City schools' parent advisory group: We must continue to support our children
The Parent Community Advisory Board (PCAB) released the following statement about this year's MSA scores.
We Must Continue to Support our Children
The Parent and Community Advisory Board serves to advise the CEO of Baltimore City Public Schools and the Baltimore City Board of School Commissioners regarding ways in which parents, families, the community and educators can best collaborate to help our children succeed.
In that capacity, we are writing to express our confidence in the students of Baltimore City Public School System and do not want them labeled as cheaters throughout the State of Maryland and beyond.
As we are all aware, the 2011 Maryland School Assessment results reflected a dip in student performance in reading and math. While this is naturally cause for concern, we have been assured that the school system is taking all appropriate steps to understand the underlying reasons for this decline, in an atmosphere of candor and transparency. Our primary concern is that of our children and that the public does not lose sight of the significant progress our children have made over the past years.
It is our understanding that there are a number of variables that could contribute to this year’s test results. Student mobility, the impact of city-wide programs and school mergers. Finally, the same mobility factors can be applied to the teaching staff and principals at many schools. When a school experiences changes in structure, make-up and staff, student achievement could be affected in the short term.
In the midst of the important conversation around what do the test scores mean and what are our next steps, we feel it is essential that we recognize the hard work of our children and the progress they have achieved. Since 2004, student scores in reading have improved by 20.2 percentage points – and 12.3 percentage points since 2007. In math, student scores have risen by 27.9 percentage points since 2004 and 13.6 percentage points since 2007. We want to ensure that our children and families do not lose sight of what we have collectively achieved thus far through dedication and commitment to their education.
At the same time, this one-year setback should serve as a reminder to our school communities that we can never relax on our educational commitment to our children and their schools. As parents and community members, we are also accountable – and we must intensify our engagement with our children’s education by volunteering in the schools and working with them at home. The significant improvements we have witnessed in Baltimore City School System are the result of a dedicated collaboration among students, families, community members, and educators over the course of months and years. Further improvement will require a higher level of commitment over the years to come.
Let’s keep that progress in mind as we roll up our sleeves and get back to work for our children. They deserve the best education we can provide, and the Parent and Community Advisory Board is asking all parents and community members to step up and participate at your child’s school to provide support that will give them the confidence and skills needed to succeed.
Parent and Community Advisory Board