I recently wrote about how public schools and boards are making the case for school choice advocates with failing scores and rising controversies. The latest shocking statistic was released this week that 23 schools in Baltimore City had zero students who tested proficient in math. Those schools include 10 high schools, eight elementary schools, three Middle/High schools and two Elementary/Middle schools. The state found that 2,000 students who took the state test could not do math at grade level.
We previously discussed the Baltimore public educational system as an example of where billions of dollars have been spent on a system that continues to have appalling scores and standards. Recent data now offers another chilling statistic: 41 percent of students in the Baltimore system have a 1.0 (D) GPA or less.
We also discussed how a high school student almost graduated near the top half of his class after failing every class but three in four years. He had a 0.13 GPA. His mother objected and went public.
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 roughly $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.
Faced with school boards and teacher unions resisting parental objections to school policies over curriculum and social issues, states are on the brink of a transformative change. For years, boards and teacher unions have treated parents as unwelcome interlopers in their children’s education.
That view was captured this month in the comment of Iowa school board member Rachel Wall, who said: “The purpose of a public ed is to not teach kids what the parents want. It is to teach them what society needs them to know. The client is not the parent, but the community.”
State Rep. Lee Snodgrass (D-Wis.) tweeted: “If parents want to ‘have a say’ in their child’s education, they should home school or pay for private school tuition out of their family budget.”
As public schools continue to produce abysmal scores, particularly for minority students, board and union officials have called for lowering or suspending proficiency standards or declared meritocracy to be a form of “white supremacy.” Gifted and talented programs are being eliminated in the name of “equity.”
Once parents have a choice, these teachers lose a virtual monopoly over many families, and these districts could lose billions in states like Florida.
Reports like the one out of Baltimore only fuel this trend to allow desperate parents to find alternatives for their children. It is a failure on a colossal scale. Yet, there is little accountability for the elected officials in these cities as generations are left with little future without basic skills.
Teachers and boards are killing the institution of public education by treating children and parents more like captives than consumers. That cannot continue much longer before parents look for alternatives.