The nitty-gritty of reporting public education

By: Carley Milligan, Editor-in-Chief

This week’s cover story had a lot of moving parts to it. Like, a lot of pieces, facts, statistics, hours of quotes and information, and most challenging of all, emotion.

When I went into writing the article I frankly had no idea where it was going to take me. I had been thinking a lot about Baltimore County and City schools. I also knew that we had a new Dean of the College of Education whom I had not yet had the pleasure of meeting, and that within that same historic college, a long history as Maryland’s largest producer of educators.

I realized that it had been far too long since The Towerlight checked in with the College of Education, and looked into what exactly they were doing over there in Hawkins Hall. I was also curious to know what those in the college were doing about the low test scores, GPAs and college enrollment rates of Baltimore City and County students right in their own backyard.

What I uncovered was far more than I had ever anticipated. Every single person I spoke with, whether they were quoted in the article or not, had a million different ways to talk about a million different problems, plans, initiatives and individuals, and were passionate about every single one of them. This is probably why all three of my primary interviews clocked in at about an hour in length, each.

I learned about the many different programs, scholarships and people who are working tirelessly everyday to help students in Baltimore City and County public schools, even if doing so isn’t a part of their everyday job at the University.

However, the one thing I found difficult to relate when writing my article was the disappointment that despite all of the initiatives, programs and hardworking, passionate people, the numbers of student test scores, GPAs, and enrollment in higher education did not appear to be increasing.

As one can see in the article, there are a number of reasons why this may be, but after speaking with a range of University individuals from students, to faculty and staff, I feel hopeful that a primary cause of this problem is just now beginning to be solved. That is, that high school students are not being informed about college early enough.

Of course the still somewhat vocal child in me wants to scream, “No, they are only children! Don’t make them deal with the hell that is the college application process yet!” However, one must be realistic and come to terms with the fact that if these eighth and ninth graders do not start understanding the seriousness of life after graduation early enough, they simply might not have any options available to them by the time they are nearing on their high school graduation.
The reality of the education system in the United States, in particular in urban areas is a large and scary pill to swallow.

Honestly, every education course should come with a warning label that reads, “Caution: Choking Hazard.”
But when you dive into it and start to look at the people who are working to correct these massive governmental and social oversights, it makes it just a little bit more manageable because these are people who really, truly care about the work that they are doing. And that is a beautiful thing to see.

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