North Avenue Administrator: 70% of Baltimore City Schools Change Grades
Grade changing is a systemic problem. That allegation coming from a high-level Baltimore City Public Schools employee who works inside District Headquarters at North Avenue.
This allegation comes after Project Baltimore recently reported on report cards obtained from Calverton Elementary/Middle in west Baltimore. There are two sets. In the first, 13 students from Calverton failed 18 classes. In the second, printed a few weeks later, each failing grade is changed to a 60; the lowest passing score.
One school district administrator who works at North Avenue tells Fox45 70% of middle and high schools in the city are changing grades to make the schools look better on paper.
“If you look at it from the standpoint of winners and losers,” our source said, “it’s not hard to believe.”
The winners, according to this educator, include District administrators who benefit from more students passing. If their school looks better, they keep their jobs and salaries – which, for principals top out at $169,766 a year. Asst. Principals and Central administrators at North Avenue can make north of $125,000.
Calverton is a school that struggles academically. Project Baltimore, analyzed state testing data and found just two percent of students in elementary and middle school are proficient in English. One percent are proficient in Math. But our source says a school like Calverton can compensate for poor test scores if its students are passing and graduating to the next grade.
“There has been irrefutable evidence [of grade changing] presented to folks that I am wholly aware of that has gone upon deaf ears,” said our source. “If we can sweep it under the rug, then we can manipulate data. It’s about academic data. It’s smoke and mirrors.”
The educator went on to say grade changing hurts students city-wide by masking their lack of proficiency, and it can’t be ignored.
“Ethically, I have to wake up every morning believing I have done all I can do to help the kids I work with. There are no words I can say to make it better, other than we completely failed them. It completely bothers me to my soul,” concluded our source.
At Calverton, numerous emails and phone calls from Fox45 to Principal Martia Cooper went unanswered. Instead, we were directed to North Avenue, which decline an interview.
North Avenue did supply a statement to Project Baltimore that read, in part, “Ensuring that students’ grades are an accurate reflection of their achievement is an essential component of a quality education. Anything less does a disservice to students and calls into question the integrity and professionalism of the educators charged with supporting their success.”