Education | WYPR

Education

Education reporting on WYPR is supported in part by the Sylvan-Laureate Foundation.

Students at predominately white Westminster High School fought back Wednesday after administrators removed posters promoting diversity. More than a third of them showed up wearing T-shirts modeled after the posters.

But things didn’t go exactly as planned at this Carroll County school that’s 87 percent white. A bomb threat led to the evacuation of the school in the afternoon just as thunderstorms rolled into Westminster. The students returned about a half hour before dismissal, some of them rattled by the threat.

John Lee / WYPR

Last week Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh said she would update plans to shrink the city school’s $130 million budget shortfall. Monday, she and city officials unveiled that plan.

Jonna McKone

With Baltimore city schools facing a $130 million shortfall-- roughly 10 percent of the annual budget—schools CEO Sonja Santelises has warned of painful cuts, including teacher layoffs.

Some of the specifics are beginning to take shape as school principals received their budgets last week.

Job Grotsky, the principal at Mount Royal Elementary in Bolton Hill says next year’s budget is significantly smaller than in the past.  He’s probably going to lay off nine people, some of them teachers.

“As a result we basically have to build the school from the ground up,” he said.

Rachel Baye

  

Just before the U.S. Senate confirmed Betsy DeVos Tuesday, Democrats in Annapolis held a press conference tying Republican Gov. Larry Hogan to the controversial new education secretary.

Jonna McKone

For the fifth time in ten years, a Maryland teacher is one of four finalists for the National Teacher of the Year award.  Athanasia Kyriakakos is the first Baltimore City teacher to reach those heights.

Kyriakakos, the only visual arts teacher at Mergenthaler Vocational Technical High School, or Mervo, was chosen for her dedication to her students and her commitment to teaching art as a critical thinking skill.

She started at Mervo, the biggest high school in Baltimore, four years ago and found the school didn’t do much in the way of proudly showcasing its students’ work in the glass display cases that line the halls.

Jonna McKone

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Coleman Report, a landmark study led by then Johns Hopkins University sociologist James Coleman. The study found an enormous achievement gap on test scores between black and white children and was the basis for the busing programs of the 70’s to achieve racial balance in schools.

State and federal programs have poured billions of dollars into some of the nation’s worst schools since 2009 in hopes of making improvements. But once those schools show progress, the money disappears, and they risk sliding backward.

Commodore John Rodgers Elementary and Middle School in East Baltimore is one of those schools. After drastically improving test scores, school climate, enrollment and absenteeism, it is no longer eligible for turn around funding.

More than half of Maryland’s students who took standardized tests last spring failed them, according to the state Department of Education.

The department released scores on the 2016 Partnership for the Assessment of Readiness for College and Career (PARCC) tests Tuesday which showed overall, modest gains throughout the state. The percentage of students passing the English test was essentially flat, but the percentage of African American and Hispanic students passing showed a small positive gain.

Being a first year teacher often means instructing with limited classroom experience and Baltimore City Public Schools, like many urban school districts, has more inexperienced teachers than suburban school districts.  A local program, called Urban Teachers, grown out of former educators’ experience working in Baltimore’s central office, is trying to change that.  

Ms. Tierra Woods is greeting her 4th grade math class as they shuffle into their seats. She’s a first year teacher, but this isn’t her first time leading a class.

Governor's Office via YouTube

As expected, Governor Larry Hogan signed an executive order today, requiring all Maryland public schools to open after Labor Day, beginning next year. But opponents questioned its legality, and the governor’s motives.

In making his announcement on the boardwalk at Ocean City, the governor said it will help the state’s economy, because families will be able to extend their summer vacations.

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