BREAKING: Baltimore City Schools Creates Fake Classes and Enrolls Dead Students

Black and White School Desks
Abdul Hakim, Unsplash

For years, it has been known that public school districts, especially in big cities, have manipulated data to make their attendance and performance look higher than they actually are. Now, we have quantifiable proof of this phenomenon. 

According to WBFF-TV, Baltimore City Schools, the exact same school district where one student carrying a 0.13 GPA ranked near the top half of his class, has made a habit of utilizing so-called “ghost students” and “ghost classes.” The district revealed that grades had been suspiciously changed, more than 100 students had “questionable” enrollment status, and that some classes were flat-out fabrications. 

Angel Lewis, a former principal at Claremont Day School who is now suing the district for wrongful termination, claims that some enrolled students are, in fact, dead.

“Several staff members, they actually went through the roster with me and let me know who had attended, who never attended, who was deceased,” Lewis told WBFF-TV.

“One of the teachers even mentioned to me that she attended the funeral,” she continued. All in all, Lewis asserts that out of the 130 students she allegedly oversaw at Claremont, only 30 legitimately attended the school.

“What happened is what had been going on for years prior to my arrival, because I was the one who reported it and began to give attention to it, I then became the scapegoat. It’s better to blame the new person,” said Lewis.

“These classes aren’t listed, how were students in English one if English two isn’t listed? Or how are they supposed to be in math and the math classes aren’t there? And how is this working for science, because there are no science courses for me to work with the registrar to select with the students,” she further lamented.

Baltimore isn’t alone either. Districts around the country — as well as the entire state of Michigan — know about and turn a blind eye to the ghost student phenomenon. As such, districts receive taxpayer funds they don’t deserve from state governments and use those funds as they please. 

It’s a corrupt but firmly entrenched system. Fortunately, one governor is intent on changing all that. In Oklahoma, Governor Kevin Stitt requested that the State Auditor and Inspector’s Office conduct a complete audit, arguably the first of its kind, of the Oklahoma State Department of Education and “all related entities.” 

“I promised Oklahomans that as governor I would clean up state government to make it more transparent and accountable and I am keeping that promise,” Stitt said in a press release Thursday. “As we make record investments in our public education system, students and parents deserve to know that their schools are spending our tax dollars appropriately and in accordance with the law.”

The audit has two goals: to identify all sources of Oklahoma public school revenue, and to ensure that revenue is being spent and accounted for appropriately. Taxpayers have a right to know how and where their money is being sent. I don’t think anybody

 wants to spend their money on an Advanced Econometrics class for dead students. 

It will be interesting to see what the audit uncovers, but whether or not evidence of widespread fraud is uncovered, this is likely the best way to hold public schools accountable going forward. Nobody likes being audited, but if districts keep insisting on misrepresenting themselves for more money, that’s exactly what they should get.

Garion Frankel
Garion Frankel is a graduate student at Texas A&M University’s Bush School of Government and Public Service with a concentration in education policy and management. He is a Young Voices contributor, and Chalkboard Review’s breaking news reporter.