Letters To The Editor

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

February 23, 2003

Budget trims show disdain for teachers

Anne Arundel considers new teachers to be throwaways. This is the unspoken message in Superintendent Eric Smith's proposal that the Board cut the 26 mentor teachers by half, a very large price to pay for so small a saving: one-eighth of 1 percent in a $641 million budget.

Mentors help first- and second-year teachers succeed in a time when students are increasingly hard to handle. Mr. Smith hints he may force a choice between textbooks and mentors. The big choice is between mentors and Anne Arundel getting a reputation for high-turnover of young teachers.

There are already enough disincentives to teaching in Anne Arundel. In its 47 schools which remain unairconditioned, who will be blamed for students not doing well on big tests?

Many open-space schools have not had interior walls built to create traditional classrooms.

The four-period day puts classes into the high 30s and even 40s. Discipline will be difficult. High school teachers will have six instead of five classes and 192 rather than 140 students at a time. Middle school Encore teachers will have 270 at a time. It's a sweatshop load.

The percent of high-schoolers taking one or more Advanced Placement courses will be expanded from 29 to 40. This increase in a short time means that students with inadequate skills will be induced to attempt college level courses. Guess who will be blamed their low scores on the AP exams? Think twice about being an AP Teacher in Anne Arundel.

Think twice about being any kind of teacher in Anne Arundel. Thirty years ago, Superintendent Ed Anderson described teachers as "hired hands." That attitude apparently continues.

Go west, young teachers if the Board cuts the mentors. Go to a system that doesn't think of mentor teachers as a frill, a system that doesn't think of you as a throwaway.

James A. Hoage

Severna Park

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