Re “Johnson’s mind-boggling blunders” (Op-ed, July 14): Lawrence Harmon’s comments on the performance of Boston school Superintendent Carol Johnson disparage those who gave public input in her support. He writes, “Even representatives from a sorority and debate league weighed in. Who’s next? The harbor patrol?” Harmon should have known that The Boston Globe editorialized in May about the successes of the Boston Debate League.
The debate league has promoted debate across the curriculum and has trained Boston teachers in using debate to reach students at all levels and to keep them in school while preparing them for success in college. To treat the input of the debate league as irrelevant or uninformed is to minimize one of Johnson’s greatest accomplishments, which has been to bring debate into the middle and secondary schools, to provide financial support, and thus to demonstrably increase retention and advancement rates among students of all academic levels and races.
This year, Boston Debate won the New England tournament of the National Forensic League, and represented rhe region at nationals.
Whatever criticisms one may have of Johnson in other areas, she has been an inspiring innovator who dares to provide opportunities for building success in the schools.
The writer is a debate coach at Waring School in Beverly and a member of the Boston Debate League Advisory Council.