MCPS Gets a Strong Return on Educational Investment

January 20, 2011
National report gives MCPS high marks for productivity

  Montgomery County citizens are getting a strong return on the investment they make in their public schools, according to a national report released this week.

  The Center for American Progress, a non-partisan research group, gave Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) high marks for academic achievement in relation to the amount of money spent on education and the specific needs of the district’s student population.

  “This report is further confirmation that we are using taxpayer dollars in a way that is effective and efficient,” said Christopher S. Barclay, president of the Montgomery County Board of Education. “Our community makes a significant investment in education; this report makes it clear that they are getting a strong return on that investment.”

  The report grades school districts on a six-step scale from Lowest Return on Investment (Low ROI) to Highest Return on Investment (High ROI) in three categories: 

Basic Return on Investment, which rates a school district on how much academic achievement it gets for each dollar spent relative to other districts in the same state.
Adjusted Return on Investment, which is similar to Basic Return on Investment, but applies a statistical method to adjust each district’s spending for the different costs associated with serving larger concentrations of low-income, non-English-speaking, and special education students.
Predicted Efficiency, which measures whether a district's achievement is higher or lower than would be predicted after accounting for its per-pupil spending and percentage of students in special programs such as Free- and Reduced-Price Meals (FARMS) and special education.

  MCPS received the highest mark possible for Predicted Efficiency and the second highest marks possible for Basic and Adjusted Return on Investment. MCPS, the state’s largest district with more than 144,000 students, was one of the top three rated districts in Maryland. The other top ranked districts are St. Mary’s and Calvert counties, which have less than 20,000 students each.

  The Center for American Progress report comes just two months after MCPS received the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, the highest presidential honor an American organization can receive for performance excellence through innovation, improvement and visionary leadership. MCPS is just the sixth school district to receive the honor and is the largest, by far. In October, MCPS was also named a finalist for the Broad Prize for Urban Education which recognizes large school systems that have improved student performance while narrowing racial and socio-economic gaps in achievement.

  “This report, coming on the heels of the Baldrige Award and the Broad Prize, makes it clear that our staff is doing outstanding work for the students of MCPS and the community,” said Superintendent of Schools Jerry D. Weast. "Our schools are well-run, our community is fully engaged and we are getting tremendous results from our students.” 

- Read the full report 
- MCPS District Report

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