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Maryland’s Education Bureaucracy

Maryland has 238 department of education employees per one million residents, the ninth highest in the nation according to a new report by the Heritage Foundation.

In How the A-PLUS Act Can Rein In the Government’s Education Power Grab, the Heritage Foundation looks at the massive bureaucratic burdens the federal No Child Left Behind Act has placed on state departments of education.


The report states:

In fiscal year (FY) 2012, the federal government spent nearly $25 billion on the dozens of programs that are authorized under No Child Left Behind. This wide range of programs that falls under NCLB strains school-level management. States and school districts must spend time completing applications for competitive grant programs, monitoring federal program notices, and complying with federal reporting requirements. According to Representative John Kline (R–MN), Chairman of the House Education and the Workforce Committee, “States and school districts work 7.8 million hours each year collecting and disseminating information required under Title I of federal education law. Those hours cost more than $235 million. The burden is tremendous, and this is just one of many federal laws weighing down our schools.”

Heritage recommends the A-PLUS approach, which has been introduced in Congress in various iterations over the last decade.  A-PLUS would allow states to opt out of NCLB programs and redirect funds toward local education priorities

According to Heritage A-PLUS would reduce bureaucracy and increase transparency.

By allowing states to consolidate funding for the numerous education programs that are authorized under No Child Left Behind, A-PLUS would dramatically reduce the bureaucratic compliance burden associated with applying for, monitoring, and reporting on dozens of formula and competitive grant programs. Allowing states to opt out of NCLB would significantly reduce the administrative burden borne by state education agencies and local school districts, freeing them from much of the paperwork currently draining school resources. At the same time, A-PLUS would redirect reporting on student outcomes from Washington back to parents and taxpayers.

Education spending represents the largest item in the state budget.  In 2001, the latest year for which data is available, the state spent $5.2 billion on education.  When local and federal funds are added in, more than $12 billion was spent on education in the state in 2011.

There is not a great deal of transparency on how that money is spent.  The CATO Institute gave Maryland a C- on it’s Cracking the Books report.


Mark Newgent

Mark Newgent is a contributing editor to Red Maryland, the premiere blog of conservative politics in the Free State, voted one of the best state political blogs by the Washington Post two years in a row. His writing has appeared in the Baltimore Sun, Washington Examiner, National Review Online, and more. Twitter: @MarkNewgent

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Categories: Budget and Finance, Education, Must Read, Waste, Fraud and Abuse
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