To the editor:
Gov. Koch–Brownback vetoed mentor-teacher bonuses. There is, arguably, no other single model that results in greater teacher improvement and development than teacher mentoring.
When successful, experienced teachers spend hours each week coaching, modeling techniques, assisting, demonstrating, observing and recoaching new or struggling teachers, student learning improves. Teachers who benefit from this model are much less likely to leave the profession within their first five years of teaching.
When new student-learning models are introduced building- or districtwide, teacher mentoring is by far the most effective way to make sure the model is implemented effectively. The broad body of research is solidly positive on this intervention for school improvement.
Successful teacher-mentors still must manage, prepare for, teach and evaluate each of the students in their own classrooms. These professionals deserve increased pay. When scales do not provide for such pay, bonuses are an effective option.
The business community insists that schools must implement merit pay. This is a form of professional growth pay that works. School districts where effective teacher-mentoring programs are in place have teacher, administrator, board of education and parental approval. No single intervention solves all problems, and that is no excuse for ending those that work best.
Fund teacher mentoring, unless your objective is to ensure that public education fails.