State school systems told to bone up; new standards revive chance of lawsuit
The state's school systems knew bad news was coming, and they got it.
The schools got their first report cards since the State Board of Education approved tougher performance standards last spring under pressure from Gov. William Donald Schaefer and the General Assembly. None of the 24 systems passed all eight categories of achievement listed by the Department of Education, which issued the reports. Howard County passed seven of the eight and Frederick and Montgomery passed six. But Baltimore City failed in all eight, Anne Arundel passed only two; and Baltimore County passed just four. "This is a new way of doing business in Maryland," said a determinedly upbeat Joseph L. Shilling, the state superintendent of schools. "On a statewide basis, we don't meet very many standards, but this is a benchmark that shows where we are so we can develop a road map to improvement." The report cards raised the possibility that Maryland's poorer school systems might try again to sue the state for equal school spending.
Get kids out of high-rises, report asks
High-rise public housing is no place for children, especially if it's as crime- and violence-ridden as Baltimore's, according to a special task force that wants the city to move families with children to other housing units. But the task force is still considering whether the city's 18 dilapidated family high-rises -- home to 2,000 people -- should continue to be managed by the city or sold to private developers. The task force -- which included residents of public housing, politicians, education officials, lawyers and leaders of housing advocacy groups -- was established in February by Robert W. Hearn, executive director of the Baltimore Housing Authority, to determine the best use for more than $100 million in federal funds that the Housing Authority expects to receive over the next 10 years. It made its report in a letter to Mr. Hearn and Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke, but still must make its final recommendations, and they will be subject to the approval of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the availability of other housing.