City Teacher Calls for “Total Revolution”
BALTIMORE (WBFF) - A veteran Baltimore City teacher told Fox45 the only thing that can save City Schools is total revolution.
This comes in the wake of a Project Baltimore investigation into grade changing allegations at one city school, NACA II. That report sparked a City Schools internal investigation.
When we sat down with this teacher, we knew the concerns, but our conversation started with something we were not expecting.
When asked why the teacher came forward, we were told, “Spite. Complete and total spite for a system that refused to change for the last 15 years.”
For nearly two decades, this educator has taught at some of Baltimore City’s lowest performing schools, including Northwood Appold Community Academy II, or NACA II. That school is now the focus of a City Schools internal investigation into allegations of grade changing first reported by Project Baltimore. After seeing those stories, this educator reached out to say, “That is not news. When I read your stories about NACA, I wonder why anybody is shocked.”
In this teacher’s experience, pushing some kids through unprepared for the next grade is not rare, it’s routine.
“We have graduated kids who can’t read. [They] had a diploma in their hands that they couldn’t read. That sounds like an exaggeration or hyperbole. It’s not.”
This teacher works in a school system that has its struggles. Recent state testing data show just 15 percent of city students are proficient in English and 12 percent in math. But there are successes. For example, the 2017 graduating class was offered $10 million more in college scholarships than the previous year, according to North Avenue. Ten students also got accepted into Ivy league schools, compared to three in 2016. But this teacher is concerned about the students who will never see that dream, the ones who fall behind before they even get to high school.
“Ninth grade says they come from middle school like this. Middle school says they come from elementary school like this,” the teacher told us. “I have been told by old salts in the school system, just pass them all. Graduation rates goes up and everybody is happy.”
In early August, Project Baltimore first reported on grade changing allegations at NACA II. Attorneys for the school’s operator and principal both deny those allegations. But North Avenue is investigating, which the school board chair says could lead to District-wide changes.
“If they have policy implications, we’re definitely going to address them,” says Cheryl Casciani, Chair of the Baltimore City School Board.
But this educator believes another policy will have little impact.
“There’s a lot of people making a lot of money to keep the situation exactly the way it is,” the teacher told us.
If the city wants a drastically better school system, it will require drastic change.
“Revolution. Total revolution,” the teacher said, like eliminating grades levels and grouping students based on skill not age.
“Stop having first grade, second grade, ninth grade, tenth grade. Stop it. It doesn’t work. If a kid can’t read, why are we moving on to anything else? Why move on to math? Why move on to science? You live in the United States, you get a free education. But that education has to be worth something. When that becomes worthless, why are we doing it?”
When asked if it’s become worthless in Baltimore City, the teacher responded, “Pretty much.”