Four years running, Annapolis High School in Maryland has fallen short of meeting NCLB requirements, scoring particularly low in reading tests and graduating just 50 percent of its male African American students on time. So Superintendent Kevin Maxwell, deciding he’d had enough, announced yesterday that everyone—principal, teachers, secretaries, even cafeteria workers—would have to reapply for their jobs. Although rumors had been swirling, Maxwell’s move was seen as less than diplomatic. While the school’s principal retreated to his office and prayed, Lidia Smithers, an English and French teacher, said of the superintendent, who left no time for discussion, “He raced out of there. I felt very disappointed.” Maxwell later argued, however, that, if the academic record doesn’t improve at AHS—where the students are a mix of wealthy white kids and working-class minorities—the state might intervene. The reapplication process, which will be explained to staff next week, has been tried elsewhere (including in nearby Baltimore). But most districts target specific administrators or educators when reforming a school. Smithers, pointing out the socioeconomic challenges many AHS students face, asked: “Why are teachers being blamed for all of this? Do you blame your doctor if you have cancer? Is it Giant Food’s fault if I’m fat?”
A version of this news article first appeared in the Web Watch blog.