As teacher unions fight to keep schools closed, the true cost is being felt by students who are racking up failing grades, dropping out of virtual classes, increasing 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….[ ]