Baltimore schools have defended their teaching after Tucker Carlson on Tuesday night accused them of failing students.
The Fox News host on Tuesday singled out Patterson High School, where 77 percent of students were only reading at an elementary level.
But on Wednesday, the school district hit back, insisting that the scores cited were not the only marker of achievement for their students.
They said that the tests, taken in September 2021, were intended to help teachers assess the level of students after over a year of remote learning.
‘i-Ready scores do not provide a complete or final picture of student performance,’ the schools said.
‘City Schools uses i-Ready to provide checkpoints on student progress during the school year.
‘This was the first in-person checkpoint for students at Patterson High School after 18 months of disruption caused by the pandemic.’
They also emphasized that 40 percent of the students did not have English as their first language, and would in further tests be given special consideration.
Carlson, unrepentant, insisted that his report into the ‘misery’ of Baltimore was valid.
‘Last night we dared to tell you about the ongoing tragedy of the city of Baltimore, one of the great American cities,’ Carlson said on Wednesday.
‘A city filled with people in total misery, a city people being murdered and children who can’t read.’
He noted that the mayor of Baltimore, Brandon Scott, responded angrily to his segment.
‘We don’t have any room for racist vitriol in our city or time for comments that don’t contribute towards building a better Baltimore,’ tweeted Scott, 37.
‘I remain focused on reversing the deep-rooted systemic inequities that have plagued our communities for longer than Tucker Carlson has been alive.’
Carlson replied that there was ‘no definition of exactly why they are angry at us, because we told the truth.’
Tucker Carlson on Wednesday night revisited his criticism of Baltimore’s political leaders
Carlson on Tuesday referred to Baltimore as being ‘broken’
Brandon Scott, the mayor of Baltimore, accused Carlson of spreading ‘racist vitriol’
He added: ‘It is a disgrace letting black people die and calling me racist if I pointed it out.
‘That is not going to work anymore, pal.’
Carlson’s colleague, Trace Gallagher, told him: ‘What they are saying is you didn’t do your homework.
‘But you were saying last night the test scores have dropped dramatically.
‘And the Baltimore schools came back with this, saying that test scores don’t define the students.
‘But they failed to explain what does define students, considering test scores are a widely used barometer of students’ ability.
‘They went on to say you criticize them for being limiting or stopping of arresting students who commit crimes and their response to that was they arrest students who commit crimes when it’s appropriate, but again they didn’t define what exactly is appropriate.’
The Baltimore Sun was unamused, however, accusing Carlson in an editorial of ‘race-baiting contempt’.
‘The first and most obvious is that it wore its racism so proudly and overtly.
‘Haiti? Let’s see, what does Baltimore have in common with Haiti. If his point had been to raise concern about Baltimore’s high homicide rate, it was off the mark; even within the Caribbean, Haiti falls short of Jamaica for murder.
‘Could it be our susceptibility to hurricanes? Probably not.
‘More likely, Mr. Carlson turned to Haiti as an impoverished and struggling majority-Black nation (with 95% of the population of African ancestry).
‘Baltimore is a majority-Black city dealing with an array of social ills, too. Oh, so this is about low-income people who don’t look like Mr. Carlson. Got it.’
The paper correctly notes that Haiti’s murder rate of 13.7 per 100,000 is less than Jamaica’s – the worst in the region, with 49.4, according to InSight Crime‘s report out on Tuesday.
Baltimore, by contrast, has a rate of 57.5 per 100,000; only St Louis, Birmingham, Louisville and Jackson are worse, with the Florida city seeing 99.5 per 100,000
The paper concluded: ‘Make no mistake, Baltimore has its share of serious problems, including January’s brutal homicide count.
‘But, alas, we can’t muster the Fox News level of simple-mindedness required to heap all of the blame for it on Jen Psaki’s doorstep.
‘The day Tucker Carlson or his ilk, national or local, want to have a thoughtful, honest conversation about how to address this city’s long-standing and complex problems — whether it involves murder, public education, public corruption or terrible public transportation — we’re all ears.
‘But don’t dump your race-baiting contempt on us and tell us it’s journalism or even informed opinion. It’s surely none of those things.’
On Tuesday night, Carlson said democracy in the U.S. was failing under Democrats and that the proof was in Baltimore, which has embraced progressive criminal justice policies yet continues to have one of the highest murder rates in the nation.
Carlson mocked recent conversations about democracy being in danger and instead said the real danger was when Democrats focus on issues like race and climate change rather than on the safety issues facing cities like Baltimore, which has seen more than 300 homicides a year since 2015.
Carlson called Baltimore ‘one of the worst places in the western hemisphere’.
The city reported 32 murders in 2022.
‘That’s the deadliest January in Baltimore in nearly 50 years and remember, fifty years ago, Baltimore was almost twice as big as it is now,’ Carlson said.
The city’s population shrank from nearly one million residents in the 1970s to about 580,000 in 2020, according to the U.S. Census.
‘Half the city is left. So Baltimore is far worse off than it has ever been in its history.’
He added that ‘Baltimore is exactly what happens when you apply Jen Psaki’s ideas to governing.
‘Baltimore is a city run by people who fervently believe in the equity agenda and consider gender studies a legitimate academic discipline. In Baltimore, pretty much everyone in charge is black, yet it’s a matter of religious faith that the main thing holding the city back is white racism.’
Tucker Carlson said democracy in the US was failing on Tuesday night as he cited the high homicide rates in Baltimore
Baltimore continues to see some of the highest murder rates in the nation as the city continues to report more than 300 homicides every year since 2015
Baltimore broke its annual per capita homicide record after reaching 348 killings in 2019. Homicides have remained high, with the city reporting 337 murders in 2021
Carlson said the high crime rate could be partially attributed to Baltimore’s District Attorney, Marilyn Mosby, 41, who announced last year that she would stop prosecuting people for drug possession, prostitution, minor traffic violations and other low-level offenses.
Mosby has been under fire herself, and in January she was charged with perjury for allegedly lying about financial hardship when she withdrew $81,000 from her 401k under the Cares Act to buy two new holiday homes in Florida.
But critics have hit back at Carlson, saying that he was being racist toward a predominantly back city and comparing it to Haiti.
David Simon, creator of the hit series ‘The Wire,’ which was based in Baltimore, tweeted: ‘Here now at a bar on Aliceanna Street with some friendly neighbors where we are presently sticking pins in a Tucker Carlson doll. Doll seems to like it a bit too much in its nether regions.’
One Twitter user named Caroline Orr Bueno wrote: ‘The reason Tucker Carlson (and Trump, etc) keep trashing Baltimore is because it has a large black population. It’s really that simple.’
Another Twitter user with the handle name GusstheLawyer agreed and criticized Carlson for ignoring the nation’s racially-charge policies in the past, writing: ‘Baltimore has black people in it so it must be compared to a struggling predominantly Black nation. Fun fact, the causes of trouble in both places are directly tied to racist US policy.’
Jonathan McIntosh, another Twitter user who grew up in Baltimore wrote: ‘Baltimore is also a majority Black city, but I’m sure that’s not at all the exact reason Tucker hates it.’
Carlson’s comments also echoed those of Donald Trump in 2019, when the former president called Baltimore a ‘rodent infested mess’ where ‘no human being would want to live,’ and that it was ‘worse than Honduras.’
Many accused Carlson of racism for focusing his segment on a predominantly black community and likening it to Haiti
Throughout his segment, Carlson also repeatedly took jabs at Joe Biden and Press Secretary Jen Psaki, who he said were more preoccupied in the current conflict at the Ukraine-Russian border than on the safety of Americans at home.
It also comes after Psaki said that those who are worried about ‘soft-on-crime policies’ are living ‘in an alternate universe.’
‘Hey, Jen Psaki, what do you think of Baltimore? How did the city get that way,’ Carlson kept asking throughout the show.
‘You claim to care so deeply about African-Americans. You never stop talking about that. And yet here is one of the biggest Black majority cities in the United States. Tens of thousands of black people who live in Baltimore are in misery because their kids keep getting murdered.’
Baltimore, often ranked high among the cities with highest homicide rates in the nation, had recorded 337 murders in 2021, the highest since 2019, where police reported 348 murders.
In January, the city continues to see high violent crime rates as it reported 225 aggravated assaults, 52 shootings, 51 carjackings and 203 robberies.
The city also reported 248 burglaries and 978 other cases of property crimes in January.
Baltimore saw more than 1,800 crimes in the first month of 2022
Carlson blamed the high crime rate partially on Baltimore District Attorney Marilyn Mosby, who stopped bringing charges for a string of less serious crimes last year
Mosby said that low-level offenses were ‘discriminately enforced against black and brown people’. Pictured is a file photo of a man being arrested in Baltimore
‘Who do you blame for Baltimore? Did white men do this to Baltimore? Was it the patriarchy? Was it structural racism that caused all those murders,’ Carlson asked.
‘Or, could it be that the real problem with Baltimore is something much more obvious? Could it be that progressive policies designed to ‘lift up marginalized communities’ in the end destroyed those communities?’
Carlson also blamed high crime rates in the city on schools after the Baltimore City School District spent the last decade pushing to reduce the number of student arrests, which dropped from 971 in 2008 to 18 in 2018, according to Fox 45’s Project Baltimore.
One whistleblower in the district told Fox 45 that the arrests have not gone down because schools were safer, but because police officers have been told not to arrest students even for crimes like burglary and assault.
‘I think it’s ludicrous and sad,’ said one of the whistleblowers.
‘You’re not teaching people, our kids, that it’s not okay to burglarize. It’s not okay to have a fight. They should be arrested and processed.’
Carlson mocked the policies in Baltimore and said the city and progressives were the only ones to blame for its issues.
‘Baltimore is a city run by people who fervently believe in the equity agenda and consider gender studies a legitimate academic discipline,’ he said.
‘In Baltimore, pretty much everyone in charge is black, yet it’s a matter of religious faith that the main thing holding the city back is white racism.’