Smart Spending Pays Off

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Maryland gets double kudos from TQB this week. Maryland's Washington County school district is going great guns these days, posting some of the best attendance and achievement rates in the state. What's significant about its success is that the county is relatively poor and plagued with the same problems that defeat other school districts, including a high teen pregnancy rates and a low percentage of parents of who are college graduates--lower even than that of nearby Baltimore. Superintendent of Schools Betty Morgan undertook a comprehensive package of reforms that included lengthening the school day and instituting a dress code. Even more importantly, Morgan transferred many teachers out of the worst schools and then offered bonuses to the best teachers to transfer into these schools. She did it without adding a dime to the district's expenditures, maintaining its relatively low $7,000 cost per pupil.