Baltimore draws much of its character and potential from the strength of its neighborhood communities, but great disparity exists from one community to the next. In Baltimore, the neighborhood where a child is born too often dictates his or her academic destiny and access to life opportunities. Based on the most recent Maryland School Assessment (MSA) data, only 59% of eighth graders are proficient in reading and just 40% are proficient in math compared to 91% and 86%, respectively, in Howard County. For the past four years, Newsweek, Education Week, and the College Board have ranked Maryland as the number one state in the country for education. At the same time, in Baltimore, where more than a third of our students are living in poverty, 40% of students fail to graduate from high school and less than one child in six will graduate from college.
Teach For America’s deep investment in Baltimore over the past 20 years has shown that great leaders in classrooms, schools, and systems have the potential to significantly shift academic trajectories and life opportunities for Baltimore’s young people. We are heartened by the recent progress in our city’s schools—enrollment, graduation rates, and standardized test scores have all improved over the past five years. But, we remain acutely aware that Teach For America must continue our efforts to ensure that all students in Baltimore have access to the same excellent public education.
We are embarking on an ambitious four-year strategy to recruit 1,000 corps members to Maryland (800 to Baltimore) and grow our alumni base to more than 1,000 alumni living and working in Baltimore. This infusion of talent will include 40 alumni principals, a force of corps member and alumni teachers pursuing dramatic progress with their students, and a force of alumni and education champions working in the public and private sectors to bring us closer to achieving educational equity for all students in Maryland.