Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Andres Alonso Alienates Baltimore Teachers

It took Andres Alonso about 2 minutes of leading the Baltimore school system to alienate the teacher union - following the Plan. Expect the same to happen in Washington with another Klein acolyte running things. Note that teachers are fighting back by refusing to work the extra hours. After working in NY as Klein's assistant, Alonso is unfamiliar with unions that aren't interested in collaborating.

City Teachers To Picket Over Planning Time

Baltimore city school teachers concerned about their contracts are planning to set up what they call informational pickets. They said the goal of the picketing is to put pressure on the administration to sign on the dotted line. City teachers agreed over the summer to work only those hours called for in the contract, refusing to take part in before- and after-school activities. The teacher's union is currently vowing to go a step further by setting up informational pickets this week outside at least three schools. "It will inform the public. We will be asking them to contact the school board in support of us, and let them know that teachers in Baltimore city are working without a contact, and they are to support this effort," said Marietta English of the Baltimore City Teacher's Union. The union said the main sticking point in the contract is teacher planning time. City School Chief Executive Officer Dr. Andres Alonso said that the contract dispute really boils down to a simple request by the administration. "The board and I have asked for one planning period a week to be used for common planning time or professional development at the discretion of the principal. I hear I'm trying to take away planning time. That's ridiculous," he said. "We are talking about planning time, time that is precious to teachers and time that they need to plan their lessons to mark papers to get prepared for the next class," English said. The union said that until there's a new agreement, teachers will continue to work by the terms of their old contract. WBAL TV 11 News learned that the Baltimore city teachers union is not pleased with the school board or Alonso. The union said it is prepared to take a vote of no confidence as it relates to the contract controversy.

12 comments:

  1. Alonso is the worst type of bureaucrat. He can never be wrong.
    He supports the PD hypocrisy and really holds teachers in contempt. Do not give an inch and stay united for no doubt he will try to divide and conquer just as they have tried to do that in New York. I will watch your plight with great interest.

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  2. Go Baltimore teachers. Hang tough.

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  3. Slightly off topic, but I have a question. My Principal had a meeting today to explain how our "growth rate" was low? This apparently is some statistic being provided by the DOE. Does anyone know where to find it so I can see for myself? Supposedly my school had a growth rate of 8 out of 55? Of course my principal didn't mention what other schools were rated. Any help to understand this would be appreciated.

    Unitymustgo!

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  4. from the Baltimore Sun weblog by reporter Sara Neufeld,
    "In city education circles, everyone is talking about the exchange at Tuesday night's school board meeting between Andres Alonso and Michael Carter, the Parent and Community Advisory Board chair. Carter customarily leads off the public comments toward the beginning of school board meetings. Almost invariably, his comments are both insightful and in excess of the five-minute time limit. And almost invariably, school board chairman Brian Morris and others on the board respond on the spot to whatever Carter had to say, taking Carter's time at the table way, way past five minutes.

    This week, Carter was talking about the High School Assessments, and the person to respond was Alonso (after which four board members also weighed in). Carter was critical of the low turnout among city school folks at last week's state forum on whether to scrap the requirement that kids pass the exams to graduate starting in 2009. He was critical that the city school system doesn't have a formal position paper on the tests and isn't reaching out to parents. And he expressed his fear that, with only around 30 percent of the kids in the class of 2009 having passed the tests so far, not much will change in two years and thousands of kids will be denied diplomas. "I do not see a sense of urgency here on North Avenue," he said.

    His comments did not go over well with Alonso, who thus far in his three months on the job had avoided any public confrontations. With one hand under his chin and the other wagging at the audience, he fired off a rebuttal. Excerpts:

    "I have enormous faith in my ability and the ability of the system to move forward in a different direction. If two years from now, we're still at 30 percent (passing the tests) like we are now, then I haven't done my job, I should be fired, and the community itself and the schools haven't responded as they should. If we assume we're not gonna have an impact in terms of the lives of the students however, whatever has happened in the past, then what are we doing?"

    Explaining why he doesn't want to give out meaningless diplomas when kids can't meet basic standards: "It's a shell game. They graduate, and then what happens to them?"

    "Is it gonna be difficult? Absolutely, but if we enter the discussion with the assumption that we're going to be at 30 percent two years from now, then what kind of faith do we have on the parents? What kind of faith do we have in teachers? What kind of faith do we have in principals? It's our work to change that. It's not our work to say just because it's gonna get tougher, when we know that it's not working as it is, that it's gonna be fine, that it's gonna be fine if we make it easier. That's not my job. My job is to create the urgency that's gonna make this system move forward."

    Board member George VanHook, echoing Carter's call for a plan to be developed and released to the community detailing how the system will get students passing the tests and where it stands on the issue: "I'm not sure, Mr. Carter, whether you're satisfied with the response (from Alonso). I know you're being diplomatic and I appreciate that, but you didn't get your answer, did you?"

    Carter to Alonso: "When DREAA (the school system's research division) releases the HSA data in 2009, I'll give Ralph (Alonso's driver) the day off and drive you to the airport if it's not what it should be."

    Alonso, responding to Carter: "That is exactly what I would expect you to do. Let me then also say that, in terms of the plan, there are a lot of people who have been around for the past 12 years as we have been miseducating kids. However -- however -- I've been here for two and a half months trying to figure out where to find the money to educate kids. And the notion that this is going to happen in a week -- hold on, hold on (interruptions) -- or the notion that we're going to somehow put a task force together when our kids are wasting"

    A great sound bite by Alonso?
    No, it's all bs, all arrogance, all disdain for parents, all learned from his NY puppet masters. (Actually Alonso is so good at it, he might have taught them) There will be no improvement, unless he uses the same testing tricks employed here. But it's such a wonderful vision of this parent driving him to the airport himself.

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  5. Hail Dr. Alonso! For those on this blog, do you have any idea how lousy the Baltimore City school system was before Dr. Alonso came? When he was interviewed on WBAL-TV and spoke about how important it is to have good principals, a commentary followed by one of Baltimore's principals......she couldn't even speak English properly....so good for him that he wants teachers and principals to work longer/harder.....why do you think that people move out of the City and into the County when their kids reach school age? Better schools......give Dr. Alonso a chance.......

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  6. As a Baltimore City native and taxpayer, I am honored to have Dr. Alonso as our CEO of schools. As the previous post states, our schools are terribly mismanaged, and our system broken. We are the abused and neglected step-child of Maryland's wealthy schools. We need all the help we can get. More power to Dr. Alonso.

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  7. The NYC school system has also been pretty broken. If you ask actively parents and about 90% of the teachers and even many administrators who will only talk off the record, the impact of Joel Klein/Alonso, etc. they will tell you they have taken a broken system and made it much worse. It is easy for Alonso to say things that are good sound bites. And he will do the first thing this crew does -- hire as many PR people as feasible to slant the ed news their way. He's only been there less than 4 months. Come back here in about 5 years and tell us how things have improved - but make sure to look past the phony test scores and grad rates first.

    You will find no matter how bad things were, having dicatorial reign with little oversight may at first look good because there will be no interference, but ultimately it crashes down around your ears.

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  8. "Testing tricks" was mentioned by a previous blogger, does that include "test readers" or open book tests? Some schools in Baltimore already use these methods to test "special needs" kids and their "peers". Illegal?
    It certainly affects test scores!

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  9. I think they are talking about "gaming the test' by manipulating bubble kids to get the best score and ignoring the hopeless - triage - who have no chance to rise up enough to make the school look better.

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  10. Incompetent principals are why Baltimore City Public Schools are failing. Either get rid of the principals and give the teachers more authority because they are the ones who know how to help children succeed, or replace the current principals with strong "old school" principals who got results and produced successful citizens. Today's principals are driven by AYP. Education extends far beyond AYP and a competent principal knows that.

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  11. Some bloggers have obviously never heard of the research-based, positive impact of teacher (professional) learning communities. Kudos to Dr. Alonso for wanting to tackle the monster that is damaging the future of our children: LOUSY teachers protected by the union.

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  12. Lazy teachers and lousy principals make for failing schools. The teacher's union has been the single most damaging element in American public schools, and it's time someone change that. Dr. Alonso might not have all the answers, but at least he's asking the right questions.

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