News, schools, and views from a uniquely Lowell perspective

0305 Letter to Sun

“Teacher-mentoring program is excellent idea” by Margaret Gilsenberg (March 2005)

Only The Sun (editorial “Another Entitlement” published Wednesday, March 16) could put a negative spin on something as proactive and positive for the school system as the proposed teacher-mentoring program.  In their continued vendetta against the superintendent and the school committee, the editors manage to make a good thing sound bad, but let’s look at the facts.

This program will help Lowell attract new teachers and improve the quality of instruction by these inexperienced, new teachers.  Young graduates who might be fearful of teaching in an urban setting will have the reassurance of a seasoned mentor in an official capacity, not just by luck.  The attempt to rile up the taxpayers by claiming that they will get “stiffed with the bill” is pathetic.  The program is grant-funded for three years which should just about get us through a period where nearly 40 percent of our teachers will be retiring, making it crucial that we be able to attract quality replacements.  Once we’ve filled these vacancies and helped teachers settle in to make their careers here in Lowell, the need for mentoring will slow down, minimizing the future cost.

In addition, the differential between what we pay seasoned veterans and what is paid to new teachers will more than pay for the cost of the program. The Sun likes to rant about the taxpayers shoveling money at the schools, but in Kendall Wallece’s column on March 12, he stated that city taxpayers’ share of the cost of education is now minimal.  As usual, The Sun will grasp at any straw to make the schools look bad.

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