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ERIC Number: ED505853
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2005-Dec
Pages: 6
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
Special Education in the Baltimore City High Schools: Perspectives, Challenges, Recommendations. The Abell Report. Volume 18, No.5
Abell Foundation
Special education in Baltimore City--the educational program for students with certain mental, emotional, or physical disabilities--has been a nagging, intractable, and very public problem for at least 25 years. Community leaders have been mindful of the inequities that undermine the education of students with disabilities and continue to address the problem. Many solutions have been tried, and some are still in the introductory stages. This article provides a picture of special education in Baltimore City's high schools and compares Baltimore's efforts and outcomes with those of other cities. It also introduces the perspectives of those involved in special education and makes recommendations. To the students and their parents, special education is a right--a claim on civic resources for an equal education under the law; to the community, it is an obligation to ensure fairness and an opportunity to level the playing field so that more and more students with disabilities can join the community of productive adults. Starting with this year's freshman, high school students must pass Maryland's new High School Assessments (HSA) in order to graduate. As a result, the majority of Baltimore's students with disabilities who would otherwise graduate may be denied diplomas. Shortcomings in achievement among special education students are a pressing concern. BCPSS is not alone in struggling to improve the performance of its special education students. However, low test scores and graduation rates are the norm in urban districts across the country, and no urban school district seems to know to improve these problems without more resources and better research. This article takes a close look at how special education in Baltimore City's high schools is performing and what barriers and needs stand in the way of improvement as a first step in moving forward. Blame, underresourced programs, defeatism, and a focus on compliance at the expense of instruction--none of these will improve special education in Baltimore's high schools. To meet increased expectations and fulfill the community's responsibility to high special education students will require more resources; better communication among the district, schools, staff, parents, and students; and a willingness to take some risks. This study is neither the final word on the state of special education in Baltimore City's high schools nor does it provide the solutions to all the needs that the district has. However, it may provide a useful starting point to aid those who care about special education in Baltimore's high schools as they move forward with plans and discussions. The Abell Report also includes "Abell Salutes", recognizing "The Baltimore Scholars Program" of Johns Hopkins University, for changing lives by changing the rules.
Abell Foundation. 111 South Calvert Street Suite 2300, Baltimore, MD 21202. Tel: 410-545-1300; Fax: 410-539-6579; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Collected Works - Serial; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: High Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Abell Foundation
Identifiers - Location: Maryland