highest performing jurisdictions on OECD’s PISA surveys. This is a wrong comparison. In order to have a better comparison, beyond the education part, the demographics, political, culture, economical aspects should be included in the discussion. Education is not alone in this discussion. Education is intertwined with other parts of the society. If we could not compare or change other part of our society, we should not expect we can change/reform education as other societies are doing.
  2. Ignore AAPI students in their report. I got it. It is a typical stereotype that AAPI students are not American students such that they did not realize they miss their presence in their presentation, or assuming they are doing very well academically, they don’t count AAPI students in their discussion.
  3. Put the wrong facts to support their point of view. For example, students in poor counties in Maryland actually receives higher(or no less) spending per student. NCEE probably used some talking points from their templates and they did not look at the true numbers in Maryland.
  4. Childcare supports are much stronger in many other countries as the report correctly stated. One key reason is that they have much lower birth rate. The government has to put the incentive to encourage the birth rate.
    1. By the way, if you have more kids, each kid will receive less attention and resources given everything else is the same.
  5. Make CTE attractive and prestigious. This an important point. I totally agree with it.
  6. There is some made-up stuff: for example (Page 71, the PDF page number): For more than 20 years, accountability in the United States has meant threatening schools with takeovers and teachers with firing if their students failed to meet state targets for student performance. There may be some marginal discussion on this in other states, but I never heard this in Maryland. The report focuses on Maryland blueprint but puts the wrong/inappropriate content in the presentation. At the same time, the report did not discuss/mention another dominant policy maker on the table: the teacher union.

There are many other points I don’t want to highlight. The report is very long.

One suggestion based on my personal experience

  1. Don’t lower the admission bar for teachers in college application but offer free tuition for students who choose teaching as career. A few of my relatives (brothers and sisters) studied hard and became great teachers following this philosophy.
  2. Can Maryland do this? Yes. It can. Assume $30k per student per year, for 1000 teacher. The cost is 30 million dollars in the state budget. Furthermore, if we consider 10% of teachers (in total, we have around 60k teachers in MD) coming from this trajectory, it costs only 180 million dollars per year. At the same time, we can get rid of many promotional or wasteful programs for this purpose.

The presentation is attached below: