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Baltimore Students Who Failed Classes During COVID Year Will Be Given Passing Grades, Lt. Governor Shares Concerns

SOURCE: Thomas Park on unsplash.com

Thanks to the decision to shut down schools and force students to learn by way of virtual classrooms, over 70% of American students are failing classes.

My son is a senior in high school who received straight A’s on every report card for several years and he had a failing grade for most of his classes this past year because of virtual learning. Many students just can’t do it. It’s not natural for them to be learning by watching a video, live or otherwise. The teachers know it. The school boards know it. And the teacher’s unions know it. I predicted they are going to do something to save face because we knew all along that children rarely contract the COVID-19 virus and are not super-spreaders but they went ahead and locked them down, anyway. In my son’s school in Pennsylvania, they have a credit system where you receive credits based on how well or how poorly you do. Fortunately, my son did so well throughout the first three years of high school he has earned enough credits to graduate.

A decision was made in the Baltimore school district, however, that Baltimore students who failed classes this year during the COVID-19 pandemic will not be held back from school. Instead, they will receive a passing grade and move on to the next level, according to a recent announcement made by the city’s school board.

On Tuesday last week, the announcement was made during a virtual school board meeting that students who failed classes during the COVID school year will still pass and be moved on. I assume they don’t expect anyone to complain that their children were ripped off an entire year of education.

“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,” Baltimore City Public Schools CEO Sonja Santelises said. “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. Did white students not face the same unique circumstances?

Scientists could announce that a giant asteroid is hurtling toward Earth, will impact within 48 hours, and obliterate all life on the planet. The New York Times would come out with a headline: “Asteroid To Destroy Life On Earth: Minorities Hardest Hit.” The Washington Post headline would be, “We’re Doomed! Women and Minorities Most Affected.”

According to Census data, 85 percent of Baltimore households have at least one computer and 74.5 percent have Internet access. That was data from 2015 through 2019, so the numbers must have risen since that time.

Joan Dabrowski, the Baltimore City Schools Chief Academic Officer 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.” In other words, they want to avoid pitchforks and daggers from angry parents.

Pre-K, kindergarten, and first-grade students won’t have any changes made to their grading system. For students’ 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 the student didn’t 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. What about if they are graduating?

Maryland’s Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford gave caution about a possible negative impact from 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.”

My son told me many of his school friends believe that when they apply to college or a job that wants to see transcripts, they’ll get a pass because 2020 was the “Year of COVID.” After going through the calamity of COVID Year, a lot of students aren’t going to want to go to summer school for something that wasn’t their fault.

Rutherford pointed out the flaws in the Baltimore school system’s decision to pass all students regardless of merit.

Rutherford sounds like a man who cares about the school system, but more importantly, about the students.

“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.

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