This week, the Baltimore City Public Schools, attempting to avoid holding students back who have poor grades, announced a new grading policy that would enable students who failed one class to still proceed to the next grade.
The school district said it was taking the new approach because of effects caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Chief Academic Officer Joan Dabrowski said the new approach is meant to “avoid the punitive approach of failing students,” according to CNN.
“This is not about a failure, but it is about unfinished learning and giving multiple opportunities, multiple onramps for young people to complete that … learning,” Baltimore City Public Schools CEO Sonja Santelises added.
A high school student who normally would receive an “F” for a course will now receive a “No Credit” designation. For students in second through eighth grades, “Unsatisfactory” or “Fail” will now be marked “Not Completed.”
Dabrowski explained, “In all of these instances, we want to emphasize the word ‘yet.’ Not completed yet, no credit yet.”
“Sixty-three percent of middle and high school students are failing at least one class according to Baltimore City Public Schools — that’s nearly 25,000 students out of the nearly 40,000 sixth through twelfth graders in the district. Even more worrying, 51% of students in grades 2-5 and 37% of Kindergarten and first-graders failed at least one course during this school year,” CNN noted.
The Daily Wire’s Ashe Schow reported in March:
School officials in Baltimore are making more than $100,000 a year even though they’re failing students in the district. The Washington Examiner reported that 1,307 school employees are paid more than $100,000 a year, with the highest-paid teacher earning $156,601. Of the more than one thousand officials earning six-figures, 316 are teachers. This is double the number of teachers making more than $100,000 in 2018. The median teacher salary in Baltimore last year was $73,592, while the average income in the city was just $29,843.
The Examiner noted that Baltimore City Schools CEO Dr. Sonja Santelises was the district’s highest-paid employee, making $339,000 a year, $22,000 more than she was making just three years ago.
The news comes after Project Baltimore reported earlier this month that a high school student managed to rank near the top half of his class despite failing all but three classes over four years and obtaining a 0.13 grade point average. The unnamed student is Tiffany France’s son, whom she thought was going to receive his diploma this year. She learned just this year, however, that he would not graduate.
“He’s stressed and I am too. I told him I’m probably going to start crying. I don’t know what to do for him,” France told the outlet. “Why would he do three more years in school? He didn’t fail, the school failed him. The school failed at their job. They failed. They failed, that’s the problem here. They failed. They failed. He didn’t deserve that.”
…France’s son was not the only student at the school who kept moving up despite failing. Project Baltimore reported that hundreds of students were promoted while failing most of their classes and skipping school.