Officials react (don’t react) to 13 High Schools, Zero Math Proficiency

Officials react (don’t react) to 13 High Schools, Zero Math Proficiency

BALTIMORE (WBFF) - Are our public officials paying attention? That’s what Project Baltimore wanted to know after a recent investigation discovered 13 of Baltimore City’s 39 High Schools didn’t have one student proficient in Math, last year. Another six schools had just one percent proficient.

With one-third of City high schools unable to produce a single student proficient in math, we wanted to know what local leaders thought. We already knew no one at City School’s administration at North Avenue would talk to us. So, we went in search of reaction and solutions from your public officials. Here’s what we got.

Our search started at a recent school board meeting with Board Chair Cheryl Casciani. She said this: “I’ve been here since 3:00, I prefer not to talk tonight.” We asked her around 9:30 at night.

Discussions with Congressman Elijah Cummings produced no response. Senator Ben Cardin gave us this statement: “Senator [Cardin] is deeply troubled by the findings in your reporting, particularly because, if true, they illustrate a growing achievement gap between our state’s white and minority students.”

We also got a statement from the Baltimore Teachers Union: “The BTU finds the report regarding the non-proficient scores in math to be troubling, however, as educators, we are all aware that test scores do not reflect the full picture of a child’s academic progress.”

Next stop, Baltimore City Council.

“Literally, the only high school in my District is Mercy High School, which is a private Catholic school for girls. It’s not run by Baltimore City. I can tell you about that school, but it won’t much help your story.” That was Councilman Bill Henry explaining that since there are no High Schools in his District, he couldn’t speak to the issue.

But councilman Zeke Cohen, who Chairs the Education Committee, did.

“This needs to be wakeup call and a rallying call for our entire city,” said Cohen. “The schools have got to do better. We, as a city, we have to support our young people all the way through.”

We tried for two-weeks to get comment from Mayor Catherine Pugh and State Delegate Maggie McIntosh. Both are usually outspoken about city education. Neither were willing to comment. But, Governor Larry Hogan had plenty to say.

“Zero people proficient. That’s outrageous,” stated Hogan. “The students are really the ones that are being cheated. They deserve to get the education, that in some cases, they apparently are not.”

Senator Chris Van Hollen’s office has been very responsive to Project Baltimore about our investigation and sent this statement that we want to include. The Senator has been a strong proponent of education reform and we look forward to sitting down with him soon.

“Senator Van Hollen believes these findings are deeply alarming and require urgent action. He urges the school system and our community to immediately develop a plan to address the needs of students and ensure they receive the preparation they need to succeed. Senator Van Hollen stands ready to assist in any way and will continue fighting for federal education funding to ensure Maryland and our education system have the resources they need to address these issues.” – Bridgett Frey, spokeswoman for Senator Chris Van Hollen

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