Forty Percent of Baltimore’s Public Schools Do Not Have a Single Student Proficient in Math

I have previously written about the near total meltdown of our public education system in some major cities. Prominent in these discussions has been Baltimore, which continues to fail inner city children in teaching the most basic subjects. This week, that failure is on full display with a report that forty percent of Baltimore’s schools lack a single student who has achieved grade-level proficiency in math.  In various cities, the response of administrators has often been to lower the standards to continue to move kids out of the system without the skills needed to thrive in this economy.

In a prior column, I was particularly moved by the frustration of a mother in Baltimore who complained that her son was in the top half of his class despite failing all but three of his classes. Graduating students without proficiency in English or Math is the worst possible path for these students, schools and society.

The crisis continues with the new report that looked at 32 high schools administering the standardized test and found that 13 produced no students who proved proficient in math. Three-fourths of the Baltimore students taking the test were given the lowest possible score of one out of four.

At the five “elite” high schools, only 11.4 percent of students were math proficient.

We previously discussed the Baltimore public educational system as an example of where billions of dollars have been spent on a system with continuing failing scores and standards. Recent data adds another chilling statistic: 41 percent of students in the Baltimore system have a 1.0 (D) GPA or less.

Public schools and boards are making the case for school choice advocates with failing scores and rising controversies.

Baltimore City Public Schools responded to this shocking report with an effective shrug: “We acknowledge that some of our high school students continue to experience challenges in math following the pandemic, especially if they were struggling beforehand.” However, the system was failing these students long before the pandemic.

BCPS has a $1.7 billion dollar budget and was given an addition $799 million of federal Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funds this school year. Despite the massive infusion of money, the administrators have demonstrably failed these students who are left with few options in the workplace beyond low-level jobs.

Baltimore is not alone. The entire state of Minnesota reported a zero percent math proficiency rate in 75 of its schools during the 2022-23 school year.

What is baffling is that voters do not blame their political leadership for this disaster. Whole generations are being lost due to the inability of these districts to reach mere proficiency on basic subjects. Yet, there seems few political consequences for political leaders. Many seem to just accept that this is the fate of inner city children as politicians focus on other issues.

Again, the response of the Baltimore school district is maddening: “The work is underway to improve outcomes for students. But treating student achievement as an ‘if-then’ proposition does a great disservice to our community.”

I am not sure what the “if-then proposition” may be, but the greatest disservice to the community is the failure to offer these inner city kids a basic education  to be able to succeed in the workplace. The “work has been underway” for decades with lost generations of kids lured into criminal activities by the lack of any real opportunity to advance in our society. As a father of four, I cannot imagine how desperate many of these parents must be in cities like Baltimore where schools offer little hope for the future.

We have been discussing these low scores for years with little progress. Baltimore and other cities simply demand more money while deflecting any responsibility for their poor records. The true cost is not borne by the teachers, the unions, or the administrators. It is borne by these families who see the same failures replicated in every generation, processing their children out of school without needed skills.

213 thoughts on “Forty Percent of Baltimore’s Public Schools Do Not Have a Single Student Proficient in Math”

  1. The problem is not lack of money. I live in a Baltimore suburb and can attest to that. The Baltimore city school administration has ranked in the top 5 nationwide per capita for decades.

    The problem is the utter dissolution of the nuclear family. Stop the funding of endless welfare babies, dooming them to lives of poverty and often crime. Limit “families” (sic) to one kid funded by the government. Zero after that. Hold fathers financially responsible (novel idea).

    That’s the problem. Politicians won’t address it. Society won’t acknowledge the core problem. Education and moral values start at home.

  2. They let you out of your Matrix pod just long enough to cast a vote before they put you back into your pod for another four years.

  3. “But treating student achievement as an ‘if-then’ proposition . . .”

    Funny, isn’t it, how they accept some if-then statements: If low student achievement, then give us more money.

    But they reject others: If low student achievement, then we’re incompetent.

  4. The elephant in the living room is that many inner city kids are socially maladjusted because of their dysfunctional home life. When given vouchers and sent to private schools those kids very often are expelled for disciplinary reasons and/or flunk out because of lack of effort and learning support at home. Unfortunately, pointing out parental neglect as the major risk factor for kids with social dysfunction who academically fail labels a concerned citizen a racist.

      1. Thomas Sowell: Oh my gosh, people are astonished when I tell them I grew up in Harlem, I can’t remember ever hearing a gunshot. And then, I’ve checked with my relatives who grew up in similar neighborhoods in Washington and down in North Carolina, they never heard a gunshot when they were growing up. I remember going back to Harlem some years ago to do some research at a high school. And I looked out the window and there’s this park there near the high school. And I mentioned in passing that when I lived in Harlem as a kid, I would take my dog for a walk in that park. And looks of horror came over the students’ faces. People have no idea how much has retrogressed over the years in the black community and how much of what progress has been made has not been made by politicians or by charismatic leaders. One of the things that drives me crazy are people who cite the trends over time without deciding where they’re gonna start the time period. For example, this guy said all sorts of wonderful things happened in the 1960s and beyond, and especially for the minorities and the poor and so forth. So what I did, I said no, well, you can’t… If you start the data in 1960, we don’t know how much was a result of that and how much was a result of other things. That also applies in other things. So for example, one simple one, many people say… Ralph Nader wrote this book in 1965 and asked about the automobile safety and so on. As a result, there were laws by the government and the death rates went down after that, which is true in itself. But the death rate went down at a far higher rate prior to his writing the book. And this was the continuation of a trend that went back another 20 or 30 years.

  5. Back when the Constituion was ratified, education was important. Important enough to be noted in the Northwest Ordinance. While the Constitution ignores education. In the Northwest Ordinance, it was a suggested requirement for states seeking admittance into the growing Union of States. Understand that those early founders know how important education was to the advancement of society. So important that the Federal Govt needed to stay out of education and leave it to the people.
    Things progressed nicely. Parents understood instinctively that Parents life in the later years, was directly connected to how well their children did economically in their lives. That was dependent on their childred being educated in science and business, or learning a trade. In Short the kids needed to learn to read, write and cypher.
    Then along came the Democrats, and said ‘fear not old people, we are the govt here to help you, well give you money when you get old….and OTHERS will pay for it.
    Fast forward to ‘Today, and the govt hands out other peoples money, and being educated has been displaced by “safety nets”.

    1. Einstein had a mother and a father, the left tells us that is an old paradigm and that having a single mother is a family and is no different than a two parent family.

  6. I just had a weird dream in which Vladimir Putin was really into Judy Garland. What do you think it means?

  7. Democrats ensuring they have plantation dwellers….the worse Democrats make it…the more aid money they get!

    How about we JUST stop federal aid to cities, states and colleges….so they pay for failure…instead of a taxpayer from Iowa.
    60 YEARS people have voted for their failure in cities….while getting billions of AID from rural taxpayers.


    1. Seems like TX, FL, TN and other “no tax states” are on the rise as NY, CA, NJ and IL, high tax states, are dying. But you do you.

      1. False, due to poor understanding of data.

        I have more blue marbles than you. Therefore I have more marbles than you that are meaningful.

          1. No explanation is needed to call your ignorance false. Learn about the selection process. That you do not understand it demonstrates ignorance.

            1. I am making perfect sense, but leaving it up to you to learn how to think. Despite many responses on the subject, you don’t get it. That proves you are ignorant. You have proven nothing of value. Start learning by reading about how to select data for a study and how the selection process can be misused.

            2. As I said you don’t know how to think and you don’t understand the selection process. You should not be embarrassed that you are ignorant. You should be embarrassed that you never took any steps to make yourself smarter. One should always be embarrassed when the mouth can hold the entire brain.

        1. “MoneyGeek analysis”

          The answer is based on the criteria selected. MoneyGeek analysis is only correct for the data they used.

          1. No, I am saying you are ignorant.

            Do you know what funds were included or excluded? Do you know the amounts? No. Provide the selection process for the analysis.

            Are welfare programs included?

            Insurance companies calculate the value of a human life. How many soldiers come from red states vs. blue states?

            There is so much you don’t know about the calculation. For you to conclude what you do with such a lack of knowledge is the height of ignorance.

            1. When you provide the data then one can have a discussion. I provided some hints about data but you didn’t bother to address them. I don’t think you are able to deal with statistics and studies.

  8. Zuckerbergs $100,000,000 teamed up with Corey Bookers brains, attacked the lack of money for education in Newark schools.

    The result was exactly ZERO.ZERO improvement. The “expert Consultants” (entire teams of Phd’s ) sucked up all the money, they spread some $crumbs to the Unions, and Unions took the $cash and told the administrators, teachers had a contract, and the suggestions were stupid anyway.

    1. they public unions and cronies…NEED failure to be SHOWERED in Billions.

      Newark pay almost NONE of the cost to run their cities….money comes from OTHER taxpayers.

      STOP the money. Cut federal aid to cities, states, colleges!

    2. Iowan2,
      The radio news program Fresh Air did a deep dive into the how and why Zuderbeger’s attempt to “fix” Baltimore schools.
      In a word, grift.

  9. “What is baffling is that voters do not blame their political leadership for this disaster.”

    Maybe deep down the voters know it is no one’s fault. It is what it is.

  10. The “work has been underway” for decades with lost generations of kids lured into criminal activities by the lack of any real opportunity to advance in our society.

    Exactly what the Democrats goal has always been.

    Beggars are much easier to control.

    It is by design that a large swath of people don’t support something so basic as free speech.

    1. American NAZIS aka The National Socialist Democrat WOKE Party keeping as many as they can on the Plantation.

  11. Just a thought.

    Maybe govt programs that decimate the family are not in fact “helping” anything.

    Are going spend all our energy, evaluating the progress of childrens educaton, or lack of progress, and ignore the fact over 70 % of the children dont have a father in the home?

    This is good time to consider why the left demand corporate board rooms must be half women, but men offer nothing to rearing children

      1. Those complaining about the problem are the first who will balk at contributing to the solution which is higher wages.

        The Newark Schools experiment proved that sally false

    1. A father in the home won’t change anything,

      Sure, ignore 10 of thousands of years of anthropology. ignore the last 100 years of history.

      Intact families. NOTHING comes close to the outcomes of intact families.

  12. the problem starts before a child walks through the kindgarten door. have we now proved to ourselves that more money later fixed nothing?

  13. Consider that while an almost entirely black/minority public school administration, teachers, politicians and the parents in Baltimore fail these kids, they are taught that they are victims of racism and white supremacy. So they graduate without the skills to succeed, and a belief that ‘white people’ (“YT”) are to blame. So they have a target for their angst. It is no surprise then that these kids often turn to gangs, drugs and crime. It is also no surprise that attacks on ‘YT’ and Asian people are more prevalent than ever.

    1. The problem is far larger than just the schools. Many of these students are coming from broken families with no fathers. The culture (rap, gangs) promotes bad behavior. A teacher can’t undo what the child is taught the other 16 hours of the day.

      1. Then get rid of the ‘teachers’ and ‘admins’ and stop spending all that money (the teachers’ unions are DNC money troughs).

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