Friday, February 24, 2023

Forget It Jake, It's Baltimore

 John Sexton at Hat Hair has Good news for one child stuck in Baltimore City's awful public schools

Earlier this month David wrote about a new report on Baltimore City schools. State testing revealed that there were 23 schools where not a single student was doing math at grade level. Only 7% of kids in Baltimore City schools from grades 3-8 were judged proficient in math.

Fox45, the local affiliate that aired that report, followed up with an interview with a mom whose son was attending one of those 23 schools. Nichelle Watkins knew her son Logan was in trouble because he was in 4th grade and still couldn’t read well or do basic math. She had written to the school asking for help or for the school to hold her son back so he’d have a chance to learn but the school had ignored her requests and kept passing her son into higher grades. “I feel like they don’t care. It’s not they’re children. They don’t care,” she told reporter Chris Papst. She was in tears as she worried that without an education her son was likely to wind up dead or in prison. She felt her son needed a tutor but as a single mother living in public housing she said she didn’t have $1,000 to hire one from Sylvan learning.

The good news is that a lot of people saw that report and some of them offered to help.
It’s now been two weeks since Watkins shared her story with Project Baltimore. And in those two weeks, her life has changed…

“I have so many people reaching out,” Watkins told Project Baltimore. “It’s been crazy.”

Watkins’s story triggered an outpouring of support. Numerous tutoring services, including Sylvan Learning, contacted Watkins offering free tutoring for Logan. Two viewers came forward, each one offering $1,000 to pay for tutoring services. A local private school has offered Logan free tuition. But the first to reach out was Blanca Tapahuasco.

“It is sad that he’s so far behind,” Tapahuasco told Project Baltimore.

Tapahuasco has been a tutor for 25 years, at one point for Baltimore City Schools. When she saw Logan’s story on Fox45 News, she immediately offered to help.

“After assessing Logan and listening to him read, I have him at a first grade,” Tapahuasco told Project Baltimore. “Definitely kindergarten for math.”
The story notes that Baltimore City schools has an annual budget of $1.6 billion, making it one of the best funded systems in the country. But since the original story aired, no one at BCS has attempted to contact Nichelle Watkins, not the principal of her son’s school, nor the superintendent. No one. They are treating this as a political problem to be managed away.

At least his mother cared enough to reach out. A lot of them don't. 

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