Baltimore students who failed this year during the coronavirus pandemic will not be held back. Instead, they will receive a passing grade and graduate to the next level, the city’s school board recently announced.
Baltimore students who failed classes during the 2020-2021 school year will still pass on to the next grade will not be penalized. The announcement was made during Tuesday’s virtual school board meeting.
“As we approach the end of the 2020-2021 school year, we all recognize that students have experienced incredibly significant challenges and interruptions in their learning,” said Baltimore City Public Schools CEO Sonja Santelises. “With that in mind, the district has developed a fair and straightforward process for evaluating and recording students’ progress in the current school year.”
“In all of these instances we want to emphasize the word ‘yet,” Santelises said. “Not completed yet. No credit yet.”
“Community and school members have been evaluating grading methods that reflect the ‘unique circumstances’ that ‘Black people have faced,'” Fox News reported.
Baltimore City Schools Chief Academic Officer Joan Dabrowski said during the meeting that the district is committed to its students and recognizes “the challenges they have faced this academic school year.”
“We are going to avoid the punitive approach to failing students and the default reaction to unfairly retain students,” she said. “Instead, we are going to … commit to our students as we plan for a multi-year academic recovery.”
Pre-K, kindergarten, and first-grade students will have no changes to the grading system. For grades two through five, any student who received an “unsatisfactory” grade would have it changed to a “not complete” grade. Students who failed middle and high school levels would receive a “No Credit,” which means that the students didn’t actually pass their school course, but would still advance to the next grade level. Failing students would be given an opportunity to complete their “NC” classes to earn credits over the summer.
Maryland’s Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford sounded the alarm about the possible negative implications of passing children to the next grade who failed this year during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“There’s so much learning loss that occurred this last year as well as just people falling through the cracks, I think that we are just pushing a problem down the road that we are all going to deal with and in another couple of years,” Rutherford told WBFF-TV. “I think it’s creating a major challenge going forward.”
Rutherford pointed out the flaws in the Baltimore school system’s decision to pass all students regardless of merit.
“I understand that they’re not going to get a failure on their transcript, but they won’t get credit. It’s almost the same thing,” Rutherford noted. “I don’t see how you can move to the next grade if you’re not getting credit.”
“We’ve already had a challenging situation with many of our school districts, particularly Baltimore City, and it’s going to be even worse” Rutherford warned.
A 2019 report found that Baltimore City Schools were the third-most funded school system in the United States with $16,184 being paid per student. Despite the money pouring into Baltimore’s education system, the report ranked Baltimore as the third-lowest performing large school system in America.
May 25, 2021School Board Meeting (Live)