Baltimore Student Who Failed All But Three Classes In Four Years Was Ranked In Top Half Of His Class
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. However, for minority students, this shutdown followed an already failed 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.
Watching this happen to the public schools has been particularly hard for many of us who are ardent supporters of public education. Growing up in Chicago during the massive flight of white families from the public school system, I remained in public schools for much of my early education. My parents organized a group to convince affluent families remain in the system. They feared that once such families left, the public schools would not only loose diversity but political clout and support. They also wanted their kids to benefit from such diversity. My wife and I also believe in that cause and we have kept our kids in public schools through to college. I believe public education plays a key role in our national identity and civics. They shape our next generation of citizens. My children have benefitted greatly from public schools and the many caring and gifted teachers who have taught them through the years.
Reading accounts like that of Tiffany France is disgraceful. She is working three jobs and counting on the school system to give her three children and education . . . and a chance. Yet, Baltimore and other cities have failed such children for decades. There is no accountability in the system. These leaders are failing whole generations and leaving them to an endless cycle of poverty and crime. Yet, they are reelected or reappointed every year. Educational leaders demand more money but show little progress or success. The money evaporates and nothing seems to change for Tiffany France or her children.