YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Youngstown City Schools CEO Krish Mohip said “a cohort of students” in the district did not have a math teacher for four years before he arrived.
He was referring to Youngstown’s East High School and, more specifically, this year’s senior class.
“Our current seniors, the Class of 2018 seniors, there was a period of four years where there was constant upheaval in our math department,” Mohip said. “There was a significant amount of time that a number of these students did not have a highly-qualified math teacher in front of them.”
Mohip first learned of the math teacher situation at East about six months into the job.
“We were kind of digging into the math and talking about the teachers. Someone just kind of mentioned it and I just kind of thought that was an odd statement, so we dug into that,” he said.
When he found out it was true, Mohip said he was extremely surprised.
“I hadn’t ever heard about something like this ever happening before.”
One way to quantify how the students have done without a qualified math teacher is to look at test scores and the Youngstown City Schools’ results for the last two years are not good.
In 2016, .8 percent — 1 or 2 students — passed the Algebra 1 standardized test, while 3.5 percent — 10 to 15 students — passed the Geometry test.
In 2017, 8 of 299 students passed the Algebra 1 test, while only one of 215 students passed Geometry.
How did this happen? And who’s to blame?
“I don’t know. I don’t know,” Mohip said. “I think there’s a number of reasons. People take leaves, people go out for other jobs.”
He said the district has to move beyond the blame game.
“At this point, we just need to go out and fix. There’s a lot of blame that could be passed over the years of things that have happened here, poor decision making that has happened, but it’s to no one’s benefit to start placing blame on the past.”
After all that, Mohip could not definitively say if there will be a qualified math teacher at East High when school starts. He doesn’t have anyone right now but said he’s aggressively looking find one.
Mohip, who said he’s willing to negotiate salaries, still has to find six more high school math teachers.