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NEWS
November 4, 2013
Education reformers should note Dan Rodricks ' column about schools that envisions "schools that are generators of progress in the neighborhoods where they stand" ( "Using the schools as leverage for neighborhoods," Oct. 31). It is a vision that better addresses what is needed in school reform than does the Common Core curriculum. Author Robert Weissberg, in "Bad Students, Not Bad Schools," clearly makes the case that the neighborhood has more influence on a school than the educators.
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NEWS
June 13, 2014
As someone whose career in public service was launched from the trenches of community activism, I could not agree more with Yara Cheikh, who wrote in the May 10 issue of this newspaper that citizen advocacy was the driving force behind school reform ( "Sen. Jim Brochin doesn't serve big government" ). The voice of parents and neighbors is and has always been the prime mover behind education in this county. I am only sorry that I did not make that as clear as I might have at the Idlewylde Community Hall senatorial forum to which Ms. Cheikh referenced.
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NEWS
May 17, 2013
In their commentary ("Six steps for post-Alonso school reform," May 14), Thomas Wilcox, Diane Bell-McKoy and Laura Gamble use many lofty and idealistic sounding words to promote their vision. However, it bears noting that education "reformers" are well-versed in using terms that have an appeal, yet bear little substance. It's part of the script to sell the public on a model for education that actually requires a deeper analysis and understanding. Words like "choice" and "accountability" have done for the corporate-model of education reform what buzz words like "whole grain" and "real fruit juice" have done for the food processing industry.
NEWS
February 18, 2014
Baltimore's next schools CEO, Gregory Thornton, is no stranger to the city. Though he has most recently led Milwaukee's schools and previously worked in Philadelphia and Montgomery County, he interviewed for the top job here in 2007, ultimately losing out to Andrés Alonso. And he visited earlier in his career, when he worked in the Washington suburbs. We are eager to hear more about his ideas for Baltimore, and we hope he meets with great success here. Having said that, however, there are a few things the new schools CEO might find useful to know about Baltimore that someone in his position is only likely to learn from actually working here.
NEWS
December 28, 2010
The prescription developer David Tufaro writes for those interested in serving as Baltimore's mayor is based, in part, on an outdated diagnosis of public education options available in city schools ( "A reform agenda for Baltimore's next mayor," Dec. 27). Mr. Tufaro's view that education reform in Baltimore is incremental suggests that he has missed dramatic, positive developments in city schools since leaving the Maryland State Board of Education in 2008. City schools CEO Andrés Alonso and the Baltimore Board of School Commissioners, with steady and strong support from City Hall and Annapolis, have fundamentally changed what it means to be a student, parent, teacher or principal in city schools.
NEWS
January 28, 2010
The recent article "Several senators oppose Grasmick's school reform" (Jan. 22) appearing as it did one day after The Sun's front page article headlined "O'Malley plans fund shift to sidestep service cuts" (Jan. 21) underscores the challenge that Maryland legislators face in squaring inherently political concerns with the need to adjust to today's fiscal realities. In plain English, should our legislative leaders tend to the political interests of an important constituency, the teachers' union, or should they make a serious play for the hundreds of millions of education dollars on offer through the federal Race to the Top program?
NEWS
By Kalman R. Hettleman | October 20, 2013
Diane Ravitch is all the rage in education circles these days, but rage, unfortunately, is what's she's selling. There are many reasons why, despite decades of efforts, U.S. public schools continue to fail, especially for low-income and minority children. Perhaps the most destructive one is the polarization of the debate over school reform and the refusal of opposing factions to look for middle ground. Sad to say, Ms. Ravitch's new best-selling book, "Reign of Error: The Hoax of the Privatization Movement and the Danger to America's Public Schools," fits this pattern.
NEWS
August 27, 2010
Erica L. Green's article, "City gets 'C' on school reform" (Aug. 25) cites a study by the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, identifying that organization as a "nonprofit organization that conducts research in elementary and secondary education reform…". That's like saying a report by the Republican Party, a non-profit organization, has been critical of Governor Martin O'Malley. The article should have said that the Fordham Institute is a right-wing organization tied to charter schools and anti-union activities.
NEWS
May 12, 2013
With city schools CEO Andrés Alonso's announcement last week that he is stepping down at the end of this school year, Baltimore finds itself in the market for a new leader who can continue and expand upon the reforms he instituted. Whoever succeeds Mr. Alonso will have a hard act to follow, and finding a replacement who possesses the right combination of leadership, management and interpersonal skills won't be easy. That's why the Baltimore City Board of School Commissioners must insist on conducting a thorough, nationwide search for the city's next schools CEO and resist pressures from some city leaders to short-circuit the process by rushing to name a successor.
NEWS
May 7, 2010
Kudos to the Sun for its thoughtful editorial on May 7 recognizing the vital importance of quality early childhood programs and pre-K in closing achievement gaps and imparting lifelong benefits to children ("Excellence at early age"). A mountain of research, notably the Perry Pre-School study and Chicago Child Parent Centers study, document that these investments save governments enormous costs in the form of reduced incarceration, less need for special education, smaller public assistance rolls and improved high school graduation rates.
NEWS
November 4, 2013
Education reformers should note Dan Rodricks ' column about schools that envisions "schools that are generators of progress in the neighborhoods where they stand" ( "Using the schools as leverage for neighborhoods," Oct. 31). It is a vision that better addresses what is needed in school reform than does the Common Core curriculum. Author Robert Weissberg, in "Bad Students, Not Bad Schools," clearly makes the case that the neighborhood has more influence on a school than the educators.
NEWS
October 28, 2013
Baltimore City's interim schools chief, Tishsa Edwards, says the $10,000 "retention stipends" being given to seven top system administrators are needed as an incentive to keep the team of her predecessor, Andrés Alonso, intact until June, when a permanent schools CEO is scheduled to be named. But that's a lot of money for staffers who are already quite well paid for their services, and it raises the question of why they should need more to continue doing their jobs. Put another way, what exactly is the public getting for the money it's shelling out to keep a handful of managers at their desks for the next eight months?
NEWS
By Kalman R. Hettleman | October 20, 2013
Diane Ravitch is all the rage in education circles these days, but rage, unfortunately, is what's she's selling. There are many reasons why, despite decades of efforts, U.S. public schools continue to fail, especially for low-income and minority children. Perhaps the most destructive one is the polarization of the debate over school reform and the refusal of opposing factions to look for middle ground. Sad to say, Ms. Ravitch's new best-selling book, "Reign of Error: The Hoax of the Privatization Movement and the Danger to America's Public Schools," fits this pattern.
NEWS
August 9, 2013
The author of the op-ed "The paradox of lowering standards" (August 5) may understand statistics, but he fails to grasp the purpose of the new school discipline regulations under consideration by the Maryland State Board of Education. The board's proposed discipline code aims to make sure that all children, of all races, get educated. Every day a child is suspended is a day that child misses a chance to learn - and more than 50,000 Maryland children are suspended or expelled annually.
NEWS
June 1, 2013
As Baltimore Board of School Commissioners conducts a national search for a new leader to replace outgoing schools CEO Andrés Alonso, it must consider is what further changes are needed to build on the reforms he initiated. Specifically, it needs to ask whether the improvements in school governance, attendance and teacher evaluation that were hallmarks of Mr. Alonso's tenure are by themselves sufficient to move the system to the next level, or whether a broader strategy is needed that takes into account not just what goes on inside the school building but also addresses the larger issues of poverty, violence and family instability in the communities students come from.
NEWS
May 17, 2013
In their commentary ("Six steps for post-Alonso school reform," May 14), Thomas Wilcox, Diane Bell-McKoy and Laura Gamble use many lofty and idealistic sounding words to promote their vision. However, it bears noting that education "reformers" are well-versed in using terms that have an appeal, yet bear little substance. It's part of the script to sell the public on a model for education that actually requires a deeper analysis and understanding. Words like "choice" and "accountability" have done for the corporate-model of education reform what buzz words like "whole grain" and "real fruit juice" have done for the food processing industry.
NEWS
May 12, 2013
With city schools CEO Andrés Alonso's announcement last week that he is stepping down at the end of this school year, Baltimore finds itself in the market for a new leader who can continue and expand upon the reforms he instituted. Whoever succeeds Mr. Alonso will have a hard act to follow, and finding a replacement who possesses the right combination of leadership, management and interpersonal skills won't be easy. That's why the Baltimore City Board of School Commissioners must insist on conducting a thorough, nationwide search for the city's next schools CEO and resist pressures from some city leaders to short-circuit the process by rushing to name a successor.
NEWS
By Cal Thomas | April 6, 2013
My first question after reading about seven teachers in an Atlanta, Ga., public school accused of altering standardized test scores to make it appear students performed better than they actually did was: How could they!? The seven were nicknamed "the chosen" and, according to Georgia state investigator Richard Hyde, the less than magnificent seven sat in a locked room without windows, erasing wrong answers and inserting correct ones. It's one thing for a child to cheat on a test; it's quite another for teachers to do it. Compounding the cheating scandal is that the children in this elementary school are mostly poor and African-American.
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