While it’s laudable for The Standard-Times to take a “glass half full” approach to Hayden-McFadden’s turnaround plans (“Our View: Agreements set HayMac on course for improvement,” April 15), let’s be realistic. First, of the 21 teachers who did not reapply, it’s insulting to assume that they didn’t apply because they were not committed to the school or the turnaround plan. Many could not work the longer school calendar due to other commitments, and others chose to bid for other positions rather than gamble on getting rehired. Second, it’s also unfair to assume that the six not hired were not qualified; among them were 25-year veterans with advanced certification in special education. This suggests that highly qualified teachers at the higher end of the pay scale were pushed out in order to redirect budget dollars to the higher salaries the new teachers will be receiving.
Lastly, let’s not lose sight of the fact that 21 new teachers now have to be hired for a Level 4 school with a longer school day, a chronic absenteeism rate three times higher than the state average, and a disproportionate number of low-income students and English language learners. As we learned with Parker and New Bedford High, that is no easy feat. Whether or not the school district is able to hire high-quality, experienced teachers who can actually implement a turnaround plan will be the true test of whether HayMac is on course for improvement.