Baltimore Senior Returned to 9th Grade After Only Passing Three Classes in Four Years

News & Politics

If this story about a Baltimore teen whose mother thought he would graduate this June only to learn he would have to repeat all four years of high school doesn’t make you a school choice advocate, nothing will. When President Trump spoke at Mount Rushmore, he said that school choice is the civil rights issue of our time. Yet, the Biden administration will seek to limit those programs while whining about “systemic racism.” Biden will refuse to address the oppressive system that ties millions of black and brown children to failing public schools based on their zip code.

Despite only passing three classes in his four years of high school, Tiffany France’s son has a class rank of 62 out of 120 as a senior. That means 58 students at Augusta Fells Savage School for Visual Arts in Baltimore have a G.P.A. of 0.13 or less. School personnel did not inform her that he’ll need to repeat all four years of high school until this February. His transcripts showed that the only classes he passed were English I, Health Education, and Fundamentals of Art as a 9th grader. He is now 17.

When you view his high school transcript, Health Education is the only grade he got higher than a D. His mother is correct when she says his high school failed him. They continued to pass him to new grade levels. He failed Algebra I and Spanish I but advanced to the next-level courses for both subjects. France reports that only one teacher contacted her in the nearly four-year period to request a conference. That meeting never happened. It is evident that his formative school years did not prepare him to be successful when he entered high school.

France has three children and works three jobs to support her family. She said she assumed that if her son was being placed in a new class for the new school year, he had the knowledge or skills he needed to move on. His transcript also shows he had been late or absent 272 times during his first three years, and no one told France her son was failing or about his truancy. She said he never received extra help or any mentorship.

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An administrator from the Baltimore City School District who requested to remain anonymous told Fox 45 that the school staff failed to follow established protocols and interventions utilized when a child falls behind or has other issues. He said, “I get angry. There’s nothing but frustration. We see on the news the crime that occurs, the murders, the shootings. We know there are high levels of poverty in Baltimore. Things like this are adding to that.”

Dr. Sonja Santelises has served as the CEO of Baltimore City Public Schools since May 2016. Her biography sounds impressive, and she appears to be a champion for low-income students. She even lectured for two years at Harvard on urban education. Her results tell and a different story. According to Fox 45:

Project Baltimore pulled the data for Augusta Fells. We found many students are struggling. The school’s attendance rate is 61 percent. That’s 27 points below the district average. Of the 434 students enrolled in 2019, two tested proficient in math and two in English. Yet, 48 percent, nearly half the students, manage to graduate in four years. All of this in a school that gets $5.3 million a year from taxpayers.

No one from the district office would go on the record with Fox 45, choosing to release a statement instead. They claim the school had done home visits and that France had met with school leadership. She asserts neither ever happened. Her son will be going to a new program to complete the coursework required to get his diploma. If he works diligently, he could graduate by 2023.

There are now calls to investigate and even shut down the school. What about the middle school that didn’t prepare France’s son? Do we know if he was proficient in testing at any point in his school career? Of course, the district is unionized, and all of the staff who did not follow protocols will likely receive no discipline and will most certainly not get fired.

In one of the wealthiest and most advanced countries in the world, this story is unconscionable. The average high school teacher salary in Baltimore City is $62,000. In 2019 the district ranked third in highest per-pupil spending in the nation. It is the perfect demonstration of why dumping more money into failing public schools that have no market incentives to improve will accomplish nothing. The only incentive to perform in the classroom is whatever individual motivation teachers bring. Tiffany French should be able to see what happened to her oldest child and have the choice to move her younger children to a program that will meet their needs. At this point, there is no guarantee she will.

Watch Fox 45’s full report:

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  1. Our education system is built for failure. Some schools have dropped the programs for gifted children. They say this type of advanced education is racist because it is only for whites and Orientals. Of course they are wrong. It is for students that study. We all have brains regardless of race.. How you use that brain is where you end up in life.

    1. I understand that most schools in this day and age do not teach to learn, they teach to the tests, which I consider different than teaching to learn. This student was actually inabled by the school to fail…. BUT, the student did not apply himself either. The result of a single parent family?

      1. If they ‘teach to the test’, why are most of the students…FAILING?

        This is a matter of failing to teach even the basic skills, then when caught, accusing others of racism. The fact that a single mother who works three jobs to support her children is kept out of the loop, is evidence that the system wants failure.

    2. Because the democrat racist position is that minorities are incapable of succeeding on their own. Biden even stated last week that it does little good to give outlying, rural, minority communities internet because they don’t know how to use it.

  2. Obviously, this student had something wrong with his ability to learn something and was pushed through by teachers who didn’t give a rat’s a$$ in getting him into a school that was appropriate for students with learning disabilities.

  3. I believe that tenure should be eliminated for teacher at ALL levels. All teachers from kindergarten through high school should be rated on how there students do on testing at the end of each school year. There must not be any students being passed on to the next higher grade without passing the minimums, at least, for subjects in the current grade. Teachers that fail their students in either student failure rates or outright “padding” the books to just pass the failing student on should be eliminated from teaching. Teacher unions need to be abolished and ALL students/families need to be provided a choice whether they will support public schools or support private schools. Those that choose a private school should be permitted to apply for financial assistance based upon legitimate family income and federal, state, and local governments need to fund private schools based upon student workload and needs ONLY.
    We no longer need HS Grads that cannot read, write, of do simple math.

  4. Do they send out report cards. .? Where is his father? Mother has a lot of
    Responsibility in this situation. Surprised that racism wasn’t used as an

  5. The school system certainly failed this young man. What is not mentioned is how MOM failed him also and is probably failing the other children. Schools are not parents. If she had a scheduled meeting and didn’t make it, why did SHE not follow up and make it happen? Did she never ONCE, in four years, ask to see his report card or progress report? If she couldn’t give the children the attention needed from a parent, she shouldn’t have become a parent. If she really cared about her children, she should never vote democrat again.

  6. That’s sickening and disheartening.

    272 days not at school in three years? That’s over HALF the student’s time in class, and they were ditching? And the school never told the parent? I mean, I had a pretty messed up time growing up, and ditched a lot, had bad grades and ended up getting a GED, but they at least tried to call my parents to let them know.

    And when I FAILED a class I had to REPEAT it.

    These are educators so wrapped up in greed that they don’t care about what happens to the students. They’re just passing them, all so they can say they’re doing their job. And of course they’re being protected by a Union that doesn’t care, so long as they get their scratch from the state.

    Unions have proven time and again, with few exceptions, that all they are capable of doing is FAILING the industry they’re part of.

  7. “Baltimore Senior Returned to 9th Grade After Only Passing Three Classes in Four Years”

    And the woke folk are all bent out of shape about white privledged math. Maybe there’s a reason some people never make it past the 8th grade. Besides which they’re not going to need woke Math or non-woke Math. They’re already a dead horse in the stall. (They don’t have much going for them right off the bat.)

    1. Please read. Mom was working three jobs. She trusted the school to notify her. She trusted the “professionals” to do their jobs. The student was just exhibiting his immaturity. He was not necessarily learning disabled. The school was teaching disabled. The school failed, period. There was a problem with no father in the home. Studies show that fathers make a huge difference in their children’s success rates. Still, I applaud mom’s hard work and determination to get her family out of the Democrat created hole they were shoved into.

      School choice would go a long way toward fixing schools. No more tenure for crappy teachers, reward the great ones, and let the money follow the students with parents being able to choose where their kids attend. These failing schools would improve or close taking their non-performing “teachers” with them.

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