A recently released independent evaluation of two dozen Baltimore City schools conducted in 2011 suggests that even though the system has introduced important reforms in recent years, too many schools are still struggling to find effective ways to educate children.
Yet educators should take heart from two bright spots in the report. Both the Mount Royal Elementary School and the Baltimore School for the Arts got positive ratings for effective teaching, and their example strongly suggests that with the right leadership, instructional methods and support structure, all kids have the potential to excel.
The challenge will be to replicate these successful models in other schools so that the kind of highly effective teaching they exemplify becomes the rule rather than the exception.
Granted, the teaching model at the Baltimore School for the Arts, which has is own specialized curriculum as well as a state-of-the-art, custom-built facility, may be hard to duplicate at other city high schools. But that's surely not the case with Mount Royal Elementary, an inner-city school where students have racked up consistently high scores on state standardized reading and math tests for more than a decade.