2012-06-14 / Letters to the Editor

Teachers should not be seen as ‘fast trackers’

As the 2011-12 academic year comes to an end, the Jamestown Teachers’ Association executive board and the Jamestown Teachers’ Association negotiating committee would like to express our gratitude to the many citizens who are supporting our faculty’s efforts to be exemplary educators.

We are committed to the goal of Lawn Avenue and Melrose Avenue schools attaining and maintaining status as high-performing institutions. In addition, we support the efforts of those taxpayers who seek clarity and transparency in the school budget.

We believe any open dialogue regarding all expenditures will only facilitate the development of a school system that operates efficiently while maintaining a high regard for its administrators and faculty. With this in mind, we encourage everyone to view the teacher contract portion of the June 7 video of the School Committee meeting in the Jamestown Record. The School Committee chairwoman explains a portion of an agreement in which a committee will be formed to generate ideas, to, perhaps, guide the next round of negotiations in 2014.

Unfortunately, there is a misrepresentation regarding one aspect of this agreement. The JTA’s negotiation committee emphatically denies agreeing to the notion that teachers “fast track” to step 12. We can assure you that no teacher working his or her first 12 years would characterize it as any kind of sprint. In fact, we believe that most of the Jamestown taxpayers recognize that this profession has become far more arduous and demanding in recent years.

Furthermore, whether it is step 10, step 11 or step 12, there is no finish line. Teachers who dedicate themselves to this profession and may work an additional 20 years or more are not just “hanging around”. To suggest that teachers working beyond 12 years are expending minimal energy is beyond insulting. We invite any and all citizens of Jamestown to visit our schools. The energy is palpable. The pace is fast. The children are learning in a dynamic environment. On a daily basis they demonstrate high-level thinking.

In closing, we welcome your feedback and are eager to help move the Jamestown school system forward in all educational and financial matters. You should have such expectations. We hope you have the same expectations of the School Committee. We are ready to collaborate, but we must be recognized as hard-working dedicated professionals, and not “fast trackers” and “hangers on.”

Mark E. Allard Jamestown Teachers’ Association

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