Wednesday night lovefest
"Lovefest" and "love-in" were two of the words that speakers used to describe last night's hearing on Dr. Alonso's proposed budget. Not a single person spoke against the plans to start dismantling the central office and empower principals in exchange for accountability, even after Brian Morris asked if anyone had any constructive criticism. Several pillars of the city's educational community heaped praise on the proposal and pledged their support to help implement it. Among them: Pat Welch, the former city school board chair and Morgan's education dean; Ray Lorion, the Towson education dean; Anne O. Emery, a retired administrator and Maryland Higher Education Commission member who now runs a charter school; and Mariale Hardiman, the former Roland Park Elementary/Middle principal who now works at the Hopkins School of Education. Several current principals and charter operators also spoke glowingly.
I wonder if there will be more public debate when the school board votes on a funding formula that inevitably will take money away from some schools and redistribute it to others. As I reported in my story today, the board will be facing some tough questions in the next few weeks as it tries to figure out what's fair -- which students are worthy of more funding and how much money the system should take out of the base for everyone else.
By the way, a "Frequently Asked Questions" document about the budget is now on that system Web page with all the budget stuff.
Happy spring break to all of you headed on vacation today. InsideEd will be here in your absence, posting whatever we can muster on a week when schools are closed.