How long will leaders who let our children down blame Covid-19 for their failures? Anger swept across Baltimore, Maryland, after not a single student passed their state math exams, and almost 75 percent testing at the lowest possible score.
The Daily Mail reports “The poor performances came in the latest round of Maryland‘s state testing, where 13 high schools in the city – a staggering 40 percent – failed to produce a single student with a ‘proficient’ score in math.” Baltimore City Schools not only received $1.6 billion last year from taxpayers, but the school district also received $799 million in Covid relief funding from the federal government.
“So, it’s not a funding issue. We’re getting plenty of funding,” said Jason Rodriguez, deputy director of Baltimore-based nonprofit People Empowered by the Struggle, to Fox Baltimore. “I don’t think money is the issue. I think accountability is the issue…This is educational homicide, there is no excuse for the failure, which has come after years of warnings over the city’s poor education standards,” added Rodriguez.
A bombshell study published this month by the Center on Reinventing Public Education (CRPE) found that 16 million students were chronically absent during the pandemic. “The millions of students had missed more than 10 percent of schools days during the 2021-22 year, twice the number seen in previous years. More than eight in 10 public schools also reported stunted behavioral and social-emotional development in their students due to the pandemic, according to a May survey cited in the report.”
However, six years ago a similar report by Project Baltimore found that 13 schools in the city had zero students test ‘proficiently’ in math. An almost identical finding. “We’re still dealing with these same issues year after year,” Rodriguez continued. “It’s just scary to me and alarming to me because we know that what’s happening now, you know, it’s just opening up the floodgates to the school-to-prison pipeline. I’m beyond angry… This is why we’ve been calling for the resignation of the school CEO.”
Daily Mail notes that Rodriguez’s group has previously held rallies over the mounting educational crisis in the city, and in 2021 led calls for Baltimore City Schools CEO Dr. Sonja Santelises to resign over low test scores and falling graduation rates.
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Department of Education Office of Civil Rights opens investigation into Harvard University
On Tuesday the United States Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights opened an investigation into Harvard University in order to determine if the school has fulfilled legal obligation to respond to the increase in antisemitic incidents after Hamas’ brutal attack on Israel on October 7th.
The university agreed to cooperate with the investigation in a statement issued Wednesday. “We support the work of the Office for Civil Rights to ensure students’ rights to access educational programs are safeguarded and will work with the office to address their questions,” the statement read.
The DOE has also opened investigations into Columbia University, Cornell University, Wellesley College, and the University of Pennsylvania this month over “discrimination involving shared ancestry” under Title VI.
the investigation was prompted after a complaint which stated Harvard “discriminated against students on the basis of their national origin (shared Jewish ancestry and/or Israeli) when it failed to respond appropriately to reports of incidents of harassment,”
National Review reports that while the Office of Civil Rights does not typically disclose which specific complaints prompted an investigation, there have been several high-profile incidents of antisemitism at Harvard and other Ivy league universities in recent weeks.
Hedge fund manager Bill Ackman sent an open letter to Harvard president Claudine Gay earlier this month which cited the confrontation at the “die-in” and urged her to take action to protect Jewish students.
“Jewish students are being bullied, physically intimidated, spat on, and in several widely-disseminated videos of one such incident, physically assaulted,” Mr. Ackman wrote. “On-campus protesters on the Widener Library steps and elsewhere shout, ‘Intifada! Intifada! Intifada! From the River to the Sea, Palestine Shall be Free!’”
Harvard President Claudine Gay released a statement about “combatting antisemitism” on November 9:
“I affirm our commitment to protecting all members of our community from harassment and marginalization, and our commitment to meeting antisemitism head-on, with the determination it demands,” Gay said. “Let me reiterate what I and other Harvard leaders have said previously: Antisemitism has no place at Harvard.”
Among the antisemitic events that have circulated national news are how just days after the Hamas attack, a 19-year-old Columbia student was arrested for allegedly assaulting an Israeli student who was trying to prevent the suspect from tearing down posters of Israeli hostages. Also at Cornell, a 21-year-old student was arrested for allegedly threatening to murder and rape his Jewish classmates on an anonymous online message board.
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