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McFadden: Let's find the money to fix schools

With Baltimore City schools closed for a second day amid cold temperatures, Mayor Catherine Pugh directed students to the city’s recreation centers to eat.

But several recreation centers contacted by the Baltimore Sun as lunch time approached Friday said they did not have food and expected only to be serving meals later in the day. (Baltimore Sun video)

Much has been written and discussed the last several days regarding the situation in the Baltimore City Public Schools (“School repair funds sought,” Jan. 6). While there has been finger pointing all over the place and more than enough blame to go around, our students and their families continue to operate in unacceptable conditions. Former U.S. Secretary Arne Duncan’s observations on the situation go to the core of the problem: “Why so often in America do we allow the children who need the most to get the least?” I would only add that this seems to occur most frequently in urban areas, with Baltimore being a prime example. The blame shared, then, can be placed on all levels of our society — federal, state and local. Each should and must do more.

Why at all levels of government can we find money for those things we support? Whether at the national level with tax breaks to the rich or the state level with economic incentives for development and new roads? Or at the local level with substantial subsidies to Harbor East projects, Under Armour in Port Covington and promises to break the bank for Amazon — all worthy endeavors but more important than educating of our neediest citizens?

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So, it was interesting to read the comments of a young ambitious delegate from Baltimore who points the finger directly at the school system and the state legislature where he serves. No, young man, the problem goes much deeper than an emergency fix or Band-Aid. A new approach and commitment is required from all of us, in and out of government. I look forward to joining my colleagues in the upcoming days of the Maryland General Assembly to exorcise this cancer and not put an adhesive bandage on it.

Nathaniel McFadden, Baltimore

The writer, a Democrat, represents Baltimore City’s District 45 in the state Senate.

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