www.baltimoresun.com/news/opinion/readersrespond/bs-ed-alonso-letter-20130522,0,5188907.story

baltimoresun.com

Alonso isn't getting his due

12:00 PM EDT, May 22, 2013

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Saturday's "your turn" pieces on education reform ("The fallacy of reform" and "Diversity, choice key for schools," May 18) did not seem to address Baltimore City schools' educational history nor requirements in a practical, yet considerate way.

Schools CEO Andrés Alonso cut the staff at headquarters, then used the space to benefit at-risk students. He built consensus to achieve improved attendance, test scores, and graduation rates. Additionally, why do some live in the past and complain schools are crumbling? Why not rather recognize his other achievements, including spearheading unprecedented funding to meet those needs?

Further, charter schools are not a magic solution. Some succeed and some do not. The majority of students who did not win the lottery are left standing in the dust. If we want to improve academic achievement outcomes, we need to revisit teacher training. For example, some educated only in sight words do not even know short vowel sounds, so how can they teach them? Just as important, some colleges may not provide courses in classroom management.

Next, where is both the recognition and concern for Mr. Alonso and Baltimore City schools? Baltimoreans will miss him, but we wish him and his parents well. Last, offering a reasonable salary to a potential successor, however qualified on paper, may not guarantee success. Therefore, please consider his insider knowledge and experienced-based selection for someone to lead going forward.

Hilda Coyne, Baltimore