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Better student outcomes start with better functioning communities | READER COMMENTARY

Ellie, 3, and Kai Worthington, 6, draw during an art workshop at the Creative City Public Charter School in Baltimore's Park Heights neighborhood last year. File. Feb. 8, 2020. (Ulysses Muñoz/Baltimore Sun).
Ellie, 3, and Kai Worthington, 6, draw during an art workshop at the Creative City Public Charter School in Baltimore's Park Heights neighborhood last year. File. Feb. 8, 2020. (Ulysses Muñoz/Baltimore Sun). (Ulysses Muñoz/The Baltimore Sun)

It is time to end the pejorative term “failing school.” There are no failing schools, just failing policies (”Republican legislators: Maryland General Assembly culpable for Baltimore’s public school failures,” Oct. 8). Schools are only as effective as the community from which the students come.

Many so-called failing schools are in communities shaped by redlining and racism. Mandates from the federal government and the state education department further restrict what any individual school can do. While there may be issues with the bureaucracy of the Baltimore school system, blaming the school personnel is a red herring, a fallacy of misdirection that has severe consequences.

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What is required to authentically improve the educational ability of poor performing students is to improve the communities in which they live.

Edward Kitlowski, Towson

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