To Improve Poor Children’s Test Scores, Move Poor Families

June 1998 / Abell Reports / Community Development, Education

It takes a school, a neighborhood, and a family to raise and educate a child successfully. When families are weak, neighborhoods and schools must be stronger to compensate.

Yet in America – and in the Baltimore area – we surround children from the weakest families with the weakest neighborhoods and weakest schools.

Year after year, Baltimore City school children have Maryland’s highest dropout rates and lowest test scores. Finally, in 1997, the Maryland General Assembly committed approximately an extra $50 million a year for five years to the Baltimore City Public Schools.

By coincidence, $50 million a year would be the annual cost of a proposed regional housing mobility policy for poor children and their families – a policy that would not only produce better job opportunities for the children’s parents but also significantly improve the children’s own school performance as well.

This Abell Report will show that, for all elementary schools in Baltimore City and Baltimore County, test results on the Maryland School Performance Assessment Program (MSPAP) are closely related to each school’s percentage of low-income children.