Written by Patricia Hawke for

Most people would agree that most change is for the better. Leaders of Baltimore County Public Schools hold this belief in relation to improving the 180 schools and 82,000 students they serve. They know that for students and their Baltimore Schools, working to enact change is to the benefit of all – since the district is in need of drastic student achievement. A school system that is dire straits, Baltimore Schools are in need of some major overhauling.
To this end, the Baltimore Schools system and administration have adopted a new vision.  This vision hopes to “accelerate student progress through effective implementation of the BCPSS master plan, focusing on quality instruction, managing systems efficiently, and sustaining a culture of excellence.”
Baltimore Schools have set 6 goals for themselves which they believe will help them fulfill this vision. The following is a brief description of the first 3 goals, with this author’s opinion on how to accomplish said goal.
“Goal 1: By 2013-1014, all [Baltimore Schools] students will reach high standards, at a minimum attaining proficiency or better in reading/language arts, and mathematics.” While this is indeed an admirable and necessary goal, it is a difficult one at best.  Baltimore Schools, any school for that matter, strives to improve student achievement.  After all, the purpose of school is to educate students and help them become successful contributors to society. But the difficulty lies in factors that are beyond Baltimore Schools ultimate control.  Poverty, education level of parents, even a good night’s sleep are all factors that are beyond the reach of educators.
“Goal 2: All limited English proficient students [enrolled in Baltimore Schools] will become proficient in English and reach high academic standards, at a minimum attaining proficiency or better in reading/language arts and mathematics.” An important goal, and one that is attainable, improving the achievement levels for LEP students is a given. Just because a person does not have English as their primary language does not mean they are unintelligent and unable to achieve to the highest standards. However, to truly succeed in any American public school, it is important that students are fluent in the language in which they are being instructed.
“Goal 3: By 2005-2006, all core academic subject classes (CAS) will be taught by highly qualified [Baltimore Schools] teachers.”  Again, this goal is obvious. Baltimore Schools Teachers who have no training in education are most likely to fail in the profession.  It has been said (wrongly, in my opinion) that “Those who can do, and those who can’t teach.” Well, let me tell you, not everyone can walk into a classroom, command attention, respect, and discipline, all while facilitating a student’s learning.