"This bill suggests if a failing school doesn't improve after two years, to "
consult to develop additional strategies."
If the school is failing after a third year, the bill says, "determine the appropriate intervention strategy."
What possible strategies are left at that point? The bill makes no suggestions of what TO do. Instead, it says what you MAY NOT DO, including:
- Converting a public school to a charter school;
- Issuing scholarships to public school students to attend nonpublic schools through direct vouchers, tax credit programs, or education savings accounts;
- Creating a state-run school district;
- Creating a local school system in addition to the 24 established school systems;
- Converting or creating a new public school without local board approval;
- Contracting with a for-profit company.
The issue of charter schools and programs such as BOOST may be controversial, and you may not believe that such choices will fix the problem.
But I have to ask you, for the children in the myriad failing schools, HOW MUCH WORSE CAN IT GET?!?
I represent Howard and Carroll Counties. Last spring, Howard and Carroll students scored better [than other counties] in nearly every grade and subject on Maryland's annual standardized tests.
But what about the kids who don't live here. In Baltimore City, for example, only 15% of students overall were passing those same tests! For over 40 years, we've been pouring more and more money into the Baltimore City Public City School System (BCPSS) expecting education to improve.
It hasn't. We've wasted almost 40 years of children hoping that we can buy our way into a good education and IT HASN'T WORKED!
Since 1978 when the state created a funding formula to account for the differences in local wealth and to equalize funding across all districts, the effort to bring education parity to the children of BaltImore City with money has FAILED.
It's been just 15 years since the Thornton funding went into effect, vastly increasing education funding to less wealthy jurisdictions such as the City. Baltimore City now has the 4TH HIGHEST PER-PUPIL EXPENDITURE OUT OF THE 100 LARGEST SCHOOL DISTRICTS IN THE NATION. And Baltimore City teachers are paid the highest average salary in the State.
Notwithstanding all this, the newest study commissioned by the state to update Thornton thinks that the state should give Baltimore an extra $434 million per year.
And this year, we are in the process of passing a bill to increase the BCPSS budget by another $129 million by exempting them from paying the Maryland Transit Administration for the students who ride the public buses to school. In other words, we are now subsidizing Baltimore City Schools out of the TRANSPORTATION TRUST FUND!
If there was any hope that more funding would actually improve education for the children in Baltimore City (and elsewhere), I would be glad to support such funding. But funding alone doesn't work, it hasn't worked, and there is no earthly reason to believe it will suddently work in the future.
The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result 'the next time.'
Let's stop this insanity. It's time to give these alternatives a try.