77% Of A Baltimore High School’s Students Only Read At An Elementary School Level
information regarding the levels at which Baltimore students test. The teacher, who works at one of the largest schools in Baltimore, Patterson High School, brought forth numbers that should cause concern across the entire state of Maryland, if not the entire country. In short, most of the high school students don't know how to read.
One Baltimore teacher is taking a bold stance by presenting shocking information regarding the levels at which Baltimore students test. The teacher, who works at one of the largest schools in Baltimore, Patterson High School, brought forth numbers that should cause concern across the entire state of Maryland, if not the entire country. In short, most of the high school’s students don’t know how to read.
“Our children deserve better. They really do,” the Patterson High School teacher said to Project Baltimore. “As a whole, the system has failed them.” The teacher agreed to be interviewed as long as their identity was not revealed for fear of retribution. What the teacher was referring to was the report, which Baltimore City Schools do not want parents and the public in general to see, that showed 77% of the students tested at Patterson High School are reading at an elementary school level.
These results are just the tip of the iceberg in terms of horrendous numbers. As mentioned, Baltimore’s Patterson High School is one of the largest in the state and has a poor 61% student graduation rate. This comes from a school that has been given a $12 million budget.
Each year, Baltimore City School students are given iReady assessments that help determine at what grade level students are performing in reading and math. The scores are never made public, and as you will see, with good reason, at least in the eyes of Baltimore City Schools. If these results are requested by the media, they will get them but most of the information is redacted. You can thank one brave teacher for bringing to light just how poor the school system is in Baltimore.
For the iReady reading test, Baltimore’s Patterson High School tested 628 students. Of those, 484 students (which equates to 77%) tested at an elementary school reading level. From that numbers, it includes 45 students reading at a second-grade level, 88 students reading at a first-grade level, and shockingly there were 71 high school students reading at a kindergarten level.
Of all the Patterson students tested, a paltry 12 total, or 1.9%, tested their reading at grade level. 12 students. No wonder Baltimore City Schools didn’t want these numbers out in the public realm. With numbers this poor, the big question becomes just how these students make it to and through high school.
“They’re pushed through,” says the brave teacher. “They’re not ready for the workforce. They’re not ready for further education.” The teacher also says students making it into high school is more of a social promotion rather than promotion through grades. This, as seen with Baltimore City Schools, is a matter of policy.
The Baltimore City Schools district incorporates a “one fail” policy. As stated, “students cannot be retained a second time prior to ninth grade.” What this means to students and parents is that students move on to their next grade, regardless of much or how little work has been completed. Studies have shown that students learn better when they are grouped with their grade-level peers. This doesn’t appear to be the case with Baltimore high school students.
“These numbers aren’t lying,” the teacher said. “We truly need the families to see these numbers and to understand what it is.” Well, the numbers are out there for all to see. But what can be done about them? Parents, teachers, and even community activists have been asked this question over the years, but all end up with the same conclusion – the students get pushed through the system.
As an example of just one tragic story, the parent of one high school student attending Baltimore’s Augusta Fells Savage Institute of Visual Arts thought her son would be graduating this year. But the parent just found out that her 17-year-old son is being told he has to start the ninth grade all over again. The reason? He has passed only three classes in four years of high school, which shockingly puts him in the top half of his class with a 0.13-grade point average. WHAT?
Baltimore City Schools released a statement concerning the iReady scores. Their claim is that the poor student scores had a lot to do with the pandemic and they do not provide a complete picture of student performance. The entire statement can be seen below.
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How does something like this get fixed? How does something like this continue to happen? How do students continue to get a pass when they clearly aren’t? How do educators deal with the fact that their system is broken? So many questions, and in the eyes of Baltimore City School students, too few answers.