Baltimore Public Schools In Downward Spiral Of Unaccountability

A recent state math exam has exposed a grim reality in Baltimore City High Schools: 40% of the system’s schools did not have a single student proficient in math. The data, obtained by Fox45 and reported by Project Baltimore, reveals that nearly 2,000 students across 13 schools showed no proficiency in math. Astonishingly, 74.5% received the lowest possible score.

The enormous amount of money poured into Baltimore’s education system makes this data even more alarming. In 2023, taxpayers are spending $21,606 per public school student in Baltimore — making it the fourth-highest per-pupil spending in the U.S.

Jason Rodriguez, deputy director of People Empowered by the Struggle, a Baltimore community nonprofit, called the situation “educational homicide.” He’s not wrong. Such a disastrous performance, especially when substantial financial resources are available, raises critical questions about administrative effectiveness and accountability.

A considerable amount of Baltimore’s educational funding is driven by the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future, a program purportedly designed to overhaul education and improve equity. Despite these lofty goals, students are failing in basic subjects like math. When state lawmakers first passed the bill for this program, former Gov. Larry Hogan (R) attempted a veto, which was overridden by the Democrat-controlled legislature. In light of the dismal results, Hogan’s reservations seem prescient.

Years of pouring money into the system have yielded nothing but failure, thereby ignoring the future of Baltimore’s students. Parents have reached a breaking point. Some have sued the district, alleging fraud and misuse of taxpayer money.

Rodriguez is renewing calls for the resignation of Baltimore City Schools CEO Dr. Sonja Santelises, and rightfully so. “There is no excuse,” Rodriguez says. “We have a system that’s just running rogue, and it starts at the top.”

The data adds to a growing list of educational failures in Baltimore, including grade inflation scandals and low GPAs. While Baltimore City Public Schools declined an interview on this subject, they issued a statement acknowledging challenges but attributing them to years of “chronic underfunding.”

That argument falls flat. With record funding in the last school year, including $799 million in COVID-19 relief, the performance should have shown a modicum of improvement. Instead, Baltimore seems trapped in a continuous cycle of poor academic performance, a disturbing trend noted at least as far back as 2017.

As taxpayers continue to foot the ever-increasing bill for education in Baltimore, they must demand transparency and accountability from those in charge. This isn’t merely a Baltimore issue; it’s a dire warning sign for the future of public education in America. If educational leaders can’t deliver results despite significant investments, it’s time for serious reform or replacement.