The local chapter of Baltimore's NAACP has taken an interest in the recent tensions brewing between Baltimore city principals and city schools CEO Andres Alonso's administration, denouncing the recent moves concerning two principals whose school was cleared of cheating, and announcing that it wants to investigate the racial and gender makeup of principals who have been dismissed from the system.
The city's NAACP President Tessa Hill-Alston attended a picket protest held by the city's administrators union last week outside of city school headquarters. The union protested the school board's recent decision to dismiss Abbottston Elementary Assistant Principal Marcy Isaac for failing to follow testing protocols in 2010, and deny pay and placement for its Principal Angela Faltz until 2013.
Though the school board ruled on the Abbottston case on Aug. 27--the system's investigation found no conclusive evidence of cheating, or that Faltz was responsible-- the case will be resurrected in a review by a national data forensic firm the system hired last week.
The Sun published a story Monday about the district signing on to a $275,000 contract with Caveon Test Security, a national data forensic company that has been tapped to help crack some of the most high-profile cheating cases in the country, to review 8,000 test booklets dating back to 2009.
The school system said that the move will bring speedy and fair closure to languishing cases, Abbottston included. The principal's union called it a witch-hunt and waste of money to remedy Alonso's ego.
Hill-Alston said she believed, "it’s very unfair and unjust that hearing officers hired by the school system found these two individuals were innocent of charges, and then the school board decides to [deprive] them of income and a career."
She said that coming on the heels of a Baltimore Sun investigation finding a lack of oversight of thousands of dollars worth of inappropriate charges to school system credit cards, she believes the school board and city schools CEO Andres Alonso are applying selective accountability.
“If they wanted to go back and indict [Faltz], where is the school board and Dr. Alonso's oversight of the charge cards?" she said. "They wanted us to understand that they can't oversee every little thing. So, do they need to indict themselves?"
She said the NAACP was concerned about the principal turnover under Alonso, and the fact that nearly two dozen schools started the school year without permanent leaders. She said the NAACP was preparing to look into how many women and African-American principals have been replaced under Alonso's administration.
"We want to see how many of them are from our communities," Hill-Alston said, "and who is being looked at who is not."