Following an evolving trend in his speechcraft, O’Malley also omitted explanations for almost every claim, relegating those instead to footnotes. Shortly after O’Malley finished the 34-minute address, his staff released an annotated version explaining his claims.
It had an O’Malley record of 100 footnotes running a combined 6,000 words.
If O’Malley had explained his claims, it could have easily tripled the length of his speech. We’re working our way through all 100, but let’s unpack a couple of the biggest claims:
Maryland’s No. 1!!
O’Malley: “No other state can say at once, that they are No. 1 in education five years in a row. No. 1 in holding down the cost of college tuition. No. 1in innovation and entrepreneurship. No. 1 in human capital capacity. No. 1 in access to dental care for all children, regardless of income. No. 1 in PhD scientists and researchers. No. 1 in research and development. No. 1 in businesses owned by women. No. 1 in median family income. And we’re not done yet.”
Most of these claims are based on reports and surveys from groups ranging from Education Week magazine to the Milken Institute. Leaving those aside for a moment. A couple are pretty readily backed up by federal data:
Maryland has the most PhDs and engineers per capita, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
And while it’s not true for families of every size, averaged together, Maryland has the highest per family income of $83,823, according to U.S. Census estimates.
At $70,004, the state also had the nation’s highest median household income in 2011, though that represented a decline of 1.4 percent from 2010.
The year before O’Malley took office, the state was No. 2, behind New Jersey, which was more severely impacted by the economic downturn.
When it comes to the studies and reports that explain the remainder of O’Malley’s No. 1s, some are more clearly based on statistics, while others are graded more subjectively.
For the duration of O’Malley’s tenure, for example, figures compiled by The College Board show tuition at Maryland’s public four-year institutions increased about 2 percent, lower than any other state.
When it comes to the broader claim about “No. 1 in education.” That title comes from Maryland-based Education Week.
And much of the basis for that rank rests in a score of a B+, graded on a curve. By other measures, including raising test scores in failing schools, the state is in the middle of the pack. On a closely watched eighth-grade math score, Maryland ranks near the bottom among states.
(See footnotes at the bottom of page 2 of this document for O’Malley’s explanation on the remaining No. 1 rankings).