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Welcome to the Maryland Equity Project. The Maryland Equity Project seeks to improve education through research that supports an informed public policy debate on the quality and distribution of educational opportunities in Maryland.

Featured Research 

Teacher Turnover as a Metric for Equity in Maryland Public Schools. (7.19.19)
Teacher turnover has a direct relationship with the quality of education a student receives and the way teachers experience their role in a particular school. High rates of teacher turnover can negatively impact student performance, school climate, teacher collaboration and organizational functioning, especially for diverse students. Given these relationships, this report examines which students in Maryland are most likely to experience high rates of teacher turnover. 

Access to Colleges and Universities in Maryland:  Who Enrolls and Who Persists? (6.28.19)
The increasing diversity of the college age population has challenged educators, researchers, and policymakers to think differently about access to higher education. While access has often meant encouraging students to enroll in college, we re-conceptualize access to include persistence in college, that is the continued enrollment in college, transfer to another institution or completion of an educational credential. This report describes trends in access to higher education in Maryland, including how enrollment and persistence varies by student characteristics and institution.

Maryland Commission on the School-to-Prison Pipeline and Restorative Practices: Final Report and Collaborative Action Plan (12.20.18)
The Maryland General Assembly established the Commission on the School-to-Prison Pipeline and Restorative Practices (House Bill 1287) in 2017 to study disciplinary practices in Maryland public schools and develop recommendations on restorative approaches that foster positive school climates and disciplinary practices most conducive to learning.  Maryland Equity Project director Gail Sunderman was a member of the Commission.  The final report presents the Commissions study findings and recommendations.  

High Suspending Schools in Maryland: Where are they Located and Who Attends Them? (10.31.18)  
This report examines disparities in out-of-school suspension (OSS) rates to understand which schools across Maryland use OSS at high rates and what school-level factors predict high suspension rates. It finds that both the district and school a student attends play a role in suspension rates. The report concludes by identifying policies and practices to address disparities in disciplinary practices. 

When Law Enforcement Meets School Discipline:  School-related Arrests in Maryland 2015-16 (6.1.18)
How do school-related arrests vary across public school districts in Maryland? This report shows that arrest rates are much higher in some districts than others, and that black, male and low-income students, and students with disabilities are more likely to be arrested at school than other students. The report concludes by identifying policies and practices that can address these disproportionalities and reduce the number of school-related arrests. 

Does School Composition Matter? Estimating the Relationship between Race, Socioeconomic Status, and Achievement in Maryland Public Schools (10.18.17)

Does school composition matter in Maryland? This analysis examines the relationship between the racial/ethnic and economic composition of Maryland’s public schools and school performance. The findings show how and where school composition is related to performance and identifies policies that can address differences in school performance. 

Is there a Teacher Shortage in Maryland? Examining Trends in Supply and Demand (5.30.17)
Is there a teacher shortage in Maryland? In this report, Erin Janulis examines trends in the supply and demand for teachers in Maryland, comparing how these trends have changed between 2005 and 2015. She finds little evidence of a teacher shortage in Maryland.

Dual Enrollment in Maryland and Baltimore City: An Examination of Program Components and Design (5.18.17)
In this Abel Foundation report, Maryland Equity Project director Gail Sunderman examines the implementation of dual enrollment in four Maryland school districts and finds that the current law does not go far enough to create equitable opportunities for all students.

Trends in Maryland Public Schools: English Language Learner Enrollment (3.28.17)
This data brief examines the enrollment of English Language Learners (ELL) in Maryland public schools. It shows that the ELL population is growing at a faster rate in Maryland than in the U.S. and that Maryland is among 25 states with the largest proportions of ELL students. The data brief also compares languages spoken at home in Maryland with those across the US and shows how the ELL population is distributed, county-by-county, in Maryland.

Funding Formulas and Revenue Streams: A Primer on Public School Finance in Maryland (4.20.16)
Education funding consists of a combination of federal, state, and local funding streams, each contributing varying portions of funds, and each with its own set of rules and regulations for determining the level of funding and how they can be spent. Checovich provides an easy-to-read guide to understanding how these various streams come together to fund Maryland’s public schools.

Financing Public Education in Maryland: A Brief History (9.15.16)
This policy brief traces the evolution of Maryland’s public education funding formula beginning in 1978 when the state adopted a formula designed to equalize funding across districts to the current formula based on funding adequacy.

Key Indicators on the Path to a Bachelor’s Degree by Race and Ethnicity in Maryland (4.20.16)
This policy brief examines the path to college degree attainment in Maryland by race and ethnicity. Using data at three different points on the path to a college degree, it shows very different representation by racial/ethnicity at each point. Popovich discusses the challenges these disparities present and the implications of these trends for increasing the number of college graduates from Maryland’s higher education institutions.

Trends in Maryland College-Bound Seniors’ SAT Scores (3.17.16)
In 2015, SAT scores for Maryland’s college-bound seniors dropped for the fifth consecutive year, and over the past ten years have increasingly fallen below those of their national counterparts. In 2015, Maryland scored 23 points below the national average. In this data brief, Joseph Popovich examines trends in SAT scores of Maryland test takers, comparing them to national averages.

The Teachers’ Voice: Using Technology in Maryland Public Schools. (11.17.15)
This report presents the results of a survey administered in spring 2015 to teachers across Maryland. The survey was designed to assess how teachers use and integrate technology into their classroom practice and their perceptions of the adequacy of their schools’ technology tools. It also asked teachers about their access to technology during testing and what they need more of to support their use of technology.

Out-of-School Suspension in Maryland Public Schools, 2008 – 2014. (11.4.15)
Increasingly, exclusionary discipline, or the practice of removing students from the classroom in response to disruptive behavior, is coming under scrutiny. Since 2008 Maryland has made a concerted effort to reduce the use of suspension in its public schools. In this policy brief, Matthew Henry examines the impact of Maryland’s change in disciplinary policy on out-of-school suspensions in public schools. He finds that while suspension rates have decreased, racial disparities increased.

Why is the Number of College Freshmen Declining in Maryland? (10.27.15)
The number of new full-time freshmen enrolling in Maryland colleges has decreased by 14% between 2009 and 2014, yet the number of high school graduates in the state has remained essentially unchanged. In this policy brief, Joseph Popovich examines trends in freshmen college enrollment, and identifies several factors that help explain the downturn.

Can a Percent Plan Be a Successful Race-Neutral Alternative to Race-Conscious Affirmative Action in Maryland? (9.22.15)
Many colleges have used race-conscious affirmative action policies to boost the enrolment of underrepresented minority students. However, the 2013 Fisher v. the University of Texas decision from the Supreme Court has thrown race-based affirmative action policies into doubt. Some states have tried race-neutral alternatives such as percent plans that guarantee admission if the applicant graduates within some top percentage of their high school class. In this policy brief, Daniel Klasik explores whether and how a percent plan might work in Maryland.

Making Sense of MSA and NAEP Assessment Results: How Well Are Maryland Students Doing? (9.15.15)
How well are Maryland’s students performing? Every year, Maryland State Assessment (MSA) results show that student performance is improving and that racial and poverty achievement gaps are closing. But a closer look at test score data reveals a more nuanced picture of student performance. In this policy brief, researchers at the Maryland Equity Project compare Maryland students’ results on the MSA with their results on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) and discuss the limitations of relying on one test to judge student performance.

School-to-Prison Pipeline: A Comparison of Discipline Policy Between Maryland and Texas Public Schools (8.26.15)
As Meredith Bouchein argues in this policy brief, the school-to-prison pipeline is a chain of events that increases the likelihood of a student entering the criminal justice system and shows that minority students are disproportionality affected by disciplinary actions. She compares discipline policies in Maryland and Texas, and shows that policy changes can decrease suspension rates, but that without a specific equity focus, racial disparities increase. It concludes with recommendations on reforming school disciplinary policies.

Trends in Maryland’s Public School Enrollment (2.25.15)
These four data briefs focus on trends in public school enrollment in Maryland over the last twenty years (1990-2010). The first data brief examines trends in public school enrollment, showing where growth is taking place. The second brief shows how the racial composition of schools is changing, while the third traces changes in the socioeconomic composition of schools. The final brief shows how segregation, by both race and income, is also changing.

K-12 Online Education: What are the Policy Implications for Maryland? (February 2015)
This policy briefs compares Maryland’s experiences with online education to other states and describes the governance, funding, learning, and accountability challenges online education poses for K-12 schools and districts. It shows how different kinds of online delivery options each involve a different set of questions and challenges that, if addressed, will facilitate successful use and implementation. The authors provide recommendations for how policymakers can address these challenges and better link instructional and learning goals to technology use in K-12 classrooms.

A State-by-State Assessment of Percent Plans as a Race-Neutral Means of Achieving Postsecondary Racial Diversity. (November 2014)
In light of recent court decisions on affirmation action in college admissions decisions, states and universities have searched for race-neutral alternatives to current race-based affirmative action policies. This working paper explores one of these alternatives—percent plans—and the extent to which these plans provide viable race-neutral admissions alternatives. The authors discuss the implications of their findings for maintaining racial diversity in public universities.

Creating Opportunities or Settling for Inequities? Two Decades of Change in Maryland’s Public Schools (11.13.14)
Since 1990, Maryland has undergone substantial changes in the racial and socio-economic composition of its public schools. Statewide, White students are no longer a majority and the proportion of low-income students has doubled to 40.1% in 2010. Tracking demographic changes in public school enrollment between 1990 and 2010, this report also finds that schools are becoming more segregated by race and that the concentration of low-income students in schools is increasing. Appendices provide detailed data and figures that show these trends by school district.

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