I believe that every student in the city of Baltimore should have access to a dynamic, high quality education that prepares each child for college or a career. This plan has been developed with an understanding that the current legal and accountability frameworks that govern the relationship between City Hall and City Schools limit the degree to which City Hall can engage in direct intervention in support of Baltimore students. However, through strategic partnership and investment, increased transparency, and the heightened coordination of city - provided services in response to family needs we can catalyze change and lay the groundwork for reconfiguring the role of City Hall in the support and governance of City Schools.
Current status: Baltimore’s children are born healthy and enter school ready to succeed
Together we can:
Develop an integrated financing plan that draws effectively on city, state, federal and philanthropic resources to scale-up the nationally recognized B’More for Healthy Babies Initiative to provide research-based home visiting programs and other parenting supports to ensure every new baby in Baltimore arrives healthy and is able to thrive (see: Pew Trusts: Bringing Up Baltimore)
Expand full-day public pre-K to enroll all low-income 3-4 year olds. Begin immediately by:
Coordinating with and strengthening Baltimore’s Head Start Program to make best use of existing, federally-funded, resources
Identifying, recruiting and enrolling the estimated 1,000 low-income 4 year olds eligible for but not currently enrolled in public pre-K.
Simultaneously work with the City’s State and Congressional delegations to increase public funding and support for expansion to all low-income 3 and 4 year olds.
Create literacy-rich environments and programming throughout our community that support every young child’s early exploration and development — and every parent as their child’s first teacher — by working with the Baltimore Campaign for Grade Level Reading and its key partners in at the Enoch Pratt and Family Literacy Coalition to do so. (See: gradelevelreadingbaltimore.org.)
Baltimore’s young people attend great schools and have the full support of the community to explore their unique skills and talents, their history and culture.
Together we can: Demand Accountability and Increase Investments
Partner with City Schools to provide strategic investments that will ensure that every Baltimore City School student has access to a rigorous curriculum in a classroom led by a great teacher and in a school with vigorous and visionary leadership.
Demand financial and management transparency from City Schools, including the release of internal audits.
As transparency improves and the full picture of the school system’s finances emerges, move to increase the city’s own contribution to schools in particular areas of need and opportunity to exceed the current level (which just meets State Maintenance of Effort requirements) and demonstrate city-level leadership and commitment to our schools.
Advocate at the State level to fix the public school funding formula to fill the gap in school funding caused by the increase in assessed value of developments that have received subsidies – Tax Increment Financing (TIFs) and Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILOTs) -- and are therefore not taxed at their full assessed value.
Use once in-a-lifetime investments in schools through the 21st Century School Plan to rebuild mixed-income city communities where children and families can thrive.
Together we can: Increase Urgency and Expand Opportunity
Establish city-wide recreational and competitive sports leagues operating through city parks and in middle and high schools — everybody wins when everybody plays!
Revisit lessons learned from the Baltimore Attendance Collaborative and its Every Student: Every Day campaign in a renewed focus on reducing chronic absence, increasing school attendance and high school graduation (see: baltimoreattendance.org). Key components should include:
Safe passages to and from school;
Improved bus service to get students to school on time and without lengthy bus rides;
Data to identify chronically absent students and connect them with support and transportation
Assess the feasibility of repurposing closed schools and recreation centers to ensure opportunities are available in all neighborhoods.
Create an online hub of academic enrichment, out of school time and summer programs that can match students to high-quality learning opportunities offered around the city.
Invest in ensuring students develop 21st century skills by collaborating with local technology entrepreneurs and innovators to launch computer and coding opportunities in school and community-based academic enrichment programs.
Together we can: Increase and College and Career Readiness
Expand dual enrollment, early college and linked learning programs in Baltimore high schools to prepare students for college and careers that provide family sustaining wages.
In conjunction with city schools and community partners, strengthen college and career advising and support so young people and their families understand their options and the steps they need to take to achieve their postsecondary aspirations.
Align Career Technical Education (CTE) offerings in City Schools with high demand, high wage jobs in the region and ensure these offerings lead to industry recognized credentials that will enable graduates to compete for these jobs.
Coordinate City School’s internship and work programs with the Mayor’s Office of Employment Development’s YouthWorks to provide expanded summer and year-round work, internship and apprenticeship opportunities that allow the city’s youth to explore the world of work and envision a place for themselves in it.
All of Baltimore’s residents have the education and training they need to compete in the regional economy.
According to the Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce, by 2020, 69% of the jobs in Maryland will require some training beyond high school.
Together we can:
Establish a full academic scholarship with accompanying mentoring, guidance and support for all low-income graduates of Baltimore City Public Schools who apply and are admitted to a four-year degree granting institution.
Provide an ongoing, sustainable source of funding to upgrade the skills of unemployed and underemployed Baltimore residents by establishing a Baltimore Fund for Occupational Skills Training that meets employer demand for skilled workers, is aligned with available jobs in growing sectors of the regional economy, and leads to middle income wages. Resources from this Fund would be used only for programs able to demonstrate their effectiveness in completion and job placement rates and increased wages.
Advocate for the radical transformation of Baltimore City Community College into an engine of opportunity for city residents – dramatically increasing graduation, completion and transfer rates through improved governance and leadership; strengthened programming to include co-requisite remediation and a greater alignment with the region’s middle skill jobs; and a relentless focus on results. (See: Redesigning America’s Community Colleges, Bailey et. al., Harvard University Press, 2015.)
Address the bottleneck to opportunity caused by the lack of a high school diploma among city adults by building the capacity of local programs to prepare adult candidates for the GED and developing alternative models and programs that lead to a Maryland High School Diploma.
Advocate at the state and federal level to create and/or expand loan forgiveness programs for low-income students, particularly for those entering careers in public service and for students who took out loans but did not end up graduating after attending a college with persistently low graduation rates relative to other institutions. Students shouldn’t be left with the bill after institutions fail to prepare them to succeed.