CEO Andrés Alonso Promotes the Push for School Choice in Baltimore City

CEO Andrés A. Alonso, Ed.D., sent out an email on November 9 with the subject line “Great Event: Please Join Me on Saturday November 19!” It’s the School Choice Fair. And it’s his favorite.

This is my favorite City Schools event because it offers a glimpse—like no other occasion or news release can—into the incredible range of learning opportunities available to our students and families, and into the nature of our partnership with our families around the choices they make. More than five dozen schools with middle and high school grades will be on display, with students and staff on hand to answer your questions and provide detailed information about their programs.

Come to the fair and learn about single-gender schools and combined middle-high schools, and dozens of schools with a unique theme or distinct academic focus: schools with visual and performing arts programs; career programs in health care, hospitality and broadcast production; STEM (science, technology engineering and math) and robotics programs; foreign languages; environmental and green themes. Find out where students can go to develop leadership skills, join debate teams and learn to play chess from national champions. Come celebrate with me—and with students and families across the city—the great things happening in City Schools.

Readers of this blog already know that I have a lot of questions about the push for school choice. (You can read the “If the School Fits” series I posted back in the summer, starting here.) But I’d love to hear from parents of middle school and high school students who are loving this whole push. (And those who aren’t.)

Do you want options? If so, how many? Is an event at a baseball stadium – with representatives from 65 schools – intimate enough? Or would you rather have one-on-one or small group middle and high school choice advising sessions at your current school?  Say, someone who knows your child’s interests and abilities? Is there someone at your school who does that? Does it even matter? Will your children just go where their friends go? Or where your friends are sending their children? Or wherever is closest? How old was your child when you started to think about middle and high school options?

All comments welcome.


P.S. For those who are interested, the 2012-13 School Choice Fair is scheduled for Saturday, November 19, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., at Oriole Park at Camden Yards.

Related Posts

If the School Fits: Opening a Conversation About School Choice in Baltimore

If the School Fits: The Hospital Analogy

If the School Fits: Who’s Pounding the Drum?

If the School Fits: Is There Such a Thing as Too Much Choice?

“Portfolio”: The Vocabulary of Education Reform in Baltimore City – Lesson One 




4 Comments to “CEO Andrés Alonso Promotes the Push for School Choice in Baltimore City”

  1. I don’t see that the YouTube video contributes anything useful to the topic, but as our host says, she’s not there to pick and choose. Perhaps Mr. Young could explain how Mr. Muhammad’s disagreement with Dr. Alonso’s policies (which policies, by the way?) and the CEO’s alleged assaultive behavior has anything to do with school choice. To me, “school choice” is just one more example of the free-market meme that holds that “More choice is better.” I think that there is a huge body of solid research, from psychology through economics, that demonstrates clearly that this is an utterly false proposition. A specific objection I have to the “school choice” policy has to do with the enormous burden it places on the families of our kids to exercise any sort of choice. There are two conventional high schools in my neighborhood–both excellent quality, I think–and one non-profit school for kids who have had difficulties in the regular school system. Some of those kids have to take 2 or even 3 city buses to make the trek to their “chosen” high school. I’ve got news for the choice advocates. We’re not talking about kids in Baltimore City whose parents own this year’s SUV and can afford to drive them to the school door like the private school kids parents are able to do. These kids come from families of, shall we say, modest means–as in “poverty level.” And now they want to inflict this same burden on grade school kids! It’s madness, pure and simple. School choice is just another element of the conservative plan to destroy opportunities for kids to enjoy a free, high quality public education in a school near where they live. If the BCPS administration would quit focusing on turning teachers into slaves and start being a little creative, I think we’d see less of this “free choice” nonsense.


  2. Schools choice is great as long as kids also have the option to choose a high-quality school in or near their neighborhood. We find that some of our kids who are accepted into selective high schools choose a high school in their neighborhood because that is where their friends attend. Having a counselor work with kids and parents through the high school choice process is critical.


  3. Thanks for the video, I guess? It’s new to me, though the video and story are from March 2010. This isn’t the direction I was hoping to go, but I said all comments welcome. And I meant it.


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