In February, news broke that students in the Baltimore public school system were scoring poorly in math examinations, with zero students able to score at a proficient level. In the months since then, it appears that little has changed. On Thursday, Breitbart reported that 13 out of 33 schools in the Baltimore area have zero students with math proficiency, “meaning 40 percent of Baltimore City Schools did not produce a single student proficient in math.”
According to Fox News Project Baltimore, “1,736 students took the test, and 1,295 students, or 74.5%, scored a one out of four,” which is the lowest level one could score. The test scores were not given to Project Baltimore by Baltimore City Schools, who also refuse to participate in any interviews regarding the matter.
Jason Rodriguez, deputy director of the Baltimore-based non-profit People Empowered by the Struggle, classified this issue as “educational homicide,” saying there are “no excuses” for these results. “We’re still dealing with these same issues year after year,” he said, in light of a similar report conducted in 2017 which had some of the same schools on it. “[I]t’s just opening up the floodgates to the school-to-prison pipeline.”
Baltimore City Schools asserted the results can be explained by COVID and “minimal funding.” They sent a statement to Project Baltimore claiming that, despite recent financial “increases,” there are still “years of chronic underfunding that has directly contributed to [the] current incomes.” The statement continued, “That recovery takes an equal or more significant amount of time to remediate.”
Despite their statement, Rodriguez quickly shot down their reasoning. “[I]t’s not a funding issue,” he said. Last school year, Baltimore City Schools received $1.6 billion from taxpayers, with the district receiving an additional $799 million in COVID relief funding. Rodriguez continued, “I think accountability is the issue.”
At Family Research Council’s 2023 Pray Vote Stand Summit, Ben Carson, former U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, gave a speech where he alluded to the issues plaguing public schools. For Carson, a lot of it comes down to the woke agenda of “dumbing down the population” by prioritizing the wrong things in schools. Carson encouraged his listeners to take a stand of courage and use their constitutional rights to “hold people’s feet to the fire.”
Joseph Backholm, senior fellow for Biblical Worldview and Strategic Engagement at Family Research Council, shared his take on the situation to The Washington Stand. “Part of this is almost certainly related to the fact that millions of students just spent two years or more not in school. That created a massive learning loss that, in reality, will never be made up.”
“But that’s not all that’s happening,” he continued, noting how before COVID, many schools failed students. However, “the laws have been written in a way that hold students’ hostage in failing schools just to make sure money continues to flow to those schools,” he said. “The system has long prioritized the needs of adults over the needs of children.” But with the rise of parents choosing homeschooling and other options they find is best for their children, Backholm pointed out that “we can expect to see outcomes start to improve for children.”
“It’s going to take time, though,” he concluded.
Sarah Holliday is a reporter at The Washington Stand.
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