Barely a handful of Baltimore's public schools scored satisfactorily in all of the areas established by the State Board of Education this year to evaluate the performance of Maryland schools, according to report cards released yesterday, and the vast majority did not measure satisfactorily in any of those areas.
Systemwide, city schools didn't achieve a satisfactory grade in any category, which was not altogether unexpected. In announcing the new system of evaluating schools last spring, state education officials announced that they intended to set standards so stringent that in some categories, no district in the state would achieve a satisfactory grade.
The standards, according to state officials, are meant as "realistic goals" for Maryland schools in the coming years. However, if schools cannot demonstrate progress toward meeting those goals during the next five years, they could be subjected to penalties, including closure or a takeover by the state.
The report cards released yesterday by Baltimore school officials evaluated 179 Baltimore schools against the state standards and offered an assessment of the school system as a whole.
Elementary and middle schools were judged by attendance and promotion rates. High schools were evaluated by attendance and drop-out rates as well as by the passage rates of their students in four testing areas -- reading, mathematics, writing and "citizenship skills."
Since last summer, Baltimore's Deputy School Superintendent J. Edward Andrews has met with each school principal to review the school's performance and discuss ways of improving it. "That is our goal, to have every school making solid progress toward reaching these goals," said Douglas Neilson, spokesman for city schools.
But systemwide, Baltimore is not expecting to achieve satisfactory ratings in some areas for years, Mr. Neilson said.
Although a large majority of elementary schools do not achieve satisfactory grades in either promotion or attendance, there are exceptions. Ashburton, Gardenville, Glenmount, Medfield Heights, Morrell Park and Woodhome elementary schools all rated satisfactorily in both categories.
No Baltimore middle school rated satisfactory in both areas.
Only one high school -- Baltimore Polytechnic Institute -- measured satisfactorily in all seven categories used to measure secondary schools. The school, in fact, rated "excellent" in every area except attendance.