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A Statement Regarding The Teacher Signing Bonus Program and MINT (Massachusetts Institute for New Teachers) Programs

"I am very encouraged with our initial successes in implementing the comprehensive teacher quality enhancement law, in particular the Signing Bonus and MINT programs.

The success of our signing bonus program is reflected in the fact that we have had 1000 applicants each of three years; we have found a heretofore untapped pool of mid-career people with strong content knowledge to consider this career; we are beginning to strengthen public understanding that this is a noble and dignified profession that needs more bright, committed people to join it; eighty percent of all signing bonus recipients are still teaching today; and ninety percent of their principals want to hire more.

The immense national recognition of the potential of our new teacher recruitment program has influenced California, Connecticut, Florida, Maryland, New York and other states to initiate similar programs. We are encouraged by the fact that other states have seen what we are doing and have judged that what we are doing is worth copying.

Without the opportunity Massachusetts is providing, the new people we have attracted would not have entered the teaching profession, and with retirements on the rise we must attract more.

Is this program the final answer to the critical need for teachers? Clearly no, and this is why the legislation also mandates several other TQE programs to encourage young people to enter the career, to provide mentors for new teachers, and to support veteran teachers with $50,000 bonuses and career advancement options.

All of these programs are designed to attract, train, retain and promote teachers and the teaching profession. All will take time. All offer tremendous promise. We are encouraged by our initial results and will keep at it.

Our students deserve strong and dedicated teachers every way we can get them, and we will continue to aggressively seek potential teachers from all backgrounds and career paths, everywhere we can find them."

Last Updated: February 15, 2001
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