Buildings for Academic Excellence

June 2010 / Abell-Supported Research / Education

A vision and options to address deficient school facilities in Baltimore City.

Several years ago, Chris, a Baltimore City 9th grade student, visited a public school in a nearby suburb and was utterly shocked by what he saw. Unlike the common conditions in Baltimore City schools, this suburban school was inviting and warm: bright hallways, a modern computer lab, transparent windows, and a well-equipped library. The stark disparity in school facility conditions between the city and surrounding suburbs that Chris saw prompted him to become an education advocate for all Baltimore City school students. While his and other student efforts are critically needed, the broader Baltimore community must join him and face this glaring disparity.

This report, “Buildings for Academic Excellence,” urgently asks city, state, and federal officials, and the greater Baltimore community, to act now to improve the substandard physical condition of city school buildings. It is unacceptable – as well as unconstitutional – to deprive city students of adequate school facilities and an equal opportunity in education. The modernization of school buildings is integral to Baltimore’s education reform effort. To help both students and teachers succeed, state and city leaders must make school facility improvements a higher priority.