A group of Baltimore clergymen called on the city's political leaders Thursday to commit to Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake's bottle tax proposal and schools CEO Andres Alonso's large-scale facilities plan that would fund a massive overhaul of the city's dilapidated school buildings.
Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake rejected her schools chief's proposal to borrow $1.2 billion to fix Baltimore's crumbling school buildings, touting her own more modest plan as realistic in her State of the City address Monday.
Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and Baltimore schools chief Andres Alonso told legislators Friday that the city needs more flexibility in spending the school construction money it gets from the state – seeking a change that would let the school system take on many projects at once rather than seeking approval for one at a time.
Baltimore City's schools chief told state legislators Tuesday that he hopes to borrow $1.2 billion— six times more than the school system's current bonding authority — to pay for a massive and rapid overhaul of the city's crumbling public school buildings.
Concerned about the high number of suspensions, state school board members said Tuesday that they will propose an overhaul of discipline codes to make it more difficult for schools to send students home for nonviolent offenses.
Violence against juveniles has declined significantly in Baltimore in recent years as juvenile arrests have dropped and student graduations increased – a trend that the city schools chief said stills lags behind perceptions of the city's youth.
Special education advocates are calling for the state to do more to address the bullying of disabled students, saying that a recent lawsuit against the city school system highlights the long-lasting harm that such harassment can do to special-needs children.
Baltimore's scores on a rigorous national math and reading test were in the bottom third of large urban school districts across the country, though educators highlighted some progress in math and a promising trend of better-than-average results among some low-income black students.
The Baltimore school system will launch its first district-wide Saturday School initiative in December, a program promised by city schools CEO Andrés Alonso to help remedy declining scores on state tests this year.
Maryland's public school students made greater gains on a national standardized test than their peers in nearly every other state, although the achievement gap between white and minority students persists.
It didn't matter whether they worked at a small city elementary school or a large, suburban middle school. Educators said the lifting of the increasingly difficult targets of No Child Left Behind would mean less pressure and a greater freedom to be creative in their classes.
A rare air of controversy has marked the new school year at the prestigious Baltimore of the Arts, with the administrators acknowledging this week that the school's payroll practices have been under investigation for three months.
Breaking from the tradition of kicking off the school year with the city's Blue Ribbon recipients and highest performers, Baltimore schools CEO Andrés Alonso personally welcomed back students and staff who will take part in radical transformations at schools that have struggled with academics.
Mount Washington Elementary School is now The Mount Washington School. It adds middle schoolers and the old Shrine of the Sacred Heart Catholic School. On Friday, parents can tour both buildings. On Monday, school starts.
Drawing from the city schools' first academic backslide of his tenure, Baltimore City schools CEO Andrés Alonso sent an encouraging message to hundreds of school leaders Tuesday as they prepare for the new school year: Dust yourself off and move forward.