Arne Duncan

Experiment seeks to transform troubled Baltimore schools as federal grants end

Experiment seeks to transform troubled Baltimore schools as federal grants end

Mary E. Rodman Elementary School in Southwest Baltimore had troubles long before the incident this spring. Misbehavior, meager test scores and absenteeism were persistent before the day some fourth-graders cut their arms in a gang initiation.

Such troubles led school district administrators to take drastic action after the school year ended in June. They made all the teachers reapply for their jobs — then transferred almost everyone out. They also enrolled Mary E. Rodman in an experiment to transform Baltimore's worst-performing schools.

City schools chief Sonja Santelises and her staff decided to pair Rodman and two other troubled schools with Commodore John Rodgers...

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