Rosetta ‘Dr. Ro’ Stith, EdD, proposed in a letter to the president of the Coalition which sued Maryland to remedy the State’s discrimination against its Historical Black Colleges & Universities that Morgan State University, Maryland’s flagship HBCU, be converted to a University System.
Under a University System model, the campus of the University of Baltimore would be consolidated with the campus of Morgan State.
A new governance structure would be created to administer the two campuses.
Dr. Ro proposed additionally that the Baltimore City Public Schools, which are controlled and funded by the State, be consolidated with the Morgan University System so that the education of children and young adults in Baltimore’s urban center would be controlled under a single administrative structure.
Dr. Ro contends that the consolidation would improve outcomes for students attending Baltimore’s public schools and Maryland’s public colleges.
The text of Dr. Ro’s letter is as follows:
ROSETTA ‘DR. RO’ STITH, EdD
David J. Burton
Diverse Manufacturing Supply Chain Alliance
Dear Mr. Burton:
I thank you, Former MSU President Earl Richardson, MSU President Dr. David Wilson and the other distinguished panelists for the presentations made at the Workshop: “The Plight of HBCU’s: Where Are We and Where We Need to Be,” held on Friday, November 6, 2015, Presidents’ Conference Room, Miller Senate Office Building, Annapolis, Maryland.
It’s apparent from the panel presentations, the reported findings of the federal judge and media coverage about the case that Maryland has engaged in an overt pattern and practice of both ‘benign neglect’ and intentional racial discrimination which has characterized the State’s treatment of MSU and its other HBCU’s since at least 1937 as noted by Dr. E. R. Shipp in her poignant Op-Ed: ‘Md. to address HBCU equity plan,’ The Baltimore Sun [11/16/2015].
Also see, LaTrina Antoine, ‘HBCU’s Impatience with State Persists,’ Afro.com [11/12/2015].
The HBCU’s and the communities they serve simply should not have to wait another 78 years for more findings to be made about the problem. It’s time for something to be done, and to be done now.
As you may know, I directed the nationally renowned Lawrence G. Paquin Junior/Senior High School for Teenage Parenting and Expectant Mothers, BCPS, in East Baltimore for 32 years from 1978 to 2010.
It was the most successful school of its kind in the nation, and only one of 5 such schools ever established in America. I also directed the City-Wide social support and community health services for those students.
I was assisted by Misbah Khan, MD, MPH, FAAC who directed the health clinic housed on the premises of the school, and its community health services which included health education programs for teenage mothers.
I worked in collaboration with and under the leadership of William Donald Schaefer who was Mayor of Baltimore when I was appointed director.
Schaffer was committed to and supported me, Dr. Khan, our team, the school, its programs, the City-Wide services, the at-risk student teenage mothers and their children and families.
Schaefer continued his support during his tenures as Governor and Comptroller of Maryland.
The outcomes for teenage mothers were exceptional.
Over the more than 30 years Dr. Khan, I and our team worked at The Paquin School, more than 20,000 at-risk teenage parents and expectant mothers, who without the school, its programs and support services, would have been on the streets, completed their middle and high school educations, and went on to become successful in their personal lives and careers.
I am a graduate of MSU with a BA degree in Elementary Education. I pursued graduate studies at The Johns Hopkins University earning a MS degree in Urban Studies, and a COAS in Urban Studies/Administration.
I completed doctoral studies at Temple University graduating with a EdD in Urban Studies/Parenting and Expectant Teenage Mothers.
My graduate and doctoral degree programs were completed while I was working full time as an educator and administrator in the BCPS.
After collaborating with my Team, I have concluded that there are initiatives which the State may implement now which are cost effective, and which will remedy many of the effects of the blatant racial discrimination by the State in higher education with respect to MSU and other HBCU’s since 1937.
My observations and recommendations are as follows:
A. Conversion of MSU into an Enterprise University Educational System
I am convinced from the success of The Paquin School model that MSU must become an enterprise university educational system comparable to the University System of Maryland, but different in its mission-that of being the core urban education system of Maryland.
- Under an enterprise model, the University of Baltimore should be consolidated into MSU resulting in a Morgan University System with at least two campuses, Morgan’s Hillen Road campus, and Baltimore’s downtown campus.
Of course, the appropriate governing structure for the System should be created to administer the campuses.
- To fulfill its mission as Maryland’s core urban education system, the State should consolidate the BCPS into the Morgan System.
That way, the governing body of the Morgan System could plan and prescribe the appropriate courses of studies and support programs for urban youth from pre-kindergarten through college and graduate school.
That would not be hard to do since the BCPS is a State controlled and funded local school system.
- In order to give students an option to earn a two year college degree, the State should consolidate Baltimore City Community College, a State controlled and funded community college, into the Morgan System.
4. To offer school age students and their families choice, charter schools should be authorized to opt into the Morgan System.
5. For students and their families who choose the route of trade school education, both private and publicly funded trade schools should be authorized to opt into the Morgan System.
B. Expanded Base for Fundraising and In-Kind Donations
A Morgan System would have the broadest possible base for seeking cash and in-kind donations from the private sector.
It is common knowledge that many successful actors, writers, artists, businessmen, financiers and others attended various public schools of Baltimore, but did not attend private or State colleges in Maryland.
Through its development office, a Morgan System with the BCPS as a component of the System, could appeal to those graduates for major donations because of their affinity to their schools.
Major corporations like Microsoft or Dell would find attractive the prospect of donating computers to a Morgan System because of the sheer mass of children and young adults who could be reached with the donations at one time.
C. State Budget Funds; Remedies for Past Discrimination
First, it’s hard to imagine that the State could complain about the budgetary and fiscal impact of the recommended consolidations. The State already controls and funds the components recommended for consolidation.
Having oversight of the funds previously allocated to the disparate components would enable the admistrators of a Morgan System to take advantage of the savings from the economies of scale associated with the consolidations, and to direct funds to critical areas where more funds are needed.
Second, with respect to remedies for past discrimination, the recommendations go a long way to addressing the issues concerning the deficient and underfunded capital programs.
In one swoop, the Morgan System would acquire, as I understand it, more than 150 school facilities and hundreds of acres of prime real estate which the System then could develop in accordance with its strategic plans and needs.
D. Closing Comments
This communication sets forth observations, conclusions and recommendations based upon the collective thinking of me and my team.
Certainly, there may be other thoughts about responding to the State, and we assume you will be open to as many recommendations as possible from a broad universe of people. That’s a positive, not a negative.
We intend to get active as advocates in support of our recommendations. Hopefully, our advocacy will supplement and not interfere with your efforts.
Equitable funding for MSU and Maryland’s other HBCU’s is a matter of grave public concern, so this communication is intended as a public document which you are free to use and disseminate as you wish.
I will apprise you of any further actions or initiative by us.
Very truly yours,
/S/ Rosetta Stith
Rosetta Stith, EdD