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Back to class for students of America's No. 1 public schools

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Published on: Tuesday, September 11, 2012

By Gov. Martin O'Malley

This month, students all over Maryland are back to school. This time of year represents a fresh start for each and every one of our students — a chance for them to rededicate themselves to learning, growing and achieving.

In Maryland, we know that education is the single, most important ingredient in job creation and opportunity. The investments we make in education today are investments in the future we all share.

That is why, together, we have made record investments in K-12 public schools — increasing our total investment by $1 billion since taking office. In the FY2013 budget, we continue to invest record funding in our schools so our students are able to compete nationally — and globally as well.

Since taking office, the O’Malley-Brown Administration has invested more than $2 billion in building, maintaining and greening our schools. We remain committed to higher education as well. Even in the midst of a global recession, we went four years in a row without a penny’s increase in college tuition at Maryland’s public universities — and we were the only state in the country to do so.

Because of these investments, we continue to make important progress together. For the fourth year in a row, Education Week named Maryland’s public schools No. 1 in the nation. According to the College Board, Maryland students rank No. 1 in AP success. This year, Maryland elementary school students achieved their highest MSA scores ever in both reading and math. And according to Kiplinger’s, five Maryland universities rank among the nation’s “100 Best Values” in public higher education in 2012.

Our economy in Maryland is an “Innovation Economy.” Job creation in an Innovation Economy requires leveraging our most important asset: the talents, skills, ingenuity and creativity of our people. Opportunity in an Innovation Economy depends on our ability to give our people the skills they need to compete.

We are going through a period of profound economic change. The changing global economy is growing more knowledge-based, more information-based, more innovation based, and more interconnected by the day. That is why we remain committed to supporting our students by investing in their education.

To all of our students who are reading this message, I would like to share with you something my parents always told me, growing up:  Love God, love your family and love your country. Study hard, because we know that your education will enable you to do the right things for our country. Whatever walk of life you choose in the future, you’re going to bear that most important title of all, and that is American citizen. Good luck in the new school year.

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