Toward the end of 2013, the Fund for Educational Excellence embarked on an intensive study of Baltimore residents’ views on their public schools. Over the course of four months in 2014, we heard from 859 Baltimore residents representing all 55 community statistical areas (CSAs) in Baltimore City through a series of intimate conversations about schools and neighborhoods.
In the Harford/Echodale CSA, we heard from 17 participants. We collected most of these responses via one-on-one conversations with residents of the CSA, along with one response via an online survey. All 17 participants chose to submit at least some demographic data.
Some of the themes that we heard most often from participants in our discussions included:
- Participants focused on activities and options for students, clearly requesting additional extracurricular activities and afterschool programming. Respondents also shared praise for the summer programming that is currently offered.
- We heard mixed opinions about school quality, with some participants talking about great schools in the district, and others describing schools in general as inadequate.
- Respondents also shared their opinions about district policies and practices. Participants suggested that the district create incentive programs to increase attendance and decrease the drop-out rate, and also requested that schools be given more autonomy to fundraise.