BALTIMORE (WJZ)—New test scores released from the U.S. Department of Education show Baltimore City students are lagging behind other big district schools when it comes to science.
Gigi Barnett explains city school leaders are on a mission to turn that around.
At Thomas Johnson Elementary/Middle School in Federal Hill, science is hands-on. City school leaders want more of it since new test scores unveiled by the U.S. Department of Education show Baltimore students are falling far behind in science.
City Schools CEO Dr. Andres Alonso says he anticipated low test scores in the science portion of the Trial Urban District Assessment test also called the TUDA exam. He says in recent years his office focused on improving reading and math scores.
Science was put on a bunsen burner.
“We don’t want to be in the bottom three or the bottom five of anything. It’s not in our nature anymore. We have spent an astonishing amount of energy getting out of being 24th in Maryland,” Alonso said.
The TUDA test also shows school districts how they compare with other schools nationwide. In science, Baltimore is behind large cities like New York, Boston and Chicago.
Now Alonso is taking some big steps to boost summer science programs, add more workshops for science teachers and include science in core subjects, like reading and math.
“A great example of that is we are supporting our schools with more classroom libraries,” Alonso said. “A majority of those new classroom libraries need to have a significant portion of science/non-fiction texts.”
One part of the city’s plan to boost its science test scores calls for better labs, bigger classrooms and more equipment. But that all comes with a $250 million price tag.
“Of course, I’m going to say that the resources matter tremendously and you saw those charts,” Alonso said. “But in this case I can tell you that if a subject is not being taught, nobody should be expecting those kids to do well.”
So far city school leaders have spent more than $16 million upgrading science labs.