So, I've been trying to understand how the magnet high schools work in Baltimore these days. With the controversy about student retention and some of the heated discussion on Inside Ed I'm thinking it's not the same as it was 20-odd years ago when I was last involved. High schools don't have MSA's but they do have prestige, based on awards and college acceptances, which are prominently displayed on these schools' websites (Poly, City, Western ). That seems reasonable. Then on the Poly news section I read about a teacher, Dennis Jutras, being recognized for his work and for helping Poly do well in history competitions. Seems like just the type of teacher you need at a magnet school to lead these students to more awards. But then I read on the Center for Emerging Media's blog that this same teacher is being forced out through some sort of re-organization. I'm confused. As with the discussion with making it harder to remove students I've got to ask why. What am I missing here? We have something that's working very well. Reward and recognition is deeply needed in a school system that's dogged by violence, poor graduation rates and the like. Poly and BCPSS should be killing themselves to keep award winning teachers, but instead we seem to be giving them reasons to move on.
Update - 6/14/08
I still don't get it, but I've heard the department merger has been undone and Dennis Jutras will be at Poly in the fall. The alumni were involved, and it's good that the administration can be flexible and listen to people outside the school. On the other hand, I don't think that what really happened and all the issues involved will be public knowledge, so the pluses and minuses of this outcome will remain a mystery.