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Baltimore Schools Set Performance Goals

Nov 24, 2007
All school systems should have goals. These goals must be attainable, however. While these centers of learning must know where they headed and how they are going to get there, it seems that they are becoming more and more unreasonable in their expectations. Perhaps they should be classified more as performance dreams; because no matter how many times you write "all students will..." doesn't mean it's going to happen. Baltimore Schools, just like many others throughout the nation, have these types of goals, while they might be admirable, they're completely unattainable.

Performance Wishes of Baltimore Schools

Baltimore Schools list eight performance goals as part of their mission of education. Some of them are more attainable than others, but none of them can be completely accomplished. This is simply due to the fact that schools are run by and inhabited by humans. We are not perfect, and are completely fallible. Just because students attend Baltimore Schools and teachers teach at Baltimore Schools does not mean that they are better than any others attending or teaching at any other school in the United States. Of course, we must hold all to high standards, but it must be with the understanding that not everyone is going to succeed at the same level.

For example, the Baltimore County public schools performance goal 1 states that by 2012 that ALL students will reach proficiency in all core subjects - Reading, Language Arts, Mathematics, Science, and Social Studies. Well, my friends, while they can all try to do their best, not all students are going to be able to do this. Whether it's peer pressure, lack of parental support, unavoidable family troubles, low socio-economic background, or simply a learning disability, not ALL kids will achieve this goal.

Performance Goal 2 states basically the same thing as #1, but specifically targets ESL students -those who have English as a Second Language. I am not by any means suggesting that these Baltimore Schools' students can't reach this goal, or that they aren't as intelligent as their American Baltimore Schools peers. I propose a simple example: What about the student who moves to and enrolls in one of the Baltimore Schools from Germany in the 12th grade, or what if a 4th grader moves in from Peru in May of the school year? You get the idea.

Baltimore Schools Seek Perfect Teachers

Baltimore Schools' Performance Goal 4 is also challenging to fulfill. It states that ALL students will be taught by highly qualified Baltimore Schools teachers. Indeed, they have a right to be. But quite frankly, every school has more than one teacher who can't wait for retirement, is stuck in a job they greatly dislike, or is suffering from burnout. They may have family troubles or stress like a move, a divorce, or serious illness to contend with that leads them to give a less than perfect performance each day.

While not all the Performance Goals set forth by Baltimore Schools' leaders are pipe dreams, it would be nice to see an understanding of the hard work required to accomplish these goals reflected in goals which are truly attainable.
About the Author
Patricia Hawke is a staff writer for Schools K-12, providing free, in-depth reports on all U.S. public and private K-12 schools. For more information please visit Baltimore County Public Schools
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