Baltimore Student Who Failed All But Three Classes In Four Years Was Ranked In Top Half Of His Class

As teacher unions fight to keep schools closed, the true cost is being felt by students who are racking up failing gradesdropping out of virtual classesincreasing drug use, and, in rising numbers, committing suicide.  In response, some union officials like the President of the Los Angeles Teacher’s Union has labelled calls to return to class examples of white privilege despite overwhelming science supporting resumption of classes. However, for minority students, this shutdown has taken a dire situation and turned into a free-fall disaster. The pandemic led to the closure of an already failing public school system, as evident in a shocking story out of Baltimore. As recently reported, a high school student almost graduated near the top half of his class after failing every class but three in four years. He has a 0.13 GPA.  His mother finally went public in exasperation with the failures in the public schools.

Tiffany France is understandably upset. She is a mother of three who works three jobs to support her family. She was never told that her son failed 22 classes and was late or absent 272 days over his first three years of high school. She was called for only one teacher-student meeting and that meeting never occurred at Augusta Fells Savage Institute of Visual Arts.

France ultimately had to pull her son out of the school and enrolled him in an accelerated program to allow him to graduate in 2023.

For decades, we have spent huge amounts of money in school districts like Washington, D.C. and Baltimore as these cities and their leaders have failed to address these failures. We have had a lost generation of kids who have neither the education nor the trained skills to succeed in society. Yet, there is no accountability for the political and educational leaders in these cities.

In the meantime, school officials seem intent on driving top performing students from their systems in Boston, New York and other cities where advanced programs are being shutdown or suspended. Mayor Bill deBlasio proclaimed that public schools are a means to redistribute wealth as students continue to fail on every level in the system.  Other education officials have denounced “meritocracy” as racist.  These officials, including a recent congressman, attack standardized tests as racist rather than make real progress to improve performance on such tests for these children.

The top spending public school districts are also some of the worst performing school districts.  New York topped the per capita spending at $24,040 per kid. Washington, D.C. is close at $22,759.  Baltimore is often ranked in the top three per capita spending districts. The total budget for Baltimore public schools is $1.2 billion. That is for a city with a total population of roughly 600,000 (The greater Baltimore metropolitan area is 2.8 million). In 2015, the school population was 84,000 kids.

According to a 2019 study, over half of the New York City public schoolkids cannot handle basic math or English.  On tests, Asian kids shows a  74.4 percent proficiency in math with a 66.6 proficiency for whites, a 33.2 percent proficiency for Hispanics, and a 28.2 percent proficiency for African Americans.  Thus, more than two third of African American kids were not able to handle basic math in a school system with one of the highest per capita expenditures for students in country. Thus, public schools may be a vehicle for deBlasio to “redistribute wealth” but he is not distributing education or learning to those who need it the most.

In Washington, with the highest per capita spending on students, education officials “celebrated” a small improvement of scores in 2019. However, the scores would make most people cringe.  Only 21.1 percent of black students were proficient in math (as opposed to 78.8 percent for white students).

In Wisconsin, the 2019 scores (for students in grades 3 to 8 and grade 11) showed only 39.3% of students tested proficient or better in English/language and only 40.1% demonstrated a proficient or better understanding of math. Both showed drops. However, the racial disparity was particularly shocking. Ironically, the gap slightly narrowed due to white students declining in scores. However, in the eighth grade, only 12.1 percent of black students were proficient or advanced in English. There was still as 30 point gap for black students.

In the meantime, the pandemic has led to delays, reductions, or outright cancellations of standardized testing in many districts. So now students will not be going full-time to school and also not be tested on their proficiency in subjects in some districts. It is as if they did not exist, which is precisely the problem. Politically, they do not seem to register in terms of importance or influence. They are useful objects for politicians who use them for campaigns for more money or power. Yet, they seem utterly detached from any actual benefits as these leaders allow public schools to continue on the same course of proven failure.

Watching this happen to the public schools has been particularly hard for many of us who are ardent supporters of public education. Growing up in Chicago during the massive flight of white families from the public school system, I remained in public schools for much of my early education. My parents organized a group to convince affluent families remain in the system. They feared that, once such families left, the public schools would not only lose diversity but political clout and support. They also wanted their kids to benefit from such diversity. My wife and I also believe in that cause and we have kept our four kids in public schools through to college.  We believe public education plays a key role in our national identity and civics. They shape our next generation of citizens.  My children have benefitted greatly from public schools and the many caring and gifted teachers who have taught them through the years.

Reading accounts like that of Tiffany France is a disgrace. She is working three jobs and counting on the school system to give her three children an education . . . and a chance.  Yet, Baltimore and other cities have failed such children for decades. There is no accountability in the system.  These leaders are failing whole generations and leaving them to an endless cycle of poverty and crime. Yet, they are reelected or reappointed every year. Educational leaders demand more money but show little progress or success. The money evaporates and nothing seems to change for Tiffany France or her children.

The problem is not standardized testing. It is the lack of education where a student with below a 1.0 GPA could qualify for cum laude recognition in Baltimore. Decades and billions of dollars have been exhausted without significant improvement. However, the real cost of our failure is born by these students who find little solace in knowing that their per capita expenditures continue to rise as their scores continue to fall. If we ran our highway system like this, we would have billion-dollar gravel roads for highways. In our education system, we are spending billions but kids like Tiffany’s son are going nowhere fast.

A version of this column ran on

225 thoughts on “Baltimore Student Who Failed All But Three Classes In Four Years Was Ranked In Top Half Of His Class”

  1. That’s cool. In fact, studying in the modern world is very important, because the more you know and are able to, the more opportunities and prospects for you in the future. Even online learning does not need to be thrown back and taken into account. Also, do not forget about self-development, I recommend a useful resource where you can at any time study a selection of professional analytical materials on the topic of water pollution, which is widely heard and requires a serious influence on the situation, read and know more, try to change something in your region on your own.

  2. The state of the public education system is a disgrace. If this were an auto manufacturer, their cars would have been recalled, class action lawsuits would have shuttered the business, and several CEOs would be serving jail time for negligence leading to traffic collisions.

    Schools have placed more emphasis on social justice issues like teaching children that they have absolutely no idea what gender they belong to, or that “white supremacy” is an adjective to apply to every thing and everyone one, than they do on teaching reading, writing, math, critical reasoning, or college prep.

    As for the mother whose son failed 22 classes, did she never look at a single high school report card? What did she mean they never told her he was failing. I thought report cards were how grades were communicated. Was her son fabricating glowing report cards?

    God bless her for working so hard for her family, and for getting her son in a better school.

    Please note that the Democrat Party is heavily indebted to the Teachers Unions, and therefore oppose school choice and charter schools. I believe that we need to copy what works in some of the European countries. There, taxpayer funds are attached to the child, who can apply them anywhere. I believe schools do need to be accredited. You shouldn’t be forced to go to the local schools. In fact, if the local schools in bad neighborhoods can’t compete, they should close. They will either copy what works, or go out of business.

    Schools resist following the science on topics like reading. Whole language or its cousin, Blended Learning, produces roughly 40% of students reading below grade level, yet they won’t change. It’s the most stubborn, pernicious resistance against scientifically proven reading methods. Even more shocking is that universities that produce teaching credentials still train teachers in outdated methods.

    There is no accountability. The teachers unions oppose meritocracy in either individuals or schools. You get a raise just for converting oxygen to carbon dioxide.

    In addition, frankly, too many schools are dangerous places for students to be. Just walking down the hallway is a gauntlet. Students are violent towards each other, and there is tremendous pressure to cut class, or doze through classes. It’s like peer pressure to have zero marketable skills upon graduation. Beautiful, bright eyed children have to become hardened just to make it through. I don’t care if we need a cop walking besides every kid to get them to class safely, but we have got to provide a safe place for kids to learn, and families have got to emphasize the importance of education at home.

  3. 97% failure rate is what Progressive Demonkraps call “success!” Don’t you ever even think of leaving the Demonkrap Plantation blacks, and if you do consider it, we’ll ensure you fail by edumacating you in a Demonkrap school so your only potential income source is selling drugs to your fellow black neighbors. Success! “Bomb inner city blacks till they love you!” the new Progressive mantra!

    This is just more Demonkrap success, ala 40% of all US abortions are of black unborn babies. US taxpayer funding of black genocide, making white medical and Planned Parenthood execs moh money and moh money! Enjoy your genocide black Progressives!

  4. Black students achieving 97% failure rate is what Progressives call “SUCCESS!” You go girls! I’m sure this is right up our progressive poster’s alley! Go progressive blacks! DO NOT EVER LEAVE THE DEMONKRAP PLANTATION! AND IF YOU THINK OF DOING SO, WE’LL MAKE IT IMPOSSIBLE BY INSURING YOU ARE EDUMACTED IN A PUBLIC SCHOOL SO THE ONLY CHANCE OF YOU TO MAKE A LIVING IS BY DEALING DRUGS TO YOUR FELLOW BLACKS.

    Another success, like 40% of all US abortions being unborn black babies! YEAH! Enjoy your black genocide, DEMONKRAP PROGRESSIVE SCUM!

  5. This is another example of the cancel culture and it’s profoundly expensive tax cost: cancelling effective education at higher costs

    1. No lower tiers. In schools like this all the teachers are excellent and all the students earn honors; suma cum laude if you miss when you shoot at the teacher

  6. A microcosm of what occurs when elections are riddled with fraud.
    Notary Arrested, Charged With Voter Fraud In Connection With Aberdeen Alderman Election

    In the sixty-four-page order, Judge Jeff Weill not only calls for a new election but also finds evidence of fraud and criminal activity, in how absentee ballots were handled, how votes were counted, and the actions by some at the polling place.

    In his ruling, the judge said that sixty-six of eighty-four absentee ballots cast in the June runoff were not valid and should never have been counted. Nicholas Holliday was declared the winner by a 37 vote margin. Robert Devaull challenged the results in court.


  7. Talk about not being able to get a decent report card grade, this nominee can’t get her math straight and multiple filings provide multiple answers regarding her tax liability which is 2 years over due. Is that what we need to head the department of the Interior? We already have a President who resides in a basement and can’t seem to intelligently answer any questions unless provided in advance.
    Interior nominee discloses belated tax filing, provides fourth account of her 2018 income
    Rep. Deb Haaland (D-N.M.) says she didn’t get an extension for 2018 taxes, filed return last December nearly two years late.

  8. Perfect democrat communist voters…easy to lead around with that ring thru the nose

  9. Its no wonder Dem’s in Congress are so messed up, they got the wrong answers too.

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