Baltimore is a city chronically plagued by corruption, as tends to be the case with perpetually-Democratic urban centers with a large percentage of poor citizens. Despite throwing money at programs, the Charm City has long been notorious for dirty, inept public officials, its constant status as one of the most murderous cities in the country, and generationally impoverished residents resigned to public school districts that are not really educating the kids at all. The acclaimed series The Wire captured the systematic corruption stemming from the mayor, to city officials, the police department, and even revered pastors. Based on a slew of recent embarrassing, eye-opening reports about the Baltimore public school system, The Wire’s portrayal of angry youth with few role models or competent teachers and little faith or interest in education was spot-on.
Somehow, you would think that somebody would find a way to fix the dire situation that leads so many young people into drug dealing and early deaths. And one would think that it would start with essentially replacing the broken public schools with, say, a system of alternative charter schools. As of now, the 34 charter schools in Baltimore only account for 12,000 students. Meanwhile, a reported 83,800 students who do not win a spot in the charter school lottery are resigned to one of, if not the worst public school systems in the country. Recent reports about the complete ineptitude of the public schools to produce even the most modest testable skills in their students make it clear: public schools in cities like Baltimore need to be replaced by charter schools, teachers unions be damned. The lengths to which public school administrators have gone in keeping their jobs, despite children being held completely unaccountable, is consciously destructive to that child’s future.
Just more than two weeks ago, the public got a statistical inkling of how rampant falsification of numbers was in the school system. Project Baltimore, an investigative reporting initiative that falls under the umbrella of Sinclair Media, found an elementary/middle school teacher who was frustrated by the self-serving nature of the higher-ups in the Baltimore school district, and he spilled the beans in a major way.
As reported by local Fox45 News, principal Martia Cooper of Calverton Elementary/Middle school explicitly told teachers to alter grades so that the school would meet the minimum standard for passing students, even for students who were far from the 60 percent passing grade. The teacher passed along a mass text sent by Cooper to the school’s teachers which read,
“Good Morning people! (Secretary) is printing report cards so finally you can get cumes finished. Please double check end of year averages and make sure they are 60 and above, except our four retention candidates (2 elem and 2 grade 7). If you find any grade averages below 60, pkesss (sic) have (secretary) correct and give me a copy of those student names. Thanks!”
Another Calverton teacher corroborated that the text was indeed sent by Cooper to the teaching staff. One teacher, a City Schools employee, contacted Fox45 upon seeing the Calverton piece to let them know that grade changing was “very common”. The anonymous teacher explained how the process of grade changing served the teachers and administrators by creating the false perception that more students are passing. It’s an admission that typifies the culture of cheating the students so that a school can maintain its funding and administrators their jobs. It’s a culture that has plagued public offices of all sorts in Baltimore and many other urban American cities for decades, but this teacher understood the deeper issue quite clearly.
“Teaching a whole generation of kids that they don’t have to be accountable for their actions, or that hard work isn’t valued or valuable when they are in school, is so discouraging and damaging.”(Fox45)
Numerous unionized educators who bucked a systematically corrupt educational racket because of genuine concern for the children? Somebody find these heroes charter school jobs, stat.
When the system is so widely corrupted, speaking up on the record would only have gotten these teachers fired, examples for anybody else who might be thinking about voicing the guilt that non-sociopathic teachers surely feel as they falsify student records. But grade changing is just the tip of the greed-poisoned spear when it comes to systematic lying and falsification in the Baltimore public school system.
“There were students on my roster all year that I had never met, had never seen. On paper they passed my class and passed onto the next year,” one of the teachers was quoted as saying.
That’s right, a student who didn’t even show up for one day of class was given a passing grade. Talk about teaching accountability through teacher accountability. But passing ghost students, again, wasn’t the end of the embarrassment for Baltimore public schools. Where would the results of all this artificial education manifest themselves?
Further investigation by Project Baltimore has exposed the mental detritus that comes from moving children up grade-by-grade despite them not being prepared to do so. If you never attend one day of math class and are still promoted up a grade, what is the logical result when an audit of math proficiency in Baltimore high schools is conducted? Even considering the system of non-education, the statistics are shocking.
The investigation found that, based on testing in 2017, one-third of Baltimore public high schools had no students who were proficient in math. Not one. Based on this example of a sample high school math proficiency test, it’s not all that shocking. High school math isn’t something you can just show up and do without being taught consistently. Corruption and cover-ups by teachers breeds ineptitude in students. The fact that not one single student had learned at a proficient level in 1/3 of Baltimore’s high schools speaks to the extent of corruption and malicious self-interest by the Baltimore educational unions. Further, an accounting of the 19 worst public high schools in Baltimore showed only 14 students were math proficient. That’s just about half of Baltimore’s public high schools, and less than 1% of the total student body can do math at a graduate level.
Teaching in inner cities is not easy, but wrong is wrong, and altering grades has an obvious downside for the child, jeopardizing whatever future many at-risk youth may have had. It’s been reported that Baltimore spends $16,000 dollars per year on each student, a number that exceeds many private schools. And apparently, plenty of those students fail to show up, in some instances for an entire year. So where does that money go? It’s not going toward developing effective teaching methods.
What happens behind the closed doors of government offices in Baltimore stays there. We’ll almost certainly never find out exactly how so much money produces such abysmal results. One public Baltimore high school spokesman assured the Fox45, and by proxy the public, that ‘fixing’ the ‘achievement gap’ would take not only time, but more taxpayer money. Because lack of funding is always the issue in public institutions.
Not an established system of grade alteration or inept teachers unable to corral and connect with, much less educate, their students. Not passing kids who didn’t show up for a single day of class. It’s under-funding that’s the problem. Ladies and gents, you’ve just gotten a concise but comprehensive lesson in the thought process of Baltimore’s ever-corrupt government and its many employees.
Here’s the real solution: fire ‘em all, and bring in fire-able teachers whose motivation is not singularly to keep their jobs, but to improve the minds and lives of their students. In other words, real teachers.