xml:space="preserve">
xml:space="preserve">
Advertisement
Advertisement

Edison's role in Baltimore schools at crossroads

Nancy Grasmick says she never intended for Edison to stay forever. When she hired the for-profit company in 2000 to run Montebello, Gilmor and Furman L. Templeton elementaries, she hoped that one day, the city school system would improve enough to take charge again.

Two years ago, she gave control of the state-takeover schools back to the city board of ed. Now, Edison's two-year contract is coming due. And as I report in my story today, its time at Gilmor and Templeton might be up. For Montebello, the days of getting more money than other city schools would be over under Dr. Alonso's recommendation to the school board, which will effectively be adopted when the board votes on the budget Tuesday night.

Advertisement

Grasmick says that Edison did tremendous work in improving the schools' climates after she hired the company, but that if the schools aren't performing up to standards now, she supports Alonso making a change. Last year, Gilmor and Templeton did not progress nearly as fast as the system as a whole in reading. In math, they declined. The results of the MSAs currently underway will come back too late to impact the decision about the company's role.

For the years that Edison was under state control, it effectively operated as Maryland's 25th school district, with test scores and data kept entirely separately from the rest of the city's. The year the schools went back to city control and the school board dragged its feet in signing a contract with Edison, 75 percent of the staff left amid the uncertainty.

Advertisement

I visited both Templeton and Gilmor last week. It's clear that both have caring principals still new in their jobs (Templeton's Ken Cherry is in his second year; Gilmor's Ledonnis Hernandez is in her first), working hard to mobilize their young staff and parents in some of the city's toughest neighborhoods. Cherry has formed a partnership with the Maryland Food Bank. Parents' incentive for volunteering: They get canned goods to take home.

If Edison goes away, these principals -- assuming they stay -- will need a lot of support from the school system and the community. The schools have come a long way since 2000, but they're still nowhere near where they should be. Alonso says the system is prepared to help.

Recommended on Baltimore Sun

Advertisement
Advertisement