Using the schools as leverage for neighborhoods

Friday, November 1, 2013

The planning is underway in Baltimore's $1 billion-plus, decade-long effort to bring public schools into the 21st century — in fact, there's a design expo at Morgan State University this weekend — which means we have entered a seminal period in the city's history.

I'm sure that sounds grandiose. So let me concede a point to the jaded and the cynical who reject the possibility of The Next Big Thing ever coming to the Queen City of the Patapsco Drainage Basin.

The city's long recovery from the loss of unionized manufacturing jobs and middle-class families, the epoch of drug addiction and violence, the years of declining schools and neighborhoods — all of that has left many of us (maybe most of us) suspicious of anything that claims to be "transformative." We've heard such talk before—remember Mayor Martin O'Malley and "Believe"?—but this time, the potential has not been overstated.

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