Quality education is a major concern in Prince George’s County where many middle-class families continue to send their children to private schools. The County’s public school district is ranked second from the bottom, or twenty-third out of twenty-four in the State of Maryland. Between 2007 and 2010, its high school graduation rates were consistently outpaced by neighboring jurisdictions in the state. During the 2011-2012 school year, only 44% of high school graduates were considered college or career ready. Furthermore, 135 of the County’s 200 schools were found to contain a student population where 50% or more were eligible for free or reduced-price meals.
The County’s economic competitiveness and appeal to future residents will hinge on public and private investment in and commitment to strengthening its public school system and reducing poverty.
Significant County Progress
While worrisome, these statistics obscure significant County progress. More than 27% of Prince George’s County students earned a passing grade on advanced placement exams during the 2011 to 2012 school year. This was a 25% increase over the previous school year. Absenteeism declined, and more students took college-entrance exams.
Even greater gains have been recorded on County proficiency exams. In 2007, 53% of eighth-graders passed the Maryland School Assessment exams in reading, and 37.6% of the students were proficient in math. Five years later, the County reported double-digit gains in both categories-among the biggest in the State-with 69.6% of its eighth-graders proficient in reading and 50.4 proficient in math.