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What people are saying about Woodlawn

On The Sun's discussion forum, lots of people have been weighing in on today's story about the Woodlawn High School mother who has been taking the school to task about the building's maintenance.

Click the link below to check out what they're saying. (Also, here's a link to my blog post this morning about the story, including parts of the story that were cut because of space limitations in the paper).

COMMENTS

DOC
The Principal should be fired. He knew, or should have known, the condition of the school. For him to lie, says volumes about his charactor.

Pirate1001
Harrisburg, PA
Dear Miko Baldwin ,
I hope you see this. GOOD JOB!!! As an ARCH-Conservative, I still beleive that investing in our schools and children, of ALL colors and socio-economic backgrounds, is critical to our survival. I HATE taxes, but schools are one of the few things I have no problem funding. Anyone who does, is not thinking clearly.
2 years without hot water, what the hell is going on?
Good Job, Ma'am.


Pirtate1001
You are right Doc!!

    DOC wrote:
    The Principal should be fired. He knew, or should have known, the condition of the school. For him to lie, says volumes about his charactor.


Bob of Florida
New Port Richey, FL
Ms Miko Baldwin may have started a necessary enlightenment for the community parents of Woodlawn High to become involved with their students. Stop making excuses and focus on fixing the problems.
Kudos to Ms Baldwin.


Jane of Baltimore
Glen Burnie, MD
Ms. Baldwin-I applaud your actions, although if you'd had a child in Woodlawn since 2000, things should've been addressed before now. Thank you.


Stephanie from SC
Lexington, SC
As a 1983 grad from Woodlawn, we never had any of this “under-cover” operation that is currently obvious. If there was a problem, we could always go to administration (or even a teacher for that matter) and express our concerns.
My question is… why did the student complaints go unrecognized for so long? Or, did the students actually bring their concerns to the administration and admin brushed them off? And why has it taken this long for someone to step up to the plate? It seems to me that Ms. Baldwin is the only parent involved in her child’s education, which is commendable. Why aren’t the other parents stepping up and helping?
Get involved with your child’s education people. Don’t think that the principal and teachers are your child’s babysitters !!! Many thanks to Ms. Baldwin for getting involved in her child’s education and the resolution of this particular problem.


Monica
Windsor Mill, MD
My son is a 2005 grad of Woodlawn. The reality is that it takes more than one parent and a few students to solve these problems. The parents refuse to be involved in the students education so these problems will always exist despite Ms. Baldwin' s efforts. This is a small accomplishment that could lead to huge accomplishments if all were involved. The difference in Dulaney and Towson high schools is not race but parent involvement. Also this principal is not to blame , the school has decades of problems from maintance to student behaviors that can not be fixed over night. There are small groups who have tried over the years to better Woodlawn but it's just not enough!


bryanintimonium
Catonsville, MD
I like how the person interviewed here directly named Towson or Dulaney as not having problems like this. Well, I am a Dulaney alumnus (1999) and, yes we had all of the problems that are listed at Woodlawn. Broken, fogged windows and many that did not open or would not stay open. Brown water from some of the drinking fountains and any number of the issues that come with 40 and 50 year old school buildings.

yay
I hope other parents and community members who want a strong leadership recognize the change one woman was able to make happen. May many more show concern for the youth of the city and do the same. Excellent work, Ms. Baldwin.


Gina Davis
Baltimore, MD
Hi everyone,
Please check out my recent post on our education blog (http://weblogs.baltimoresun.com/news/educatio... ). I've included a few things that didn't make it into the story.

On another note, as I did the reporting for today's story, I noticed a pattern of people either not speaking up or speaking up but not taking the steps (as Miko did in the case of the hot water) to talk to someone who could do something about getting the problem fixed.

How many of us would be willing to work in an office or some other workplace that lacked such basic needs, or where the company continually ignored problems until someone complained loudly enough?

But still, there are plenty of reasonable people who grow weary or complacent in less-than-ideal situations. Maybe Miko's efforts will reinvigorate parents at Woodlawn and at other schools. It could happen.

Hoodlawn
That's the least of the problems at Woodlawn. A student was stabbed today in the courtyard at lunch and the school didn't skip a beat, they allowed classes to go on as usual. I guess our kids should be accustomed to violence, police, blood, and helicopters at school. The principal and his administration are clueless and ineffective. Most of the students couldn't tell you what the principal looks like. In a school of 2300 students, 2000 are doing the right thing. Its a shame the administration can't put things in place to provide a safe and orderly environment, with about 300 to control or expel.


america57
Port Republic, MD
All children deseve a good education in this country. Baltimore County needs to step up and give the dedicated teachers and staff of Woodlawn High the matierials they need to teach these children!


Bless that parent
Baltimore, MD
You hear all the time these days, "Have a blessed day." Ms. Baldwin is a parent involved with her child's school and that will make all the difference. She is bringing the blessing personally to Woodlawn.
The first school where I ever substitute taught was Woodlawn. I was given a class, and during my "break" I was sent to another class where the teacher had left no lesson plan, and the kids took advantage of the situation. It was a rough, long day. In the hallways, the kids were respectful, and no different than kids in most high schools. But I'll tell you right now all schools are not equal in this county, and the biggest difference is the involvement of the parents. Where parents are involved, then you can have a Towson High.


Rob
Las Vegas, NV
Hey lady don't you know that education is not a priority in this country...our goverment use Billions of dollars on our oil excavation.. [oh sorry] war in Iraq.. what do you expect us to do use money to improve conditions for our on children at home that would be ludacris and unprofitable...let the poor kids remain hopeless uneducated and desperate and go to jail so we can collect billons of dollars for their incarciration heath care food service etc.yhen we dont have to worry about them moving into our neighborhood...God bless you mother.. keep fighting.

Miko Baldwin
United States
While attending a meeting, I was sent a text that there was a stabbing at Woodlawn High School. Everything I spoke of did not make the paper. I have been trying since 2001 to make a difference at Woodlawn but have gone unheard. There is a serious need for security, the PTA is not operating under Maryland PTA. I need help and the funny thing is now that there was a stabbing today all kinds of parents are going to show up.

Ex-Woodlawn Teacher
Ellicott City, MD
The key to any school's success is parent involvement. I retired from Woodlawn in the early 1990s. On Back to School Night I would average about 5 parents per class of 30 students each. I don't imagine there is any more parent representation today. All we need to do is get the parents involved the way my wife and I were with our children's schools. Since this is impossible to do I'm afraid things aren't going to get any better at Woodlawn

ekost21043
United States
I applaud Ms.Baldwin as well. How did anyone of authority in the school not know they did not have hot water. Unexceptable! I'm a 1981 graduate of Woodlawn. The days of Dr. Walter Amprey. He would not have allowed that to go on for a day. What happen to the wonderful school on the hill. It was once a school you could be proud of. If you have a kid who is attending this school it is important to make sure as Ms. Baldwin has said, to make sure they are not being educated in a slum school. This is not how Woodlawn should be ran. It has a great reputation that is being destroyed.

Miko Baldwin
United States
No I said that because the parents at Dulaney and Towson are involved with their children. I am positive that the olders schools have some issues but why does it take so long to get things fixed?

    bryanintimonium wrote:
    I like how the person interviewed here directly named Towson or Dulaney as not having problems like this. Well, I am a Dulaney alumnus (1999) and, yes we had all of the problems that are listed at Woodlawn. Broken, fogged windows and many that did not open or would not stay open. Brown water from some of the drinking fountains and any number of the issues that come with 40 and 50 year old school buildings.

Pam
As a member of the first graduation class at WHS, I am saddened to read about the deterioration of this once fine, new school. Since I no longer live in the area, I cannot comment on the situation at the school but I am sure that the level of involvement of the parents is reflected in the behavior of the kids attending the school. Parents involvement in their kids' lives both at and away from school is essential in leading them down the right path. You see it everywhere- kids are roaming the streets or the malls without parental supervision and their parents have no idea what they are doing and probably don't really care. Kids have to be taught right from wrong and many parents today weren't taught the right values by their own parents, so how are they going to be good, teaching parents to their own kids? It is a sad state of affairs, what our cities and surrounding areas have become. You have to fear for the future of our country when you see the lack of values in our society today but that is another story. Getting back to WHS, how is it possible that a principal cannot know that his school is without hot water in the gymnasium for the past several years? I find that totally uncomprehensible. He needs to be held accountable for the condition of his school. If it's not working, fix it or replace it (and that means staff as well as physical items at the school.) I wondered why the kids don't complain about taking cold showers and then read somewhere that the kids aren't taking showers at school any longer. I know I am giving away my age but we always had to take showers after gym class. Since when has that not been the norm? The Baltimore County Public School leadership needs to get out into the field and gain control over what is happening in these schools. They have to make sure that the faciilities at each and every school in Baltimore County are as top notch as they can be given the age of the various buildings so that the schools in the southwest and eastern parts of the county are as good as they are in the northern sector. Teachers and administrators have to be given the authority to punish bad behavior like they had years ago and they have to start from kindergarden on up - don't wait until a child reaches middle or high school to start enforcing rules- start early. Schools can't do it all but something is better than nothing when it comes to teaching acceptable behavior. If it means keeping a child after school than that should be done and a teacher would have to take the responsibility of staying after for that session. If this isn't done, our families, communities, cities and towns will continue to deteriorate - Then God help us all!


Miko Baldwin
United States
I agree! The PTA needs to be stronger and I see that they are just there to hold space. I am a single parent of three and my son attends Mount Saint Joseph. You do not have to encourage parent involvement there because it is a given.

    Ex-Woodlawn Teacher wrote:
    The key to any school's success is parent involvement. I retired from Woodlawn in the early 1990s. On Back to School Night I would average about 5 parents per class of 30 students each. I don't imagine there is any more parent representation today. All we need to do is get the parents involved the way my wife and I were with our children's schools. Since this is impossible to do I'm afraid things aren't going to get any better at Woodlawn

Gina Davis
Baltimore, MD
    Miko Baldwin wrote:
    While attending a meeting, I was sent a text that there was a stabbing at Woodlawn High School. Everything I spoke of did not make the paper. I have been trying since 2001 to make a difference at Woodlawn but have gone unheard. There is a serious need for security, the PTA is not operating under Maryland PTA. I need help and the funny thing is now that there was a stabbing today all kinds of parents are going to show up.

To read more about some of the issues Miko has raised, check out our education blog, where I was able to post information that was trimmed from today's article because of space limitations.

Miko is right. She needs help. And lots of it. One person can light the fire, but it's going to take a concerted, group effort to fan the flames.

Gina Davis
Baltimore, MD
    
    Hoodlawn wrote:
    That's the least of the problems at Woodlawn. A student was stabbed today in the courtyard at lunch and the school didn't skip a beat, they allowed classes to go on as usual. I guess our kids should be accustomed to violence, police, blood, and helicopters at school. The principal and his administration are clueless and ineffective. Most of the students couldn't tell you what the principal looks like. In a school of 2300 students, 2000 are doing the right thing. Its a shame the administration can't put things in place to provide a safe and orderly environment, with about 300 to control or expel.

It's hard to see any of these problems as "the least" of them. In a fundamental way, it all ties together. As Miko pointed out time and again during our many conversations in the past few weeks, even the seemingly small oversights contribute to an attitude of "if they don't care, why should we?" Miko said she hears from students all the time who have that attitude. And it's that kind of "they don't care, so I don't care" attitude that leads to situations like today's violence at Woodlawn.

Gina Davis
Baltimore, MD
    Miko Baldwin wrote:
    I agree! The PTA needs to be stronger and I see that they are just there to hold space. I am a single parent of three and my son attends Mount Saint Joseph. You do not have to encourage parent involvement there because it is a given.

Miko raises a huge point regarding parental involvement, in terms of Woodlawn needing a strong PTA. I had tons of notes about Miko's concerns with the school's Parent-Teacher-Student Association, but there was only so much I could fit into the story!

Miko has formally requested that the state PTA conduct an evaluation of the schools PTSA. In her lengthy email request, she pointed to several troubling issues ---

1. The school's PTSA is not incorporated, as the state PTA requires for a local PTA to be a recognized group.

2. The school's PTA apparently isn't insured or bonded. It's president (from what I've been told) has been collecting dues from members, which is a function that the group's treasurer should be doing. But again, with no insurance or bonding, NO ONE should be collecting money from anyone.

3. Miko believes that the president wasn't properly elected during a general membership meeting. The state PTA requires that local PTAs announce plans to hold an election and convene a general membership meeting --- unless Woodlawn's president can prove, with documentation, that the group abided by this rule, the group will have to hold new elections.

4. The group's by-laws appear to be outdated. State PTA requires locals to file updated by-laws every three years. Woodlawn's PTA is being asked to prove that by-laws that were submitted earlier this month (and which were said to have been approved by the local PTA during the summer of 2005)are legitimate. That means the group has to show evidence that in 2005, they convened a general membership meeting to approve the by-laws. I would further wonder why, if the by-laws were properly adopted (which remains in question), would it take 2 years to mail them to the state PTA?

The bottom line is that Woodlawn's PTSA may have its own cleaning up to do, and that will be necessary if it can be expected to contribute in any meaningful way to turning things around at the school.

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