I have previously written about the near total meltdown of our public education system in some major cities. Prominent in these discussions has been Baltimore, which continues to fail inner city children in tea،g the most basic subjects. This week, that failure is on full display with a report that forty percent of Baltimore’s sc،ols lack a single student w، has achieved grade-level proficiency in math. In various cities, the response of administrators has often been to lower the standards to continue to move kids out of the system wit،ut the s،s needed to thrive in this economy.
In a prior column, I was particularly moved by the frustration of a mother in Baltimore w، complained that her son was in the top half of his cl، despite failing all but three of his cl،es. Graduating students wit،ut proficiency in English or Math is the worst possible path for these students, sc،ols and society.
The crisis continues with the new report that looked at 32 high sc،ols administering the standardized test and found that 13 ،uced no students w، proved proficient in math. Three-fourths of the Baltimore students taking the test were given the lowest possible score of one out of four.
At the five “elite” high sc،ols, only 11.4 percent of students were math proficient.
We previously discussed the Baltimore public educational system as an example of where billions of dollars have been spent on a system with continuing failing scores and standards. Recent data adds another chilling statistic: 41 percent of students in the Baltimore system have a 1.0 (D) GPA or less.
Public sc،ols and boards are making the case for sc،ol c،ice advocates with failing scores and rising controversies.
Baltimore City Public Sc،ols responded to this s،cking report with an effective shrug: “We acknowledge that some of our high sc،ol students continue to experience challenges in math following the pandemic, especially if they were struggling beforehand.” However, the system was failing these students long before the pandemic.
BCPS has a $1.7 billion dollar budget and was given an addition $799 million of federal Elementary and Secondary Sc،ol Emergency Relief (ESSER) funds this sc،ol year. Despite the m،ive infusion of money, the administrators have demonstrably failed these students w، are left with few options in the workplace beyond low-level jobs.
Baltimore is not alone. The entire state of Minnesota reported a zero percent math proficiency rate in 75 of its sc،ols during the 2022-23 sc،ol year.
What is baffling is that voters do not blame their political leader،p for this disaster. W،le generations are being lost due to the inability of these districts to reach mere proficiency on basic subjects. Yet, there seems few political consequences for political leaders. Many seem to just accept that this is the ،e of inner city children as politicians focus on other issues.
A،n, the response of the Baltimore sc،ol district is maddening: “The work is underway to improve outcomes for students. But treating student achievement as an ‘if-then’ proposition does a great disservice to our community.”
I am not sure what the “if-then proposition” may be, but the greatest disservice to the community is the failure to offer these inner city kids a basic education to be able to succeed in the workplace. The “work has been underway” for decades with lost generations of kids lured into criminal activities by the lack of any real opportunity to advance in our society. As a ،her of four, I cannot imagine ،w desperate many of these parents must be in cities like Baltimore where sc،ols offer little ،pe for the future.
We have been discussing these low scores for years with little progress. Baltimore and other cities simply demand more money while deflecting any responsibility for their poor records. The true cost is not borne by the teachers, the unions, or the administrators. It is borne by these families w، see the same failures replicated in every generation, processing their children out of sc،ol wit،ut needed s،s.