Bccc, Ccbc Work On Their Abcs

The Education Beat

Colleges: Baltimore City Community College And The Community Colleges Of Baltimore County Have Confusingly Similar Names. Officials Of One System Could Take A Cue From The Other About How To Fix Problems.

April 23, 1997|By Mike Bowler | Mike Bowler,SUN STAFF

BCCC and CCBC. That's the lamentable alphabetical hodgepodge by which Baltimore City and Baltimore County community colleges, respectively, are divided. If it confuses you, rest assured that it also confuses headline writers and Bell Atlantic information operators.

Never mind the thinking, or lack of it, that went into the naming of the two entities.

It is enough to know that the two-campus Baltimore City Community College (BCCC) is celebrating its golden anniversary, while the three-campus Community Colleges of Baltimore County (CCBC) is lurching into its third year like a drunk in a sobriety test.

Things might change for the better under the new CCBC system chairman, Francis X. Kelly, whose first order of business will be to find someone stout-hearted enough to serve as chancellor of the combined Catonsville, Dundalk and Essex colleges in the roiling wake of the fired Daniel J. LaVista.

First, though, more undoing of blunders. The board is spending an amount reported in the six figures to prepare a building on the Catonsville campus for the new chancellor and top bureaucracy. This gets the system out of a $93,000-a-year lease in the high-cotton commercial center of Towson. It's not known what amenities the CCBC board will afford the new leader.

Certainly a private bathroom. A shower?

BCCC, meanwhile, is celebrating.

The former Baltimore Junior College and New Community College of Baltimore and Community College of Baltimore is blowing out candles and beginning to raise an endowment.

President James D. Tschechtelin, in an article in a national community college journal, likens his school to the phoenix risen from its ashes.

"The Community College of Baltimore was in deep trouble with enrollment, finances, management and image," he writes. "The state of Maryland took a bold and unusual step to end the life of one college and create another. With the vision and determination of many talented people, a new college has risen."

BCCC works against great odds. It enrolls 29 percent of the 18,000 Baltimoreans in undergraduate higher education, but 84 percent of the school's freshmen require at least one remedial course. Countering negative economic and educational trends is a constant struggle, says Tschechtelin, who was advised by a friend when he took over seven years ago that he'd "have the life expectancy of a first lieutenant on the beach at Guadalcanal."

He took the job for two years. He's still there.

MSPAP on the right track, according to state study

The Maryland School Performance Assessment Program, which 180,000 Maryland third- , fifth- and eighth-graders know by the tests they're about to take, is on the right track, according to its first large-scale evaluation conducted by the University of Maryland College Park.

The study began in the fall of 1995 and included a review of all research on effective schools and case studies of 15 Maryland schools. Ten of the 15 were identified as successful based on higher-than-expected MSPAP scores.

In the most successful schools, MSPAP was found to be a driving force for instructional change and a "prominent presence in day-to-day teaching activities," said Francine Hultgren, an education professor who directed the case studies.

Researchers for decades have identified the school principal as the key to academic success, and the Maryland study was no exception. "It is not unusual to see these principals teaching demonstration lessons in the classroom as a follow-up to a professional development session," Hultgren said.

College Park ranks 18th in Kiplinger's ratings

Kiplinger's "personal finance magazine" is out with a rating of the "best values" among the nation's state universities, as judged by affordability, access to faculty and achievement. The magazine places the University of Maryland College Park 18th.

Kiplinger's top five schools (in descending order) are familiar faces: the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the University of Virginia, the University of Wisconsin, UCLA and Rutgers. The magazine's bottom five are less well known: South Dakota State University, the University of Nevada Los Vegas, Arizona State University at Tempe and Montana State University in Bozeman, where the skiing must be better than the schooling.

With new plan, EAI shows it learned from experience

Education Alternatives Inc., the Minnesota company that operated nine Baltimore schools for three troubled years and later was kicked out of Hartford, Conn., is trying to tap into the charter school movement. The company will operate a kindergarten charter school in Galloway, N.J., not far from Atlantic City, according to a news release from its public relations agency.

Philip E. Geiger, the president, said EAI also would open a private college preparatory school in Mays Landing, N.J. "Education Alternatives will own and/or operate schools only where it can use its own employees and curriculum under long-term contracts," said the press release. Once burned, twice shy.

Pub Date: 4/23/97

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