Baltimore Activists Hope School Choice Will Fix Terrible Educational Record

( – Baltimore students are struggling to get a decent education. School choice is the only solution according to some activists who are pushing to release taxpayer funds from the system so parents can take that money and spend it at private schools or other alternatives. The problem isn’t a lack of money, Baltimore has some of the highest per-student spendings in the state, so what’s the problem?

Upwards of 90% of students don’t meet the criteria for proficiency in math, and almost 80% of them were similarly stunted when it came to English.

Founder of Black Minds Matter Denisha Allen thinks there’s “a disconnect between higher-ups” and teachers in the classroom. She stressed the poor performance of the city’s school system and emphasized the problem has existed “for decades.” Their graduation rate is a paltry 69%, and almost two dozen schools reported zero students with proficiency in math.

She also emphasized that funding isn’t the issue, the city funds these failures to the tune of $1.62 billion per year, that’s an increase of 16% compared to last year’s budget. Her organization rallies for school choice, or the idea that parents receive a percentage of the $21,000 it allocates per student for them to pay for things like homeschooling, online education, or private schools.

Fund students, not systems, is the idea, she said. The idea of allowing parents to chose the best situation for their child makes a lot of sense, as different children have different needs and different educational environments can help them thrive.

Baltimore city officials disagree. They blame historic poverty, and underfunding which they believe “require greater discussion.” How much discussion and how many billions do they need to fix the problem? They didn’t give specific answers, but they did suggest that measuring achievement is more nuanced than looking at test scores.

Mayor Tim Scott blamed a nationwide drop in math skills. Poverty, absent parents, single motherhood, gang violence, and the outright exploitation of the situation for political gain might be contributing to the problem of educating young people in the city.

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