A record $3.3 billion in new local and state school spending during the past five years largely has gone toward the hiring of new teachers, raising salaries and lowering the ratio of students to teachers, according to a new report to the Maryland General Assembly.
At the same time, the number of students passing state reading and math tests has increased in every county.
Those increases have been significant even for minority and special-education students and particularly for students learning English for the first time.
The 2002 legislation behind these increases, known in education circles as Thornton, increased state and local education funding by nearly 50 percent and was designed in part to even the playing field between wealthy and poor school systems.
MGT of America was hired through a $2 million, three-year Maryland State Department of Education contract to find out where all the new money was going and whether it was making a difference. The report released yesterday at the state school board meeting was interim.