Cara Jackson, Senior Associate, Abt Associates
Equity and Efficiency in Maryland’s K-12 Public Schools
Maryland is one of numerous states that has undergone legal challenges to its education finance system. As of the 2017-18 school year, Maryland’s school expenditures were above the estimated adequate level in four of five poverty quintiles—but among schools in the highest poverty quintile, spending was below the estimated adequate level (Baker et al., 2020). In this paper, I draw on the National Education Resource Database on Schools (NERD$) and publicly available data from the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) to examine how school funding is related to outcomes across districts in Maryland. Specifically, I explore whether some districts are more equitable than others, as defined by higher per-pupil expenditures in schools in higher-poverty neighborhoods, and whether some districts are more efficient—that is, more successful in translating resources into better student outcomes.