Friday, May 15, 2009

Education Reporter Sara Neufeld Leaves The Sun

I'd be remiss if I didn't mention something that anyone in the world of Baltimore City education already knows: Baltimore Sun Education Beat Writer Sara Neufeld is volunteering to be laid off, in a show of solidarity with colleagues losing their jobs. Besides being a quality reporter, she is the driving force behind InsideEd, the Baltimore Sun education blog, which has built in size and influence in the last two years to become one of the heartbeats of the BCPSS community.

I once read that Ms. Neufeld - who I have never met, but feel like I know from her writing over the years, and one phone conversation - was inspired by Jonathan Kozol, the legendary author and education equality activist. Indeed, her work here in Baltimore has helped to showcase the challenges in urban public eduation, as well as its successes, thrills, and heartfelt moments. Her impact on the City Schools has been strong, and her use of her position as a check-and-balance on the disparity, injustice, and occasional lunacy of the BCPSS - plus, never hesitating to its biggest cheerleader and supporter when warranted - is exactly what one should hope for from a journalist.

Just look at the thread of comments below her blog entry announcing her leaving: With Heavy Heart, Volunteering to Go. David Simon is among the commenters, plus many teachers around the city and area.

Neufeld's 3-Part Series on Dr. Andres Alonso is Pulitzer-type stuff. Really an amazing read about an enigmatic and dynamic man.

We'll really miss her here in Baltimore. She leaves huge shoes to fill, and I wish her nothing but the best in her future pursuits (and hope she stays in the field and writes some great books).


Anonymous said...

I usually trust trust your judgement, but to say Neufeld's article on Alonzo is "Pulitzer-type" material--it's more like a bunch of fluff. Have you been to spoken to or heard from other teachers in the system? Alonzo has done a good job of selling his pc nonsense to the public, but where's the substance?

Teach Baltimore said...

A bunch of fluff? What a strange thing to say. It's a really in-depth look at the man.

I have mixed feelings on Alonso, but in all the conversations I've had with fellow teachers about that article, we all thought the article was pretty amazing. Liking Alonso doesn't have a whole lot to do with thinking the article was really in-depth.

Anonymous said...

Was it fair and balanced? I would argue that the Sun doesn't question Alonso enough--it's similar to the love affair the US press had with Bush during the run-up to the Iraq war. Remember if you questioned Bush you were considered unpatriotic. If you disagree with Alonso--god forbid, you must not like children!

Sara Neufeld, Baltimore Sun said...

Teach Baltimore, thanks so much for the post. I really appreciate it, and I feel like I know you, too. I've enjoyed your blogs over the past few years and will continue reading.

As for my series, the point was to give readers an understanding of how Dr. Alonso thinks and works and what drives him. To take that approach, I had to tell it first from his perspective. Of course I still needed to include the voice of critics, and I did. Most of the feedback I got was quite positive, but I acknowledge that some feel the same way as Anonymous.

Anonymous said...

Sara--thanks for coming on and being open to discussion about your work. While I may not be Alonso's biggest fan, I appreciate discussion and equally important, different perspectives--something a lot of people were quick to criticize our last President for not doing!

Teach Baltimore said...

I think it was a pretty balanced article, but it wasn't necessarily an 'issue' article, where I look for that more... this was a profile, and an in-depth one at that. I did see both sides in the article.