More than three quarters of students at one Baltimore high school are reading at an elementary level, with many reading at a kindergarten level.
Fox Baltimore reported that a teacher at Patterson High School, one of the largest high schools in the city, came forward with information showing 77% of students at the schools were found to have an elementary school reading level. Patterson has a 61% graduation rate and a $12 million budget. The teacher has not been identified to protect them from retaliation.
“iReady assessments are given in Baltimore City Schools to help determine at which grade level a student is performing in math and reading. The scores are not made public. If the media requests them, the district will redact most of the results. But Project Baltimore obtained the results for all of the students tested at Patterson High School,” the outlet reported. “In reading, 628 Patterson High School students took the test. Out of those students, 484 of them, or 77%, tested at an elementary school reading level. That includes 71 high school students who were reading at a kindergarten level and 88 students reading at a first-grade level. Another 45 are reading at a second-grade level. Just 12 students tested at Patterson High School, were reading at grade level, which comes out to just 1.9%.”
When Fox asked the teacher how a student with such a low reading school could make it to high school, the teacher said “They’re pushed through.”
“They’re not ready for the workforce. They’re not ready for further education,” the teacher said.
“These numbers aren’t lying,” the teacher added. “We truly need the families to see these numbers and to understand what it is.”
Fox noted that Baltimore City Schools have a “one fail” policy, meaning that students can only fail a grade once before ninth grade. After one fail, the student will be pushed onto the next grade no matter how poorly they have done.
The revelation comes at the same time that Maryland Public Policy Institute released a report showing that Maryland taxpayers are paying millions of dollars for “ghost students” – those who don’t attend school.
“The endemic enrollment fraud in Baltimore schools is a crime, not only against Maryland taxpayers who pay 70% of the city’s education costs, but against the children these schools are meant to serve,” Sean Kennedy, a visiting fellow with MPPI, told The Center Square.
“Fraudulently listing non-existent students is bad enough, but the school system has demonstrated cruel indifference toward those who are chronically truant or flat out missing, many of whom are vulnerable and potentially at risk of neglect, abuse and are being denied an education,” Kennedy added. “Worse, Baltimore’s enrollment ‘irregularities’ are not new, but a tradition with evidence of at least 15 years of enrollment fraud in its schools.”
This is not the first indication that Baltimore schools are in need of serious reform. In July 2021, The Daily Wire reported that following COVID shutdowns, four in 10 Baltimore public high school students earned below a 1.0 GPA – and failing grades wouldn’t keep students from moving onto the next grade.