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NCLB Outrages

Most teachers at Annapolis reapply for jobs...BUT

Comments from Annie: The following was sent to the Annapolis Capital as a letter to the editor.

In an April 17 article, the Capital headline read: “Most teachers at Annapolis reapply for jobs.” The subtitle read: “But entire foreign language department, 60% of IB teachers won’t return”. The headline and subtitle should have been reversed.

A third of the teachers are leaving the high school in the wake of Maxwell’s new plan. This is outrageous.

We are witnessing the growing destruction of NCLB and Annapolis has become ground zero for the gravest mistake ever to hit our public school system. It is a major tragedy to lose an entire Language Department, the school’s top teachers, and the most seasoned teachers in a staff that dedicated their professional careers to teaching in a school that exemplifies the best and worst about our community.

Do you believe experienced teachers, those who still maintain flexibility and ingenuity in the face of narrowed curriculum and standardized policy are expendable? Do you think that a teacher who agrees to read a script and adhere to an artificial pace is right for our students? Do you believe that extended school hours and year round schooling will solve the problems that are at the root of inequity in education? Examine this product carefully. It is not the right answer for our public schools.

This school will not be the last in our county to fail if we do not start thinking critically about the inadequacy of a business approach to education. NCLB standardization lessens opportunities for our most capable students and punishes our least able. By the standard of AYP accountability, every student and teacher in every school in our county is chained exclusively to the mandated investment in standardized tests.

This is not education for progress or a democracy. It is education for profit and greed.

Please help stop this outrage.


Most teachers at Annapolis reapply for jobs

But entire foreign language dept., 60 percent of IB teachers won't return

More than two-thirds of Annapolis High's teachers have applied to stay for a major reform effort next year, the school's principal said last night.

Speaking at a PTA meeting, Principal Donald R. Lilley said 76 of the school's 106 teachers - or 71 percent - applied to keep their jobs.

Mr. Lilley said many teachers are opting not to return because they want summers to spend with their kids. Part of the reform effort requires Annapolis teachers to work year round.

"I expected more," Mr. Lilley said after the meeting. "And the reason for it is this is a good school."

But the number of applications is higher than many parents and teachers were expecting.

"It's contrary to what I'd been hearing," said Beth Bodkin, the president of the school's PTA.

Mr. Lilley's comments were the first indication of how many teachers want to say at Annapolis High in the wake of a "zero-basing" initiative announced in January.

Under Superintendent Kevin M. Maxwell's plan, every employee, from the principal to the school lunch aides, had to reapply for their jobs.

Those hired will be required to sign three-year contracts and take part in summer training and planning. In exchange they'll get hiring and performance bonuses and other incentives.

Dr. Maxwell's initiative has hit some departments harder than others. No teachers in the school's foreign language department will return next year, Mr. Lilley said, and every guidance counselor has opted to go elsewhere.

The International Baccalaureate program, the school's rigorous college prep program that has become part of Annapolis' identity, will probably lose about 60 percent of its 17 teachers, Mr. Lilley said.

That has some parents, like Judy Billage, upset over the plan. Her son will be a senior next year, and will miss a foreign language teacher and the IB theory of knowledge teacher he's grown fond of.

"It's pretty much his program has been deconstructed with this zero basing," Ms. Billage said.

But Ms. Bodkin said the IB program will have an easier time rebuilding than when it started four years ago.

"They started from nothing four years ago," she said. "At least now there will be some IB teachers in the building that can lead the way."

Mr. Lilley also said 45 of the approximately 80 non-teaching staff members have applied to stay next year. And 83 non-Annapolis employees have applied to the school, but he's giving current staff a first shot.

The number of teachers who reapplied probably won't match the number who actually start in the fall, Mr. Lilley said. Not every teacher will be offered a job, and not everyone offered a job will accept it, Mr. Lilley said.

And with the terms of their three-year contracts settled last week, school officials are giving Annapolis teachers another chance to apply if they haven't already.

In February, school system spokesman Bob Mosier said officials wouldn't release any information on hiring while the zero-basing is worked out.

"We will not discuss that information for any position, including teachers," Mr. Mosier said in a Feb. 13 e-mail. "It's a personnel matter.

But media lawyers have said releasing numbers of teacher rehired can't be considered a privileged personnel matter, an exception to public information laws designed to protect personal details of employees.

And mounting pressure from the school's PTA seems to have forced school officials to release some information.

The Capital, Annapolis, Md.


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