A student recently told me that when he attended Patterson High School, there was a hallway designated for the crips, a hallway designated for the bloods, and even a hallway for the “nerds.” He told me he was at one point affiliated with a gang and that while in the gang, he did not think for himself. In addition to drugs being present in schools, some schools have gang members walking the halls. I wonder if faculty members are aware of a gang presence in their school and if the faculty is taught to recognize their identifying characteristics? Also, I wonder how many students are pressured into joining a gang while they are actually inside Baltimore’s school buildings? Anyone have any perspective on this issue?
Archive for April, 2011
Anyone have any insight or comments regarding the drug scene in Baltimore’s schools? I’m curious, especially with students having cell phones available, making coordinating meeting with other students much easier. If you are a student (you can remain anonymous on this site), what presence do drugs have in your school? Are teachers vigilant in keeping schools drug-free, or do they look the other way?
How old is your child or children and how well do you think they can read? Do you believe they have gotten the instruction they needed at school (phonics, fluency, comprehension, etc.)? Also, do you feel knowledgeable enough to help them improve their reading at home?
Back in February, The Baltimore Sun ran an article about an early retirement buyout that was being offered to Baltimore City School teachers. The buyout was “encouraging as many as 750 of the city’s most experienced teachers to retire by April.” The conditions of the buyout were that teachers “with more than 10 years’ experience” would be able ” to leave the system and receive 75 percent of their current annual salary over a five-year period.”
The latest Inside Ed blog reveals that more than 330 teachers have signed up for the plan, and that “Just 18 takers shy of the number of teachers needed to offer an early retirement incentive, the Baltimore city school system said it was confident that it would move forward with the deal.”
According to the Second Opinion blog by Glen McNatt, the buyout is a “necessary reform.” He states that the best teachers will stay in the system and says that ” Good teachers will be rewarded for staying, while those who are struggling have been handed a golden opportunity to make a graceful exit.”
What is your opinion on Andres Alonso’s attempt to save $5 million plus by enticing experienced teachers to leave? What will the cost be on the quality of education for Baltimore’s students?
Doing well on standardized tests has become a major priority across the country. Students in Baltimore recently took the MSA, and the “My Pencil” video, performed by George Washington Elementary students in Baltimore City, got over 35,000 hits on You Tube. What does the community think of this video and the agenda behind it? Is the country overemphasizing testing and should students be spending more time on real-life learning that will encourage them to be lifelong learners? Or is the emphasis on standardized testing necessary to provide officials with a measure of accountability? What do you think?
According to an ABC article from yesterday, relatives of students being bullied at Dundalk Middle in Baltimore County are frustrated with the lack of intervention by school faculty members. The article links a triple shooting to frustrations that stemmed from bullying at the school. In the article, Ben Shifrin, head of the Jemicy school, a school for dyslexic students, says that schools need to teach students appropriate social skills “to help children deal with all the social pressures, everything going on in today’s society.”
Is bullying prevalent in your school or directly affecting your child? Is your child one of the bullies?
Inside Ed, Baltimore Sun’s education blog, recently wrote about a documentary that will soon be displayed at the Maryland Film Festival, called “The Learning.” The documentary looks very interesting because it gives an inside look into some of Baltimore’s schools as well as a personal look into the ambitions and struggles of a few Filipino teachers.
Here is the trailer for the PBS film:
Another documentary that takes a look into Baltimore’s schools is an older film called The Boys of Baraka. The documentary is available for free rental at several branches of the Baltimore County Public Library.
Both films reflect a dire need for reform in Baltimore’s schools. Thoughts?
According to the Coleman education report from the 1960′s, which collected achievement and aptitude results from over 640,00 students, “schools account for only about 10% of the variance in student achievement – the other 90% is accounted by student background characteristics.”
The report is implying that a student’s schooling has very little effect on his or her eventual academic achievement, and that the home background has an enormous effect on academic success.
The report also concluded that “little evidence exists that education reform can improve a school’s influence on student achievement.”
I found the report interesting because many of the arguments still speak true today.
Is poverty really that crippling, to the point where even the best reform is not going to lessen the gap between rich and poor students?
Since April is Autism Awareness Month, I thought it would be helpful for people who don’t know much or anything about autism to have an opportunity to view perspectives from Baltimore parents, educators, or community members who are familiar with autism.
Please share anything you would like the Baltimore community to know about autism to help spread awareness. Also, to those unfamiliar with autism, please share any questions that you would like answered.
A big issue of contention in Baltimore’s schools is parental involvement.
Educators: Do you feel parental involvement flourishes at your school or is lacking? Why do you believe parents are involved or do not have a presence in the school environment?
Parents: Do you have a presence in your child’s school? How often do you visit the school or communicate with teachers? Do you feel you are involved enough or should be more involved? If you should be more involved, why aren’t you?
Anyone else: What is your perception of parental involvement in Baltimore’s schools? Are parents involved enough? If not, what should change?
What grades do you teach or are your children in? Where are they attending school?
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Here is a quote from A Path to Follow: Learning to Listen to Parents that is good food for thought:
“Teachers hold strong and usually negative views about the attitudes of poor, minority, and immigrant parents towards schooling and the school.”