Baltimore's Schools

Posted by Al Hathaway Saturday, December 4, 2010

Recently The New York Times wrote an article entitled, "A Mission to transform Baltimore's Beaten Schools." It highlights the work of Dr. Alonso. It's an article that was clearly written to propel him onto a national stage. Possibly with the intent to be added to his resume as he is seeking to be courted by other school systems. While Dr. Alonso is a pretty likable guy, there have been some glaring missteps during his tenure that has impacted education within the communities of Baltimore City. I work within the Upton Community and find myself engaged with five schools: Booker T. Washington. Mount Royal, Furman Templeton, Samuel Coleridge Taylor, and Eutaw Marshburn. In the case of Booker T. Washington, there has been six principles within the past six years. In the article I'm quoted as saying that Dr. Alonso brought principals in with impressive creditable, but they don't know the community and in effect are just using GPS systems to find there way. I wish more of my comments could have been included versus a quote. What I said is that new principles were brought in without true community engagement. They were throw into our neighborhoods without any historical information or current information regarding assets. Each operated under the assumption they had to go out and identify community resources; as if they did not already exist. The second observation I made was under Dr. Alonso we have not seen indigenous talent being elevated. We have outstanding schools of higher education that are training local residents to assume positions within our own educational system. I fail to see where Morgan, Coppin, Towson, or Notre Dame graduates are in positions of responsibility with our school system. It appears to me that Dr. Alonso is tilted towards out of state talent versus local talent. The final observation I made was that under Dr. Alonso we have lost school building being named for historic figures and the result is that students are attending schools with generic names. They lose a sense of pride and understanding of the contributions of past leaders and role models. I wish Dr. Alonso well in his future pursuits. We need a leader of our School System who is committed to Baltimore as their career goal.

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