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 Lauraville CSA, we heard from 13 participants. We held one ‘kitchen table conversation’ in this CSA, which took place at a private residence on June 9, 2014. Along with this conversation, we received additional responses via an online survey. All 13 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 discussed district policies and practices, and how frustrating the City Schools bureaucracy is. Participants shared how challenging the school choice process can be for parents, and also shared the opinion that underperforming teachers need to be let go.
- There was also discussion about community and parental involvement in schools. Participants suggested that schools should host more community meetings and community events, and in general schools need to improve their partnerships with the community.
- Participants talked about standards, curriculum, and instruction, and specifically how they thought that there should be more elective class options for students and multiple curricular pathways for students. They also shared the opinion that schools should prepare students with an education that prepares them for the real world and for employment.
- Respondents discussed student behavior and discipline, and how schools need to find the proper balance between improving student safety and overly strict discipline systems.