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Schools

Education Reform Theories Get Tested in East Baltimore

1 Written by: | Thursday, Sep 08, 2011 12:00am

According to friends of mine who’ve gotten Master’s degrees in education, going to school for teaching can sometimes feel a little backward — after all, the most important learning happens when you’re at the front of the classroom.

Plenty of learning will happen for teachers and students alike when Johns Hopkins’ School of Education and Morgan State’s School of Education and Urban Studies take over the daily operations of an East Baltimore school this fall, putting all those theories about “best teaching practices” and “urban-based K-8 education” to the test.

The dean of the Hopkins School of Education says he’s looking forward to putting education reform ideas into practice:  “Johns Hopkins is involved with this school because we can make a difference. We are committed to reducing the achievement gap and making this a demonstration site of best practices. We like to say this is a small school that will leave a big footprint.”

And the school won’t be staying small for long. As it stands now, the charter school has been operational for 3 years, and serves approximately 260 students. In a couple years, though, it’ll re-open as a 90,000 square foot facility with a capacity for 540 students, the first new school built in East Baltimore in a quarter century.

And in an ideal world, Hopkins employees who live and work in the area will happily send their kids to the public school that their institution helped to reform. A lofty-but-reachable goal? Or an impossible dream? Let us know what you think.

Leave a Reply

  • Anonymous

    I wish them all the best and hope for success for both the school and the students. It will be interesting to see how JHU intends to manage the difficulties faced by so many urban children. How will they get parents to monitor homework, attend school meetings, teach the children simple manners, and give those young minds something to work with beyond TV sets; all while struggling to maintain a household with one parent, earning $300/wk or less? Gee, I can barely feed us and the cats on that much, much less buy books, clothes and busfare.
    The new admin plans to “use best practices” in the new school setting. Will this be another re-design of the sort we see every 15 or 20 years? Shuffle the chairs, and call it new? Or will they start from where the kids really are, and lead – not push but lead – them into a learning habit that will stay with them after the bell rings? And after they leave that school, will they have the support to continue? This is tough stuff – - if it were easy, it would have been done already!



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