Letters

Speakout

June 24, 2007

THE ISSUE: -- Less than five months after Anne Arundel County schools Superintendent Kevin M. Maxwell called for all 193 staff members at Annapolis High School to reapply for their jobs, the numbers are in: At least 45 of the 111 classroom teachers will not return.

Maxwell announced the radical effort to "zero-base" the staff to help improve student performance and graduation rates, particularly among minorities, and head off a state takeover. The school had failed to meet state and federal benchmarks under the No Child Left Behind Act four years in a row.

A handful of teachers who reapplied to stay at the school were turned away, and many more decided to move on. The result is that some departments will look drastically different when classes begin July 1 at the year-round school.

YOUR VIEW: --How will Annapolis High fare without much of its current staff?

Community must support education

There are a minimum of 60 teachers who are leaving, not 45. The majority are content-area teachers who teach math, foreign language, English and social studies. The majority have established relationships with students and their families and understand the issues facing this community. For the students in the Annapolis feeder systems, it will be a tremendous loss.

It's considered politically incorrect to speak the truth about the debacle that has become AHS. For the record, it's not the teachers who need to leave in order to improve the academic record at Annapolis High School. A new crop of newly hired, inexperienced and uncertified teachers will not help.

All stakeholders have to embrace education and commit to doing whatever it takes to educate their child. If parents are absent, church and community members have to step in and insist that homework is done on a routine basis. Students do not need iPods or expensive cell phones to succeed in school. They need a pen, pencil, paper and a calculator. Students need a safe place to hang out in the hours after school. The mall should not be their babysitter.

I currently teach in an inner-city school. The majority of our students are successful. They come to school, they (mostly) do their homework and they understand the power of an education. They have a solid community behind them. Parents, guardians, church and community leaders and teachers all rally behind these kids to help them succeed.

It's trite, but true; it really does take a village to make a child whole.

Leslie Kriewald Crownsville

The writer is a former teacher at Annapolis High School.

School is losing precious assets

The school is losing the institutional memory that has kept Annapolis High a community resource. Teachers, some with 29 years of experience with these students, families and the community have left the school and will be teaching elsewhere next year.

The teachers, our most precious and needed assets, have been lost. What are these new programs which will make Annapolis High a premier high school? Can new programs and new teachers bring us forward without building on the existing foundation of the school? What is a school, without its history and relationship to the students/families/community?

We are waiting to see how new staff will provide the cure, now that the pain of losing our old teachers continues.

Judith Billage Annapolis

The writer is the parent of an Annapolis High School student.

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