Keep focus on achievement in Balto. Co. schools

December 20, 2010

Now that the General Assembly session is about to begin, the Baltimore County political delegation should turn their focus to securing funding to sustain the Baltimore County Public Schools' (BCPS) decade-long success in raising achievement for all students, regardless of their zip code. BCPS continues to be ranked one of the best in the nation among large, diverse, urban school systems. A good example of this is Millbrook Elementary School's recent national recognition for progress in closing the achievement gap. As demonstrated in BCPS' Blueprint for Progress, the focus should always be about the students and making sure more students do well in math, reading and language arts.

The Sun's Dec. 15, "Census shows Maryland No. 1 in Wealth," says that poverty rates have climbed in some counties, including Baltimore County. The article noted "the mix of residents of Baltimore's suburbs shifted noticeably. For example, in Baltimore County, the region's largest locality, the poverty rate increased significantly."

Superintendent Joe A. Hairston and the members of the school board are forward thinkers and have reacted accordingly to this demographic inversion. Still, more has to be done to sustain the school system as it meets these demographic challenges and maintains higher standards for all students. I strongly encourage the media, government officials, educators and parents to elevate the education discussion to student achievement and all that can be done to assist students to meet higher goals.

Carl W. Bailey Jr., Baltimore

The writer is chairman of the Baltimore County Public Schools' Diversity and Achievement Steering Committee.

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