By Raven Moniqu’e Coleman (a Junior at Doris M. Johnson High School in Baltimore City)
I bet the state is content with many of Baltimore City’s students having a bleak future.
In 2000, Judge Joseph H. Kaplan ordered that the state issue adequate funding to the city after he deemed that students would need to receive between $200- $260 million in addition to other funds in order to comply with students’ constitutional rights.
As expected, these demands have yet to be met. I think the state doesn’t want to admit that they set our youth up for failure.
Chris Goodman, an advocate for the Baltimore Algebra Project, was told that his former high school, Baltimore City College, was one of the best schools in the country. Yet, after he saw the reality of student life at Baltimore Country’s Eastern Technical High School, the best was newly defined, and he left saying, “Now this is a real school.” This is because he as many others involved in Baltimore City Schools realize that the city has been and remains neglected by the state. Our money continues to be wedged in the opposite direction of myself and many other students who indeed value their education as well as their future.
By law, theft is a punishable crime, yet the state continues this action without penalty. So, I ask, why isn’t justice being served?
Justice means: our textbooks, our computers, our teachers, our building construction, our paper, our lab equipment, our after-school honors and special education programs – that according to congress were originally supposed to receive 40% of their funds from the federal government. This stipulation hasn’t been met and shockingly, in 1996, Baltimore received only 4% of what was allocated. This proves that the state has schemed for many years.
Without education, students are rafts potentially heading for a large waterfall, meaning that their futures may meet a disturbing downfall where all possibilities for their lives are lost. These justices mentioned are only few of the things city school students need in order to avoid this downfall.
On many occasions, I, along with other students and staff at Doris M. Johnson High School in Baltimore City, have discussed changes that must be made. Unfortunately for Baltimore City’s youth, money is the fuel we need to keep students’ potential running.
It’s funny how the federal government’s No Child Left Behind Act supposedly ensures that no child is left behind, yet in reality the only thing happening is the opposite of its purpose.
Students are being robbed of opportunities, their rights, and their lives in general because the government chooses to be self-centered and corrupt. The reality is that there is only one solution to these problems. The state needs to do its job. We want to see change, meaning funding, not eluded promises which is all we have seen up until this point in time. How are we to succeed if we are constantly being left behind?