Patricia Hawke for

Baltimore Schools are still feeling the effects of reform.  Five years ago in 2002, massive funding went to the Baltimore Schools, which are one of the most under funded school systems in the state.  This particular plan was for improvement concerning six basic standards including academic achievement and curriculum upgrading.  The fact that Baltimore Schools continue to strive for excellence is heartening and shows that the spirit of educators is not daunted by low performance results.  They persevere in the face of disorganization and desire to achieve top marks in school rankings.
Many debate the effectiveness of standardized testing in Baltimore Schools.  These general tests are designed to evaluate the progress of each school.  While the intention is to ensure that all Baltimore Schools are on the same page, the results have not always been positive.  For instance, teachers spend most of the year teaching the test to students.  The type of question and appropriate response are drilled into the minds of test takers.  Baltimore Schools are frantically trying to maintain a standard that will allow them to continue teaching and project good academic standing.  The pressure placed on achieving a good outcome is intense.
The struggle to keep all students on a level playing field was the focal point of the new Baltimore School reform plan.  There was a desire to unify the curriculum and present the same educational opportunity at each school.  Given 20 million dollars in 2002, Baltimore Schools also began reducing classrooms into smaller, more condensed environments.  The general consensus was that this would bring more focus and alleviate distractions encountered in large Baltimore Schools.  Mostly this reform was geared toward neighborhood high schools which are the most crowded and have the lowest graduation percentage.
Five years later, the Baltimore Schools’ reform seems to have had a positive effect.  By rejuvenating the neighborhood schools, students have been exposed to better educational settings.  And now officials in Baltimore Schools have been inspired to continue in this vein.  There is currently a second reform plan in motion, set for 2006-2008.  Baltimore Schools are looking to accelerate the progress of students and better prepare them for college.  Baltimore Schools are practical and stress the need to be ready for a place in the workforce.  They desire quality instruction for their students.  Baltimore Schools are setting a standard of achievement that has revolutionized the educational system in the past five years.  Admittedly, five years is a long time and more attention should be given to the crises of illiteracy and unemployment.  Both these issues begin in failing schools.  But the Baltimore Schools are have shown improvement and are making strides to protect the foundation of a solid education.