If the Ravens finish in third place, many fans become despondent. Likewise, no one says there isn't much difference between first place and third when the Orioles don't make the playoffs. Instead we rally. We come back stronger and determined to be number one next year.
Yet when Education Week says Maryland has slipped from being the number one state in education to number three ("We're No. ... 3?," Jan. 9), there are some who say that's still pretty good.
But one of the things holding us back is that too many of our 3- and 4-year-olds aren't getting the early learning opportunities that they need. In fact, Maryland ranked in the middle of the pack nationwide on early childhood education. Fans, it's time to rally.
By expanding access to pre-K, high-quality child care and Head Start programs to every family in our state, we can be No. 1 again. But more important than any ranking, our children will grow up to be more productive adults, better citizens and part of an educated workforce committed to seeing their home state and their families succeed.
When it comes to our future, third place isn't good enough.
Margaret E. Williams, Baltimore
The writer is executive director of the Maryland Family Network.