For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be.
Based on this time-honored maxim, Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley holds public education in high esteem.
Like most governors, O’Malley has had to make tough budget decisions during the Great Recession. The outlook for next year’s budget is just as bleak.
Despite the economic downturn, Governor O’Malley has maintained the state’s commitment to the policies and priorities that led to Maryland being recognized by Education Week magazine as having America’s best public schools two years running.
Governor O’Malley, a former Baltimore city prosecutor, councilman and mayor, makes it a point to reach out to parents, educators and residents on decisions that affect schools, colleges and universities. It’s that inclusiveness that resulted this year in Governor O’Malley receiving the National Education Association’s America’s Greatest Education Governor Award.
‘Over the past three years, we have been very fortunate to have a governor who has made a huge investment in Maryland’s public school children, despite the tough economic climate,’ said Maryland State Education Association President Clara Floyd. ‘He has listened carefully to educators’ views on what we need to create great public schools for every child in our state, and he has shown tremendous leadership in backing his words with actions.’
Governor O’Malley credits the award to the work of many. ‘The greatest accomplishments that I’ve had are not really mine alone. They’re really accomplishments of the teachers, the administrators, of the parents and of the children of Maryland.’
Under Governor O’Malley, Maryland has:
- Made record investments in education in each of the last three years.
- Froze tuition in colleges and universities four years in a row.
- Placed first in the nation this year in the percentage of high schools that made Newsweek magazine’s Top 1,500 U.S. High Schools.
- Ranked number one in the high schools with the best Advanced Placement scores and participation rate.
‘Now is more important than ever, even in these difficult times, to continue to protect our investments in public education to ensure that every child receives a world class education and a better future. The people of Maryland are our greatest asset, and our continued economic strength depends upon our ability to invest in them, and prepare our children today for the jobs of tomorrow,’ said Governor O’Malley in response to Newsweek’s tribute.
Governor O’Malley speaks out on national education matters as well. This summer he was one of eight governors to send a letter to Congress urging it to pass a bill that to save 161,000 education jobs nationwide threatened by budget cuts. The bill was signed into law in time for the fall. Last year, he mobilized governors to bring about the largest federal investment in education in history, saving or creating more than 300,000 education jobs.
Maryland faces a budget deficit of more than $1 billion next year. That’s all the more reason why Maryland parents, educators and supporters of public education will encourage Governor O’Malley to hold fast to the state’s commitment to public education.