PG Officials Mum on Criteria Used to Oust 49 Teachers: Teaching Ability Not Issue, They Say

Article excerpt

Prince George's County officials insist there is no message about teaching abilities - or the lack thereof - to be gleaned from the fact that more than half the teachers at six troubled schools will not return to their schools this fall.

But administrators were not able to say Friday what criteria were used to evaluate the teachers who were turned away and reassigned to other schools.

No one was to be fired under the "21st Century School Reform" plan unveiled last month by Superintendent Jerome Clark for the six schools - Glassmanor, Ridgecrest, Riverdale and Thomas Stone elementary schools and Benjamin Stoddert and Drew-Freeman middle schools.

Each of the schools has posted consistently low scores on the Maryland School Performance Assessment Program, a series of standardized tests. Mr. Clark said he wanted to reorganize the schools before the state stepped in and ordered him to do so, as it has done elsewhere.

As part of the reshuffling, Mr. Clark said all employees at the schools would have to reapply for their jobs if they wanted to work at their old schools in the fall.

Those who did not wish to return could ask to be transferred to another school. Those who applied and were not accepted at their old schools were moved to other schools.

Teachers who reapplied had to commit to staying at their schools for at least three years and spend several weeks this summmer undergoing professional staff development.

Of the 246 teachers at the six schools this year, 89 reapplied and have been accepted to be back in their schools next year. Another 49 were turned down and 89 others chose not to reapply. A school spokesman did not know the status of the remaining 19 teachers. …