A stunning and highly concerning report out of Baltimore has revealed that in the first three-quarters of this past school year, nearly half of all high school students enrolled in Baltimore City Schools earned below a D average.
Fox 45 Baltimore reports that the organization Project Baltimore obtained a chart put together by the city’s public schools which shows that the average grade point average (GPA) for high school students grades 9 through 12.
Out of 20,500 high school students enrolled in public high schools, 41% earned below a 1.0 GPA.
“This is terrible,” Jovani Patterson, who ran for Baltimore City Council President last year, told Project Baltimore. “This is just further perpetuating a cycle of poverty, of despair.”
“Our schools outspend 97% of other major school districts,” he noted, having observed they see “no change” even with all the funding the schools demand from the city.
“It’s heartbreaking,” Patterson said of the depressing GPA data. “If almost half of our kids are failing, what options do they have after high school? This is really disheartening. It’s sad to see this.”
Only about half as many students as those who earned below a D average, that is 21% of all high school students enrolled in public schools, achieved a GPA of 3.0 or better, which is a B average or higher.
The district also lost 706 high school students during the first three quarters of the ‘20/’21 school year.
Nationally, high school public school enrollment dropped several percentage points during the last school year, as the pandemic exacerbated already mounting concerns with the public school system as a whole and alternative schools or homeschooling grows in popularity among parents.
Fox 45 notes that in January, City Schools CEO Dr. Sonja Santelises announced the course failure rate for students had nearly doubled amid the COVID-19 pandemic. In May, one school announced it would not hold back students who failed too many classes.
“This most recent GPA data could indicate why City Schools made that decision,” the station observed.
During the second quarter of the 2019/2020 school year, the last quarter before the onset of the pandemic, 24% of Baltimore public high school students had a GPA below 1.0.
“Consistent with the experience of many school districts across the country, the COVID-19 pandemic created significant disruptions to student learning. As early as the summer of 2020, City Schools identified large numbers of students with decreases in their grade point averages and classroom performance when compared to past performances,” Baltimore City Schools told the news station in a statement, having declined an interview.
“Starting this summer and beyond, City Schools is providing students with a variety of opportunities to acquire the unfinished learning they lost. Each student’s progress will be assessed, and an action plan will be developed to complete any unfinished learning. These plans will guide families and teachers in helping students get back on track,” they added.
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