Bridging the Divide: A Conversation with Teach for America-Baltimore Exec Courtney Cass

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Courtesy Citybizlist -This year is Teach for America’s (TFA) 20th anniversary of working in Baltimore. Rather than simply celebrate that milestone, Courtney Cass, Baltimore’s Executive Director, has organized anEducational Equity Summit on October 20th, comprised of break out groups and programs with education thought leaders, all in an effort to extend TFA’s impact in Baltimore. Earlier this summer I sat down with Courtney as she was beginning to plan this event to explore the impact TFA has had on our community.

Two Worlds. Courtney is not at all confused about the work that needs to be done in our schools. While many continue to rank Maryland as the number one state in the country for education, in Baltimore City we have more than a third of our students living in poverty, 40% failing to graduate from high school and less than one child in six graduating from college. Test scores only further underscore the stark differences within our state. Recent Maryland School Assessment data shows only 59% of City eighth graders are proficient in reading and 40% are proficient in math, where in Howard County the proficiencies are 91% and 86% respectively. While there have been improvements in enrollment, graduation rates, and standardized test scores, work remains to be done. This is where TFA’s Educational Equity Summit comes into the story.

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