Social promotion has been a concern for parents and educators alike for along as institutionalized education has existed, but it’s difficult to believe it can exist on a level as extreme as what Project Baltimore discovered this year.

A high school senior, it’s reported, has passed just three classes in his 4 years at Augusta Fells Savage Institute of Visual Design in Batimore, Maryland, with nearly 300 absences, and was then informed that he would need to repeat all four years in order to obtain a diploma. His GPA: just 0.13. His mother, a single parent working three jobs to support three children, is beside herself. She obviously relied on the school to prepare her son for graduation, and had no idea that he was performing poorly enough to be held back, especially as he was consistently promoted to the next grade. It’s easy to blame her – after all, parents should have some idea that their child is failing – but this mother is like most public school parents today: conditioned to depend on schools for everything, and as she asserts that direct communication with her was never initiated by the school, she assumed “no news was good news.”

Perhaps even more concerning is the rank shown on the teen’s most recent report card: 62 out of 150, which leads one to infer that there are 58 students at Augusta Fells with a GPA lower than 0.13.

Questions posed to the mayor of Batimore only yielded a call to protect the privacy of these failing students, as well as a promise to improve school quality now that they’ve received the funding they apparently weren’t getting before. (Augusta Fells is a charter school.)

While there is a push to shut down the school, citing the large amount of the student body performing well below the city, state, and national averages, most social media comments seem to focus on vilifying the mother for her ignorance and negligence. It bears reminding that the school system as a rule undermines all parental authority, convincing families that they will do the job of raising children (sex education and character education programs are evidence of this). This woman, likely overworked and undereducated herself, is only a product of what she herself was taught by a very broken system.

Augusta Fells Savage Institute of Visual Design serves over 400 students in grades 9-12 in the Baltimore area, and has a dismal grade of 1/10 on Greatschools, citing a low graduation rate of 56% (the state average is 87%) and poor standardized test results. Ninety-seven percent of the students are black, and 56% qualify as low-income. Students are admitted through a lottery. It first opened in 2004.

City student passes 3 classes in four years, ranks near top half of class with 0.13 GPA (Fox Baltimore)

Calls to Shut Down City School Where 0.13 GPA Ranks Near Top Half of Class (Fox Baltimore)

Augusta Fells Savage Institute Of Visual Arts (GreatSchools)

Augusta Fells Savage Institute of Visual Arts (Baltimore City Public Schools)

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