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Blame teacher unions, politicians for high failure rates | READER COMMENTARY

Return2Learn Maryland Schools cofounder Trish Stone gives remarks in front of the Maryland State House. Return2Learn Maryland Schools organized a Stand Up! Protest to Fully Open Maryland, Saturday, March 13, 2021, at Lawyers Mall in Annapolis. (Paul W. Gillespie/Capital Gazette).
Return2Learn Maryland Schools cofounder Trish Stone gives remarks in front of the Maryland State House. Return2Learn Maryland Schools organized a Stand Up! Protest to Fully Open Maryland, Saturday, March 13, 2021, at Lawyers Mall in Annapolis. (Paul W. Gillespie/Capital Gazette). (Paul W. Gillespie)

Second term grading information was presented at the Maryland State Department of Education meeting on March 22. Of the 24 school districts in Maryland, nine have a 20% or higher failure rate in math and English at the high school level, and 10 have a 10% to 20% failure rate. Let’s be clear: Over a third of our school districts in Maryland have 20% of their high school students failing math and English.

Where I live in Anne Arundel County, 14% of our high school students are failing math and English. In the public school system, teachers have been told to be more compassionate in their grading. Knowing the grace being given behind the scenes, this data should then be even more alarming. According to the MSDE data page, in Baltimore City, 39% of high school students are failing English and 34% are failing math, and in Baltimore County, 12% are failing English, and 14% are failing math. The wide gaps in our public education system are going to be ever more apparent within our state because of the lack of in-person instruction at the times we could have provided it during this pandemic.

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Other states placed in-person education as a priority at the beginning of this school year. Maryland did not. These failure numbers need to be viewed not as a failure of parents to adequately help their children navigate the virtual environment. The rates also cannot be viewed as a failure of teachers, because there is only so much you can do through a screen. The absence of an in-person option for those who would have chosen to utilize it since September is primarily to blame. And we will continue to see the effects of the cowardly decisions by politicians and the staggering influence by our state’s teachers’ unions for years to come.

Elizabeth Fine, Gambrills

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