Baltimore City Paper

O Rolley?

Otis Rolley's mayoral campaign e-mailed out an excited press release about the time he was staging a press conference in front of City Hall. The



's Julie Scharper

.  The catalyst to this--a story about


in the city's school system--is worth a look as well, if you'd not seen the


's front page. I thought Rolley's e-mail could do with some fact-checking. Here's the text:

FACT CHECK: Rolley (or a trusted underling) writes:

"I don't think just 40% of our schools meeting state requirements or just 39% of our graduates being ready for college or job training is enough. Despite these numbers, the Mayor thinks the current system is working."

In other words, Rawlings-Blake


"think just 40% of our schools meeting state requirements or just 39% of our graduates being ready for college or job training is enough." At least, according to Otis Rolley. Does the mayor really think this? That is impossible to say; only she knows what she really thinks. But we do know what she says about the issue—it's on her


, complete with a sappy video: "Our schools continue to improve year after year

.  But there is still much work to be done,

and together we will continue our successful fight to help our children by improving Baltimore's schools." So Rawlings-Blake openly admits to supporting School Superintendent Andres Alonso and touts his "nation-leading progress." And she does suggest that the reforms are working. She does not say that she thinks the job is done

Verdict: Overstatement, with an attempt at misdirection.

By their own words, both candidates think there has been progress, but there needs to be more. They differ on how to achieve that. Rawlings-Blake proposes to continue on the present course, concentrating money on the school system where possible to improve it incrementally. She's in favor of charter schools and pledges to look for money to rebuild some of the old ones. Rolley favors vouchers and more charter schools, and promises (somehow) to get 50 additional schools built during his first term and the six years that would follow it. In his press release, Rolley goes on to assert that

"The City of Baltimore is the only city in the northeast corridor to lose population over the last decade. . .".


The candidate, a native of Jersey City, seems to have overlooked



R.I., and

, N.J.,  all of which appear to have lost population in the past decade.

Verdict: false.


This is a minor point, but it suggests Rolley is too fond of superlatives. Baltimore can be a crappy city with a failing school system without being "the only" one in a 300-mile radius.