Just what do business and community leaders expect from high school graduates?
The Baltimore school board has received nine reports listing dozens of skills, traits and personal attitudes seen as vital for the workplace and higher education.
The reports, which grew out of a series of panel meetings last spring, are the latest step in developing a new city school curriculum.
That curriculum is due to be phased in over a three-year period, starting in the elementary schools next September.
The "graduate profiles" presented last night set student goals for various careers, including business management, trades, health, human services, communications and technology.
The reports refer to "goals that the Baltimore city schools have set for their graduates" and "competencies which students must FTC achieve in order to become well-rounded and productive citizens."
Those range from such general traits as "persistence," "perseverance" and "high self-esteem," to more specific skills, such as knowledge of basic algebra and geometry and the ability to read in the case of trades report.
But several board members -- including both student representatives -- voiced concern that students be given a chance to review and comment on the reports, which will help officials in writing the new curriculum.
"I don't think any of us would disagree with any of these standards," said Nefertiti Harmon, student commissioner from Western High School. But she added that "most students don't think they are capable of meeting these standards -- or don't know how."
She added that "most students will say, 'help us meet these requirements.'"
Michael Rosemond, student commissioner from Northwestern High School, agreed, urging the board to "give us a way where we can achieve it. That's all I'm asking."
They received support from other committee members, including Meldon S. Hollis Jr.
Hollis said business and community leaders must be aware that "the distance between the youngsters on the sidewalk today and the work-a-day world has grown."
And he said the next step in the curriculum development process should be "to test this with the young people."
School officials stressed that the reports presented last night do not set any fast requirements but provide general goals that should be met under the new curriculum.