BCS CEO Sonja Santelises on Inexperienced Teachers in Poverty-Stricken Baltimore City Schools

Baltimore City Public Schools CEO Sonja Santelises is pictured here. This image is courtesy of the Baltimore Sun.

Baltimore City Public Schools CEO Sonja Santelises, pictured here, believes more experienced teachers could pave the way for children living and learning in poverty. This image is courtesy of the Baltimore Sun.

This season, we have been doing our best to shed light on the strong link between poverty as it relates to education. There are several factors that can contribute to a child living in poverty, and several more factors that can determine how effective their educational experience is in the city. Last week, the Baltimore Sun reported on what Baltimore City Schools CEO Sonja Santelises believes could improve education in areas of poverty. Let us share this information with you.

The Pattern of New Teachers in Baltimore City Schools

It is no secret that working with students who live in poverty can prove to be a challenging task for any teacher – much less a brand new college graduate. These children are often behind educationally, requiring more patience and attention. There may also be unanticipated behavioral issues. However, these new teachers are often the first ones up for the task because they are in search of work and experience. Choosing to be a teacher for a living is an admirable career choice, but Baltimore City Schools CEO Sonja Santelises wonders if inexperienced teachers are the right choice for low-income students.

Baltimore City Schools CEO Sonja Santelises on Poverty and Education

The Baltimore Sun reported that Santelises, “believes schools in pockets of concentrated poverty will improve is she can provide them with better teachers, offer their students a richer curriculum and leverage the sometimes unrecognized strengths of people within their communities.” According to Santelises, “The higher the concentration of poverty, the more likely a student in the community is to have new teachers,” noting that some schools have increasingly more students living in poverty than others.

The 50th Anniversary of the Coleman Report in Baltimore

Santelises spoke about this issue as part of a panel of educators at the Johns Hopkins University’s School of Education, who held a two-day celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Coleman Report. The report, a 700-page landmark publication that has shaped education research and school reform for five decades, was first written by Hopkins’ faculty member James Coleman during a time of dramatic segregation in the city. As the Baltimore Sun reports, the average city school in Baltimore is still 97 percent black. While Santelises has not identified a specific solution for Baltimore City Schools yet, she said she will be analyzing what is working for other school districts across the nation that have successfully found one.

Talk to My Brother’s Keeper About Helping Break the Cycle of Poverty

To learn more about our youth programs, Attendance Affirmation Project, how to help, or to find out more about our services including hot meal programs, employment assistance, health services and identifying possible emergency shelter, call MBK today at 410-644-3194. You can also follow our official MBK page on Google+, Pinterest, Twitter, and Facebook, to stay up to date on our center’s progress and upcoming events in the community.

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