, Salem, MA

March 24, 2014

Letter: Does more money mean better quality?

The Salem News

---- — To the editor:

As a retired educator in Salem, it has been disappointing to read the recent observations of Salem school officials. First, Superintendent Russell’s statement that in the past school principals were 30-year veterans who coached the football team is outdated and somewhat demeaning to present Salem principals. Those characteristics may have described principals 40 years ago, but do not apply to any of Salem’s principals today. Secondly, if more money will attract better principals, what does that say about Salem’s teachers, who have been at the bottom of the region’s pay scale for decades?

Having taught for 20 years at the Collins Middle School and Salem High School, I can unequivocally state that the vast majority of my colleagues were outstanding teachers skilled in the profession and deeply committed to their students. Unfortunately, Salem continues to lose many young talented teachers, not because of poor administrative leadership, but simply to increase their earning potential as they progress in their chosen careers.

Simply addressing administrative salaries will do little to address the overall professional educational needs of the Salem school system. All the private consortiums, consultants, grants and other resources will never affect educational results like a teaching staff respectfully compensated for their professional skills. As teachers of my generation retire it is imperative that new teachers are attracted to Salem not only by the excitement of the changes in progress, but also because the salaries offered reflect the esteem in which the Salem community holds its children’s educators.

David Neville