The following are Letters to the Editor and do not reflect the views of the Beacon staff or board.
This is a tailored version of a letter sent to the Mayor and City Council. There is no question that what Newton experienced with the teacher’s strike was a challenging, tumultuous, even potentially traumatizing event. People are referencing the word “healing” for the community dynamic, of which I heartily support.
One of the philosophical underpinnings of my mediation, coaching, and training work, is that of turning challenge into opportunities. Due to circumstances beyond my control, life has given me massive experiences to develop such an approach. Indeed, I am just working on a video now of such a topic, emphasizing the practical, emotional, and spiritual bases of how one turns challenge into opportunity. There are enormous resources in Newton, and by taking a step back, I believe the community can realign to better methods and increased understanding. I underscore, these methods are sustainable, and bring out peoples’ strengths.
Finally, one of the dreams I have is to establish a conflict resolution center. A place that would have a light and a beam that would draw people to it. Vitally to emphasize positive interactions in our most challenging times, where interdependence is needed!
Please write to your representatives and senators to support Massachusetts bill H1845/S1217, legalizing strikes after 6 months of negotiation. This bill would save money and preserve community goodwill. It would give public servants an effective democratic voice.
This long strike could have been avoided. The NTA went for 16 months without a contract before voting to strike. Members went unpaid for 15 days. The Newton School Committee (including the mayor) abused its access to NPS email lists, sending out charged and biased political “updates” which set families against teachers. Chris Brezski ranted that teachers had “locked children out of school” accusing the governor of doing this during the pandemic. If not for the governor’s intervention, the strike would likely continue.
Disturbingly, some wealthy people added havoc, suing the NTA. The vastly underpaid behavioral aides who directly serve their children were a major focus of the strike. Wealthy families have no alternative for special education except through public schools – private schools don’t support it. Perhaps the city of Newton should seek alternative funding possibilities for the public schools like Watertown has, as the Chamber of Commerce suggested.
Children, schools and teachers have become political footballs. Stop the nonsense. Support H1845/S1217.
To the editor:
It is hurtful to the teachers and the educational system in general to seek damages for any alleged harm to the students from the teacher strike. I understand that the time can and will be made up by cancelling a vacation. So the end result is that the student’s vacation has been shifted. That is no severe harm to a student’s education. Perhaps it is harmful to the parent’s vacation plans.
The head of the school committee was asked last week on a radio show whether a contract would have come to fruition without the strike. He responded, “Yes,” because the Committee was negotiating with the teacher’s union. Of course they had been negotiating for 16 months without coming to a contract. No one should believe that a fair contract would have been reached without the strike. It is a priority that teachers be paid fairly. They have been injured by the failure of the school committee to offer reasonable contract provisions.