A Mission to Transform Baltimore’s Beaten Schools
Kudos to Joel Klein's former deputy, Andres Alonso, for making big strides in one of the worst school systems in America:
For years, this city had one of the worst school systems in the country. Fewer than half its students graduated, enrollment had fallen precipitously and proficiency levels were far below the national average.
In 2007, the school board hired Andres Alonso, a Cuban immigrant with a Harvard degree and strong views on how to change things. In three years, he pushed through a sweeping reorganization of the school system, closing failing schools, slashing the central office staff by a third and replacing three-quarters of all school principals.
Not everyone likes Dr. Alonso's methods, and many find that his brassy self-confidence can grate. But few are arguing with his results. Since he was hired, the dropout rate has fallen by half, more students are graduating and for the first time in many years, the system has gained students instead of losing them.