41% of Baltimore high schoolers have a GPA below 1.0

This story comes from the same reporter at Fox 45 in Baltimore who published multiple stories earlier this year about the failures at Augusta Fells high school. Monday he published a story based on new documents that provide the GPA of every one of Baltimore’s 20,000 high school students. Incredibly, 41% of all students now have a GPA average below 1.0.

Project Baltimore obtained a chart assembled by Baltimore City Schools. The chart shows the average GPA for every high school grade in the city – freshman through senior. In the first three quarters of this past school year, according to the chart, 41% of all Baltimore City high school students, earned below a 1.0 grade point average. In other words, nearly half of the 20,500 public high school students in Baltimore earned less than a D average.

Baltimore schools were never doing that well but appear to have been hit hard by COVID lockdowns and the remote learning that followed.

During the second quarter of the 2019/2020 school year, just before COVID hit, 24% of high school students had a GPA below 1.0. Now, it’s 41 percent.

City Schools declined an interview but told us in a statement,” Consistent with the experience of many school districts across the country, the COVID-19 pandemic created significant disruptions to student learning. As early as the summer of 2020, City Schools identified large numbers of students with decreases in their grade point averages and classroom performance when compared to past performances.

The full spreadsheet is visible for a moment in the video report below. It shows that seniors were doing the best among all high schoolers and freshmen were doing the worst. Looking just at freshmen, who would have started school last fall, more than 51% are below the 1.0 threshold.

How is this possible? Perhaps it’s because Baltimore is a relatively impoverished area and it’s schools aren’t receiving the resources necessary to make better outcomes possible. But that doesn’t appear to be the case. In fact, Baltimore has the 3rd highest spending per pupil in the nation among major school districts. This report is from May 2019:

Baltimore City Public Schools continue to rank among the highest spenders in the U.S. on a per-student basis, placing third among the 100 biggest school systems during fiscal year 2017.

City schools spent $16,184 per pupil, according to data released Tuesday by the Census Bureau, up 6.7% from last year when the school system ranked fifth nationally. Baltimore City is the 40th-largest elementary and secondary public school district in the U.S. with 82,354 students. Four Maryland school districts ranked among the top 10 nationally, compared to five a year ago.

Baltimore County schools spend a bit less than Baltimore City schools but are still ranked 11th for spending on the list of 100 large districts. So the problem here doesn’t seem to be lack of funds. The city just isn’t getting much bang for its bucks.

Whatever the cause, the outcome is going to be awful for the city’s students who have no chance of succeeding in the economy if they can’t graduate from high school. Doesn’t there have to be some accountability in the system for failure this drastic? Will even one person resign or be fired because of this?