BALTIMORE – Blanca Tapahuasco was afraid her first-grade son was being exposed to adult topics like gender identity and sexual orientation, and simultaneously worried that Charm City’s education system would fail him. So the mother of three quit her teaching job to home-school her youngest.
“Politics doesn’t belong in the classroom,” Tapahuasco told Fox News. “This system is failing because the children are not being prioritized.”
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Tapahuasco, who taught Spanish to elementary schoolers at a Christian school, said she saw teachers sneaking their political bias into their classrooms. She also heard stories from private and public school students she tutored, that lessons on sexual orientation in families were confusing them. She worried that no school in Baltimore could effectively teach core academics without inserting bias or adult topics.
“Whatever lifestyle you want to live, that’s your choice,” Tapahuasco said. “But don’t introduce it to a four-year-old.”
So she pulled her youngest son out of a public charter school in February 2020, leaving her oldest sons — now in 9th and 11th grade — in their vocational schools for the social aspect and for access to specialized lesson plans. But when schools had to shutter because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Tapahuasco said her fears were confirmed.
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“I saw in virtual learning where the indoctrination was starting to creep in,” Tapahuasco told Fox News. She said one teacher showed a photo of President Andrew Jackson and called him “another white guy that you don’t need to learn about.”
The number of Maryland families that home-schooled their kids more than doubled from 2019 to the end of the 2021 school year, according to the Maryland State Board of Education. Tapahuasco told Fox News that parents stuck with home-schooling for more say in their kids’ education in the wake of escalating curriculum battles and nationwide learning loss.
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“Let [kids] enjoy the process of learning rather than injecting your own personal views,” Tapahuasco said. The former educator said Baltimore’s schools have been robbing kids of their future livelihoods by passing and promoting students before they are ready.
In recent years, Baltimore City Public Schools have posted dismal academic results. Last year, they sported the lowest graduation rate in Maryland, while 77% of students at one high school could read at only an elementary or kindergarten level.
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And In February, FOX45’s Project Baltimore reported that 23 schools had zero students score proficient on a state math exam.
“It’s taxpayers’ funds that are going to these programs,” Tapahuasco said. “If the program doesn’t work, then change the leader.”
At Maryland’s charter schools, meanwhile, about half of all fourth graders had below basic skills in math and reading, according to the National Assessment of Educational Progress 2022 report card.
Baltimore City’s public schools need to meet the “basic needs of educating,” again, Tapahuasco said. “Are we passing kids by the skin of our teeth or are we passing them because they’re ready?”
BCPS did not return a request for comment.
Tapahuasco partly withdrew her youngest son from public charter school because it couldn’t offer rigorous enough lessons for his ability. His teacher suggested several private schools, but they were too expensive.
“About midway of first grade, that October, November, he started to let me know that he was bored,” she told Fox News. The teacher, Tapahuasco, was busy trying to manage “the low literacy level in her classroom.”
Public schools saw the largest drop in student enrollment since 1943 — 1.4 million — between 2019 and 2020 and remained about even the next year, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. At the same time, home-schooling across the country spiked.
In Maryland, homeschooling students rose by nearly 54% from 2020 to 2021, according to a January Maryland State Board of Education report. The next year, more than 2,000 additional students joined the home school ranks, brining total enrollment to nearly 45,000.
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Tapahuasco told Fox News parents should stop putting up with public education’s failures and “teach their own children.” This fall, she plans to open a bilingual education and childcare center where home school students can be tutored.
“We need to inform parents that there is an option for home-schooling,” Tapahuasco said. “There is an option for boost.”
To watch Tapahuasco’s full interview, click here.