A series of schools in Baltimore have sparked outrage after zero students passed their state math exams, with nearly 75 percent receiving the lowest possible score.
The poor performance came in the latest round of Maryland state testing, with 13 city high schools (a staggering 40 percent) failing to produce a single student with a “proficient” score in math.
“This is educational murder,” said Jason Rodriguez, deputy director of the Baltimore-based nonprofit People Empowered by the Struggle. Fox Baltimore.
The activist said there is “no excuse” for the failure, which came after years of warnings about the city’s poor education standards.
It also comes days after a devastating one new study found that education across America fell to an all-time low during the pandemic, concluding that a third of fourth- and eighth-grade students can’t even read at a “basic level.”
Dr. Baltimore City Schools CEO Sonja Santelises has reportedly faced calls to resign following a string of poor state test results in recent years
Some of Baltimore’s best-known high schools were on the unenviable list of institutions that failed to produce a single “proficient” math student, including Frederick Douglass High School (pictured)
The disturbing results, first reported by Project Baltimore, also showed that 74.5 percent of students in the 13 failing schools scored just one in four on their test – the lowest anyone can score.
Some of the city’s best-known schools, including Patterson High School, Frederick Douglass and Reginald F. Lewis, made the list, while Baltimore City Schools also received $1.6 billion from taxpayers last year.
It was the largest funding the education authority has ever received, leading to questions about where the money went.
‘So it is not a financing problem. We are getting adequate funding,” Rodriguez said. ‘I don’t think money is the problem. I think accountability is the problem.”
In addition to the massive investment from taxpayers, the school district also received $799 million in Covid relief funding from the federal government.
Rodriguez’s group has previously held meetings about the city’s growing education crisis, and in 2021 led calls for Dr. Baltimore City Schools CEO Sonja Santelises to resign amid low test scores and declining graduation rates.
The frightening situation comes six years after another report from Project Baltimore again found that thirteen schools in the city had zero students tested “proficient” in math.
“We still face the same problems year after year,” Rodriguez continued.
“It’s just scary to me and disturbing because we know that what’s happening now is just opening the floodgates to the school-to-prison pipeline.
“I am beyond angry… This is why we have called for the resignation of the school’s principal.”
Average math and reading scores have plummeted during the pandemic, according to the National Assessment of Educational Progress
While a lack of funding may not be to blame, a study released this month by the Center on Reinventing Public Education (CRPE) found that 16 million students were chronically absent during the pandemic.
The millions of students had missed more than 10 percent of school days in the 2021-2022 year, twice as many as in previous years.
More than eight in 10 public schools also reported delayed behavioral and social-emotional development for their students due to the pandemic, according to a May survey cited in the report.
Project Baltimore has reportedly been able to publish the results through a source, and the state won’t release the official results until later this month. The results are reportedly expected to be heavily redacted to confuse the number of underperforming schools.
In a statement following the shocking test results, Baltimore City School District said, “Baltimore City Public Schools (City Schools) appreciates the recent one-time and ongoing increases in funding from our community.
“City Schools uses the funding to improve student performance. Our complete 2023 Maryland Comprehensive Assessment Program (MCAP) math data provides a real picture of our progress.
“But make no mistake, these recent increases are not slowing down or going away after years of chronic underfunding that has directly contributed to our current results. The recovery takes just as long or even more significantly.
“Right now, the facts are clear: City Schools students have achieved better scores on the math MCAP for two consecutive years after national declines during the COVID pandemic. Seven of eight grade levels experienced growth in math between SY2021-22 and SY2022-23, mirroring growth in Maryland overall.
“We recognize that some of our high school students are still experiencing challenges in math after the pandemic, especially if they struggled beforehand.
‘Efforts are underway to improve student outcomes. But treating student performance as an ‘if-then’ proposition does our community a great disservice.”