Unredacted state test results show that Baltimore’s failure to properly educate students hasn’t changed, as the vast majority of the city’s public school children remain unable to work at grade-level proficiency in basic academic subjects.
Project Baltimore was given state test results which, unlike those that are being released to the public, were without redactions. The statistics show that the public school system in Baltimore has failed to properly prepare students for the workforce and residents want answers.
Among the most concerning numbers is the fact that in 23 of Baltimore City schools, no students tested proficient in math. “Exactly 2,000 students, in total, took the state math test at these schools. Not one could do math at grade level,” Fox 45 News reported.
On the Maryland Comprehensive Assessment Program, students are graded on a scale of 1 to 4. To be proficient a student must score a 3.
While 23 schools had no students receive a score of proficient in math, 20 other schools only had one or two students who were proficient in mathematics.
Not a single high school student in the city of Baltimore scored a 4, or the distinguished level, on the assessment.
Baltimore resident Jovani Patterson filed suit against Baltimore City Schools in 2022, alleging that the district is not educating students and, thus, is misusing taxpayer funds. Patterson responded to the test results by stating, “My immediate reaction is, take your kids out of these schools.”
It wasn’t only high schools that failed — 93 percent of 3rd through 8th graders did not score proficient in mathematics.
And it’s not only in math. In 2022, the Nation’s Report Card determined that just 15 percent of Baltimore school children were testing at or above proficient in reading.
“It just sounds like these schools, now, have turned into essentially babysitters with no accountability. This is the future of our city. We’ve got to change this,” said Patterson.
He continued, “These kids can’t do math. You’re not preparing them to buy groceries. You’re not preparing them to do accounting, to count their own money. You’re not preparing them to read contracts and negotiate salaries.”
The problem wasn’t much better at Baltimore’s best public high schools.
Only 11.4 percent of students in the city’s top 5 performing high schools were proficient in math. The city’s highest performing school, Baltimore Polytechnic Institute, only had 26 percent of students score proficient in mathematics.
Desmond Stinnie, whose daughter graduated from Baltimore Polytechnic, wasn’t surprised at the numbers. Stinnie’s daughter was an honors student and was accepted to one of the nation’s military academies, but when she arrived, she found that she was woefully unprepared.
“I think the leadership if it’s not working, it’s not working. If you’re not getting the results, you’re not getting the results. And any time you’re not getting results, it starts with the leadership,” Stinnie said.
Many others are joining Stinnie in pointing the finger at Baltimore Public Schools’ leadership. Maryland radio host C4 stated, “This is when people get fired. When you have this much of a ringing failure in your school, it should cost somebody their job.”
The primary person some think should be fired is City Schools CEO Dr. Sonja Santelises, who was paid nearly $445,000 last year and has worked in her role for seven years.
Her salary and the inordinate funding that Baltimore Public Schools received have left some to conclude the issue is not a question of resources. BPS will have a $1.7 billion budget for the 2023-2024 school year. The district also received $799 million of Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funds.
Despite the long-term decline of the school system, the funding, and the fact that students are in their third year since COVID closures in 2020, the district blamed the scores on learning loss during COVID. “We acknowledge that some of our high school students continue to experience challenges in math following the pandemic,” the district stated.
They claimed that “the work is underway” to improve student scores.
Last year the Freedom Center wrote that the public education system isn’t failing, it has already failed. More funding doesn’t solve it, more hours in the classroom won’t solve it, more power for teachers and teachers’ unions won’t solve it. Only accountability and choice can help the education system.
George Washington Law School professor Jonathan Turley agreed, writing,
“What is baffling is that voters do not blame their political leadership for this disaster. Whole 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 fate of inner city children as politicians focus on other issues.”
He added that 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 father of four, I cannot imagine how desperate many of these parents must be in cities like Baltimore where schools offer little hope for the future.”
The same school system that is bloated with taxpayer dollars always cries for more money but never delivers better results, no matter how much funding they get. Meanwhile, they decry homeschooling and school choice as racist and make baseless claims that taking children out of the public school system will somehow destroy public education.
Ironically, earlier this month, Davis Gates, a teachers’ union president in Chicago who in the past has characterized school choice as “the choice of racists,” was on CNN trying to defend her own choice to send her own son to a private Catholic high school.
Parents in inner city Baltimore — and everywhere else — deserve that same option. And they want that option. The recently released Schooling in America Survey found that 67 percent of parents want school choice, while 70 percent of parents believe that K-12 public schools are on the wrong track, a jump of 9 percent over last year’s survey. What’s more, a separate survey of 1300 black parents found that more than 75 percent want access to school vouchers, open enrollment, and charter schools.
The truth is that parents and parent groups who advocate for school choice and homeschooling don’t want to kill public education. They just want their children to have the best possible education, wherever they can find it. And they don’t want to keep throwing money at a decaying monstrosity of a public school system that, in recent years, has become more focused on teaching radical Marxist ideologies that encourage children to hate their country, each other, and themselves, as well as on sexualizing children and driving a wedge between them and their parents.
The truth is that the school administrators, teachers’ unions, and politicians who value indoctrination and control over academics and children’s welfare have already seen to the destruction of public education.
The proof is in the pudding. Public schools across the country are failing to teach even the most basic academic principles. The only way these public schools are ever going to improve is if they are forced to compete with other schools and start being held accountable for what they teach — and don’t teach — in the classroom. If they can’t deliver on helping children learn the skills needed to succeed in life, then parents should have every right and opportunity to take their children — and their tax dollars — elsewhere.
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