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 Madison/East End CSA, we heard from 15 participants. We held one ‘kitchen table conversation’ in this CSA, which took place at the Hattie Harris Community Center in the neighborhood of Milton-Montford on March 12, 2014. Of the 15 participants, 14 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 standards, curriculum, and instruction. The general feeling was that the curriculum is poor, and that schools need to sure that students master the fundamentals. There was also support for increasing the number of vocational programs and schools.
- Respondents talked about school structures and expressed concerns about how neighborhood schools are being closed down. Participants also shared the belief that middle school needs to be separated from high school.
- Participants also discussed activities and options for students, and advocated for bringing back courses like home economics that help prepare kids for the real world.
- People discussed community and parental involvement, and expressed the importance of encouraging parent involvement in student academics.