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Baltimore City Schools Among Lowest In Maryland's New Public School Rankings

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The stats are out, and at the bottom of the rankings- Baltimore City Schools.

Maryland released its new five-star system of public school rankings.

The good news is that the majority of schools in the state got four or five stars, however, most of the lowest rankings were assigned to Baltimore City Schools.

The federal government requires each state to have an education accountability system, and rather than relying on test scores, Maryland is using a more holistic approach.

"It's not just academics, it's about access to a well-rounded curriculum and next year we'll be adding a survey, a climate survey so both teachers and students can weigh in on their school climate," said Maryland School Superintendent Karen Salmon.

The system ranks schools by one to five stars.

60 percent received four or five stars statewide, 95 percent of Carroll County schools, 91 percent of Howard County schools and 60 percent of Baltimore County schools received four or five stars.

"I think this is the first time, almost in state history, that we have been able to give our school systems, our communities, our parents this much information about their schools," Salmon said.

She said it also shows where most attention is needed. 35 schools in Maryland received one star, 23 of them in low-income Baltimore City neighborhoods.

Robert Helfenbein, Loyola Associate Dean of Education, said the system shows a disparity in opportunity rather than in achievement.

"All you have to do is take a look at the schools and the ratings that they had and compare that with school funding formulas as we know there's some pretty deep inequity in how schools are funded, and it's a system that makes it very difficult for poor schools to do well and that's a problem," Helfenbein said.

The State Department of Education intends to address that.

"There'll be some funding that go to those school systems and we'll be working very hard to do whatever we can to support those schools so the students can have access to a great school," Salmon said.

The Department of Education said it hopes this system will also inspire more parents to get involved.

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