Thursday, June 23, 2011

Rolley urges vouchers, mayoral control of Baltimore schools

I hope you'll join me in supporting Otis Rolley, the former board chair of KIPP Baltimore, who is running for mayor and (not surprisingly) REALLY gets education reform and has even called for vouchers!  Attached is his platform on education.  To donate, you can go to or mail a check to (max $4,000):


Friends of Otis Rolley
PO Box 2441
Baltimore, MD 21203


Here's his letter to supporters:

Dear friends:

            Just a short time ago, I left the School District's headquarters on North Avenue where I detailed my plan to begin to fix Baltimore's education system.

My plan is based on four direct, concrete steps to improve Baltimore's education system:

·       Increase accountability for schools' results by returning control of the schools to the City.

·       Help children escape the worst performing schools through limited and targeted education vouchers.

·       Build or rehabilitate more than 50 schools in 10 years through public-private partnerships.

·       Expand the number and quality of charter schools.

            My plan is far-reaching.  It is ambitious.  And it is needed.  Only 39% of our graduating seniors are considered to be college ready or ready for job training programs.  That's shameful.  It limits their future and it limits Baltimore's.  It will take real leadership from the Mayor's office to make it work.

Some of the defenders of the current system will argue that my proposals are an attack on public education.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  I am a proud graduate of public schools and my daughter attends public school, as will my younger children when they are old enough.

            Rather, my plan is a defense of our children. They deserve an opportunity to a quality education too many of them do not currently receive.  But fixing Baltimore's education system isn't just about our kids' future.  It's about Baltimore's too. 

We know that people are leaving Baltimore and that schools are among the reasons why.  More than 30,000 people left the city over the last decade, making Baltimore the only major city in the Northeast corridor to lose population.  Even if we continue the recent rate of progress we've seen, it will be another 40-50 years before the schools are as good as the suburbs'.  I do not believe we should write off another two generations of students and I know we cannot afford another 120,000 to 150,000 people leave our city for better schools.

If we don't fix Baltimore's schools we aren't just risking the future of the kids in schools – we're risking Baltimore's future.

That's why we must be bold.  We must elevate Baltimore.


And here's a link to an article about Rolley's plan in the Baltimore Sun:


Mayoral candidate and former city planning director Otis Rolley III has vowed to offer private school vouchers to students zoned to attend failing middle schools and says he would lobby to restore mayoral control to the city school system.

"Our future is directly tied to the success or failure of our schools," Rolley said in an interview. He is slated to unveil his education plan across from school headquarters on North Avenue on Monday.

Rolley, whose eldest daughter is a third-grade student at Roland Park Elementary School, believes better schools would keep more families in Baltimore and persuade others to move to the city.

His education plan calls for closing Baltimore's five worst-performing middle schools and giving students $10,000 vouchers to use at private or parochial schools. The students would also be able to attend the public middle school of their choice under his plan.

"It's in middle school that we're losing kids," he said. "I think it's crucial when we're talking about rebuilding Baltimore to have a real choice for parents."

His education platform represents a departure from the current administration and the other mayoral challengers.


Rolley urges vouchers, mayoral control of Baltimore schools

Mayoral candidate releases 'radical' education platform

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