Midday Newsmaker: Dr. Sonja Santelises | WYPR

Midday Newsmaker: Dr. Sonja Santelises

Jan 17, 2018

Dr. Sonja Santelises is the CEO of Baltimore City Public Schools.

Today, Dr. Sonja Santelises, the CEO of the Baltimore City Public Schools joins Tom in Studio A for a conversation about the state of the city's school system. With nearly 60 schools closed due to the cold earlier this month and accusations of funding impropriety from the governor, mayor and parents, BCPS faces increased scrutiny and pressure to educate and provide for its students. 

At a press conference announcing $2.5 million in emergency funding for City Schools, Gov. Larry Hogan pointed to mismanagement and a lack of accountability, and he called for a newly created Investigator General to be embedded in the Department of Education to oversee state grants to the city.

All these conflicts arise as BCPS continues to educate a student population disproportionately affected by poverty and racial injustice.

In an essay in the Baltimore Sun last spring, the chair of the social studies department at City College High School, reported that 99% of their students were accepted into college. Universities like Howard, Georgetown, Bowdoin, Grinnell, UMBC,  and Temple all now include students of color whose entire pre-college career was spent in with the BCPS. 

More than 60% of these students at City College High School are eligible, under federal guidelines, to receive free and Reduced meals which are only given to students from low-income households.  Many of these Baltimore City students are now the first in their families to attend college.

Tom and Dr. Santelises discuss the problems Baltimore's schools continue to face and how the city can avoid these problems in the future.