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Monday, January 17, 2011

Breakfast with the Head of Baltimore Public Schools

The Washington Policy Center is hosting a breakfast this Thursday, the 20th from 7:30 am-9:00 am at the Westin downtown, hosting the head of Baltimore Public Schools, Andres A. Alonso. He seems like an interesting guy who has done a fairly decent job in turning around Baltimore's schools (although his second in command is a Broad Fellow).

From their website:

Read about Alonso's work in this 12/1/10 New York Times article "A Mission to Transform Baltimore’s Beaten Schools."

  • $25 Breakfast and event ($20 WPC supporter rate)
  • $200 for a table of 10
  • Contact Anna at 206-937-9691 for more information about sponsorship opportunities

Register online here.

(Odd note; even though it is co-sponsored with LEV - among other groups including the WEA - there's not a word about it at the LEV website.)

5 comments:

kprugman said...

If you knew hope and despair led to the same destination, which would you choose?

Would you also agree to a Seattle Public Schools Police that reports to the Superintendent?

Melissa Westbrook said...

A little cryptic Krugman. I'm not sure what you are asking.

seattle citizen said...

I think kprugman is referring to the police-dept-ification of Baltimore public schools. Became a dept in 1976, then in 1994 it was tied to the BPD, and given permission to carry guns.

Not sure if I have an opinion about whether a district security force should be a police dept, but I'm worried about this error on their website, in the history section:

"In 1994, Superintendent Dr. Walter Ampry, hired Major Linda Flood of the Baltimore Police Department as Chief of the Department. Under her leadership this Department obtained marked police vehicles, a change of uniforms, handguns for [Sic] and more training for each officer."

"handguns for"...for what?

kprugman said...

These are not my words, but this sure starts sounding familiar.

"I'm a Baltimore City teacher, and this man is a fraud.

Graduation rates are up? That's because he scared principals so badly with his bullying that they graduated students who had not attended all year.

He fires teachers and closes schools, and we hail him as a hero because his scare tactics lead to fudged numbers.

Ever heard of teaching to the test? His constant "mandates" have led to something we call HSA (High School Assessment­) "pullouts.­" Basically, seniors are pulled out of their regularly scheduled classes in order to cram for the HSA.

Schools know that higher scores on the tests mean higher scores with Alonso, which would mean he might not close that particular school.

What does this man think happens to all the kids after he closes their schools? They all simply go to his utopian small and/or charter schools? They all choose a new school and live happily ever after?

No. Many of these kids disappear, but are not necessaril­y considered "dropouts.­" They simply float around in never-hear­d-from-aga­in-probabl­y-end-up-i­n-prison limbo.

Alonso is not a success. He is a politician who will soon leave the city, taking credit for the brittle facade that he has created. He will blame its inevitable crumbling on the next sucker to take the job."

Baltimore School System is a disaster - read the Baltimore Sun. e.g. A kid got shot in the foot for setting off a fire alarm? I read that Baltimore has classrooms that have no heat. Does that sound like a Superintendent who cares about students?

The next question will be, where will they find a superintendent who will agree to replace him. I promise it will have to be a promotion from within the district or another Broad fellow.

Our district is also being reformed by this same group of Lazarotti. The elementary district has created high school charters that funnels students from the high school district. How can I explain that our PTSA President is also an instructional aide at the local charter school?

The district fired 100 teachers in June and hired them all back in July (except for 1 Spanish teacher).

They doubled spending on curriculum in one year and signed contracts that obligated them to pay for more testing software which only shows students doing significantly worse than they actually do on the State's standardized test. The test questions are terrible - they were written by the company, not by teachers.

Not surprisingly, the union reps may have been singled out by the administrators.

This reform runs districts with an iron hand - the consultants who get hired to speak during "professional" days don't behave all that scholarly and very convincingly describe how anyone who gets in their way 'will' get run over.

When you find a successful school in Baltimore, tell us all about it - I'd like to know if there actually is one.

The real currency of education is curriculum. Reform can't be meaningful unless the textbooks are. I'd like to see overyone agree on one textbook that was at least as good as Singapore's.

Anonymous said...

Here's some info on Alonso. DFER Watch and EEP.

I would say looking at the company he keeps, he's deep into all things ed reform which is why LEV is one of the sponsors.

The html code is not coming through on the DFER link so here it is in "longhand",
http://dferwatch.wordpress.com/connections-2/education-equality-project/

This site, by the way, is well worth a look.