Delegate Sandy Rosenberg Blames The Media For Failing City Schools

By FOX45
Posted on 02/08/23 | News Source: FOX45

In Annapolis, the topic received a similar response. Delegates Robbyn Lewis and Sandy Rosenberg, both elected leaders from Baltimore City, dodged our questions.

Baltimore, MD - Feb. 8, 2023 -  After FOX45’s Project Baltimore’s report uncovering 23 schools in Baltimore City had zero students who tested proficient in math, some leaders representing the city aren’t talking about the problem.

The Maryland State Department of Education recently released the 2022 state test results known as MCAP, Maryland Comprehensive Assessment Program. Baltimore City’s math scores were the lowest in the state; 7% of third through eighth graders tested proficient in math, meaning 93% could not do math at grade level.

Project Baltimore analyzed the test results and found 23 schools – including elementary, middle and high schools – that didn’t have one student performing at grade level.

There were another 20 schools that had one or two students testing proficient in math.

The alarming test results underscored the concern for student achievement in Baltimore City. The news was the topic on talk radio on Wednesday morning. On WBAL Radio during the C4 and Bryan Nehman show, the hosts lamented about the growing gap in achievement for students.

“Where is the bell ringing of some sort of crisis moment,” C4 said. “If you want to know why you have kids running the streets, shooting each other and everything else, they are frustrated because they are not able to succeed in the academics.”

FOX45 News and Project Baltimore sent questions to the City Council and Baltimore City Delegation in Annapolis demanding answers about who should be held accountable for the test scores and what’s going to be done about the issue. Many leaders didn’t respond.

In Baltimore City, Councilman Robert Stokes – chair of the Education, Workforce and Youth Committee – said he will call a hearing to bring leaders from City Schools before his committee to get answers about why students aren’t proficient in math. Stokes said he didn’t have a date scheduled yet.

Councilman Mark Conway, who chairs the Public Safety and Government Operations Committee, said the hearing would be necessary to get answers. Conway said he was aware of the report but thought it would be best for Stokes to take the lead on oversight hearing action.

Councilman Ryan Dorsey said he would not provide any statements to FOX45 News, or any other affiliate of FOX45’s parent company, Sinclair Broadcast Group.

“I’m not going to talk about it,” Dorsey said when asked why he wouldn’t provide comment.

In Annapolis, the topic received a similar response. Delegates Robbyn Lewis and Sandy Rosenberg, both elected leaders from Baltimore City, dodged our questions.

Del. Rosenberg told FOX45 News he would respond to our emails, “[When] you do a story about students who are succeeding in City School. You never do.”

When asked who he holds accountable for the test scores, Del. Rosenberg said FOX45 News’ boss.

“Your boss and the distorted coverage you provide,” the delegate said.

The data showing 23 schools had zero students proficient in math came from the test given by Baltimore City Public Schools and the results provided by the Maryland State Department of Education. Del. Lewis didn’t respond to the questions.

Del. Stephanie Smith, chair of an education subcommittee in the House of Delegates, had a hearing scheduled Wednesday afternoon. When questioned briefly about the problem, she didn’t respond. Instead, she walked into the committee room.

Sen. Cory McCray, along with Dels. Caylin Young and Jackie Addison, issued a joint statement in response to the questions. The trio, representing District 45 in Baltimore City, said the accountability for student achievement “is a shared responsibility among all of us,” and improving the outcomes require a commitment to providing students with “the necessary resources and support to achieve their fullest potential.”

The lawmakers said they remain committed to working with the various stakeholders – teachers, parents, community members, and others – to find solutions that enhance student outcomes.

“This may involve evaluating current policies and programs, offering teachers opportunities for professional growth, and providing additional resources to students who require additional support,” they said. “We will continue to support and promote legislation to achieve this goal.”

Currently, Baltimore City Public Schools operates with a $1.6 billion budget, which comes out to about $21,000 per student; City Schools remains in the top five of all large school districts nationwide when it comes to per-pupil funding.

Lawmakers in Annapolis approved the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future – or Kirwan education plan – that calls to send $30 billion to school districts statewide over the next decade. Sen. McCray and the other two delegates from his district, said investing more money in education ‘Is pivotal in fostering student success” and future preparations.

It is no secret that Baltimore City schools have been chronically underfunded by nearly $300 million per year under the previous funding formula according to the State’s own reporting,” McCray and the others said via statement. “This has contributed to the struggles we see today. We know this applies for both capital and operating budgetary deficiencies. The remedy to past underinvestment is investment.

Not all lawmakers agree that spending more money on a school system plagued with problems is the best approach. Del. Nino Manigone, R-Baltimore County, said leaders are always looking for more money, “never we need more accountability.”

“It’s an obvious indictment of what’s going on,” Mangione said. “At some point, the answer has to be -- you know what -- we need to get rid of people who are not getting the job done, have a real systemic change to what’s actually happening.”

“We are guaranteeing a life of failure for these individuals, children most of them, if we cannot provide them at least an opportunity where they are not doomed to failure in a system that isn’t working regardless of how much money we throw at it,” Mangione said.

An investigative or oversight hearing has yet to be called to get to the problem in Annapolis.