|Students at Perry work on posters.|
We take great pride when the Boston School Department uses our collective bargaining agreement as a recruitment tool. Our contract language is pretty good, our teacher empowerment provisions are good and growing, and our benefit package and salary are comparable to some of the best in the country. So when the department touts our agreement, we have a sense of pride, even if the recruiters sometimes stretch the truth. The truth was stretched last week.
At Latin School last week, at this event, a school department spokesperson glowingly described our mentoring program for new recruits and how new teachers would have a New Teacher Developer (NTD) at their side as they embarked on a new career. Sounds great, if only it were true.
In fact, the BPS and the BTU have collaborated to run an exemplary NTD program for the last decade or so. It works wonderfully with a combination of full time NTDs and part-time NTDs, who work together to provide structured mentoring services to our new teachers. Our 12 full time NTDs have a caseload of 14 new teachers, and our varying number of hundreds of part-timers mentor either one or two new teachers. The program works well and is truly a collaborative effort.
The model has two important components — the full-timers and the part-timers. There has been a floating number of each since the program began. Because it is a little less expensive in the aggregate to have part-timers doing the work of full-timers, the department has decided to cut the number of full timers from 12 to two, just enough, the department believes, to train the 150 or so replacement part-timers who will be necessary to take the jobs of… you guessed it… the remaining 10 full timers.
Here’s where the bait and switch comes in: The new recruits have been promised mentoring services from day 1. There is no way — no way — that 150 part-timers can be hired, trained, and in place, in time for the September opening of school to do provide each new hire with mentoring. The hiring and training of the 150 part-timers will not be in place on day 1 — or even day 51.
In trying to save a few bucks on what is widely seen as a quality service, the department is going down a penny-wise but pound-foolish path. Our new teachers deserve and need professional mentoring when they start their careers. Delaying this service for a few months while the department looks for hundreds of replacements does us all a disservice.
So much for truth in advertising.