Handful of parents protest Brehms Lane school principal

June 11, 1998|By Kirsten Scharnberg | Kirsten Scharnberg,SUN STAFF

With just days left in the academic year, controversy continues to swirl around Baltimore school principals.

While some parents are opposing the recent removal of some school leaders because of poor school performance, others want their principals gone.

This week, a handful of parents protested outside Brehms Lane Elementary, carrying signs reading "Help Our Kids" and urging school board officials to replace Principal Jean Greek. The parents picketed Tuesday morning and yesterday, disrupting the students' fifth-grade graduation ceremony.

"Mrs. Greek has got to go," said Vonda Horsey, the parent of a fourth-grader at Brehms Lane. "Our children are not getting a good education under her leadership. She is just a poor academic leader."

The parents say Greek is "pushing under-educated children through school just to get them out of there." They further say large numbers of children at the school can't complete basic reading and writing exercises, but are being graduated from elementary school anyway.

Greek, who is in her second year as principal of Brehms Lane, scoffed at the parents' comments.

"I've got 900 little bodies that come to me for an education every day," she said. "That means there are well over 900 parents out there who deal with me. The fact that five people out of 900 showed up to protest has to show you that the majority of parents involved with this school are happy with the education their children are receiving."

Greek had statistics to back up her side of the story.

This year, the school is holding back 40 to 50 students whose teachers have determined they are unable to advance to the next grade. "We are hardly pushing kids through here," Greek said. "If they need extra help, they are getting it."

Last year, the school's scores on the Maryland School Performance Assessment Test increased, and its student attendance was in the 96th percentile for the state.

Other Baltimore schools have seen changes in recent weeks. At least five principals have been removed from their jobs in the past week in an effort to change leadership at some of the poorest performing schools, and that number could rise to as high as 15.

Pub Date: 6/11/98

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