A Baltimore public school has abandoned educating its students

A Fox News station in Baltimore, Maryland, investigated a small, new(ish) public high school, in a politically correct “green” building, called the August Fells Savage institution of Visual Arts. With only 419 students, it ought to be turning out well-educated young citizens, ready to take their place in the world. However, as WBFF Fox 5 News discovered, this is a school that, despite a $5.3 million annual budget, passes students through like widgets in a factory, without bothering to educate them. Sadly, the parents seem helpless to make a difference.

The WBFF report takes as its starting point the tragedy of a 17-year-old boy who was put back to the 9th grade because he had a 0.13 GPA. Year after year, the school kept promoting him despite endless absences and failures, only to decide at the last minute that they couldn’t even pretend to graduate him:

In four years at Augusta Fells Savage Institute in west Baltimore, [Tiffany] France’s 17-year-old son passed just three courses. And despite failing courses like Algebra I, Spanish I and English II. He was promoted to Algebra II, Spanish II, English III. His transcripts show he’s ranked near the top half of his class of 120 students with a 0.13 GPA. And with just 2.5 credits, he’s just been moved back to ninth grade.

Did you catch that bit about the young man’s class ranking? Despite his dismal GPA, 58 students – almost half of the senior class – had lower GPAs than he did. According to the report, the most recent tests showed that only 2 of students out of the 434 enrolled in August Fells Savage were proficient in English and Math – yet the school graduated 48% of its students in four years,

The report makes it very clear that the school is failing badly. As long as it gets taxpayer money, it’s going to move students along, regardless of the fact that they’re learning nothing.

The report is very sympathetic to Tiffany France, the mother of the student who was moved back to 9th grade. It’s quite clear that she loves her son but there’s an important gap in the story that the report glosses over.

According to France, the school never let her know that her son was deeply so badly. In essence, she says that what they had there was a failure to communicate. However, awful as August Fells Savage high school is, this young man’s problems show that what’s going on in the home is a problem too.

As noted in the quoted paragraph above, Fox News’s investigative team was able to obtain all four years of the young man’s transcripts. France has no explanation for how she could have missed his report cards for all those years. Even if the school didn’t call her to report a problem, it should have been sending report cards home and, if she didn’t receive them, she should have sought them out.

France’s experience shows the unfortunate dependency that Democrats have inculcated into too many blacks – and there’s little doubt that August Fells Savage is a primarily black school. Despite France loving her son, it appears that she felt no sense of responsibility for his academic performance. Sadly, she believed that he was safely cradled in the government’s hands.

As someone who raised children in an upper-middle-class community, I can tell you that no parents in that community ever passively handed off their children’s education to the schools. They were constantly involved – volunteering, attending back-to-school nights and parent-teacher events, supervising their children’s homework, and anxiously inspecting every report card. If their children’s grades dropped, they scheduled meetings with the teachers to find out what was going on.

Although all the parents (except for me), gushed about how wonderful the public schools were and how amazing the teachers were, none would ever have abandoned their children to the schools’ tender ministrations. Just as an elderly person needs a family member to look out for him in a hospital or nursing home, a child needs someone to be there to police his education.

What’s happening to the students at August Fells Savage is a failure all around. The school seems to have allowed the soft bigotry of low expectations to lull it into feeling it deserved $5.3 million dollars a year for 419 students despite its manifest failure to educate them. Meanwhile, if Ms. France is representative of the parents at the school, the community has made the fatal mistake of trusting the government to take care of its children.

For the past year, my hope has been that the disgraceful, craven, greedy behavior that public school teachers’ unions have displayed over COVID will open more people’s eyes to the fact that this is a system that rewards failure for both students and teachers. I hoped, too, that it would make more parents get engaged with their children’s education to protect them against school failures. For one young man in Baltimore, though, too many people weren’t paying attention.

IMAGE: Augusta Fells Savage school statistics. Fox Baltimore screengrab.

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