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Massachusetts Recruits Teachers for Underperforming Schools

By Ray Hershel

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB) — Massachusetts is looking for the best teachers. It’s part of the state’s plan to turn around underperforming schools.

The state has identified 35 schools in nine districts as underperforming. Ten schools are in Springfield and two are in Holyoke.

State Education Commissioner Mitchell Chester says he wants to put the best and most talented teachers in front of the children who need them the most.

Springfield School Superintendent Alan Ingram likes the plan.

“I think it’s a great opportunity for Springfield, and I think it’s a great opportunity for the commonwealth as a whole,” said Ingram.

Teachers will be offered incentives to come to underperforming schools. That could mean  more pay or leadership opportunities. And that could result in big changes in some schools.

Springfield Teachers Union President Timothy Collins has some concerns.

“If you offer some bonus to bring people in without addressing the salary of teachers who are currently here you’re going to have this revolving door where people are leaving.” Collins went on to say, “The whole thing doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, there could be up to five of our schools where half of the staff has to change,” said Collins, who said the union will work to retain jobs.

School Superintendent Alan Ingram says the city will work with the union on the changes.

“We want to use a variety of strategies to attract new, talented teachers to make sure those who remain are the ones best suited for their work at hand, and be fair and reasonable to those who choose to seek other assignments in the system that might be better suited to their needs.”