Out of the Din
Throughout my adult years, I’d never so much as considered sending my children to private school (parochial or otherwise) until very recently. Even my particular tincture of religious faith leads me strongly to feel that spending one’s formative years among a cross-section of the local society — an opportunity that my own experience led me to take as an apt description of the public school environment — is a valuable component of education. Yet, yesterday our attempts to move our children outside of Tiverton’s school district met with success.
After receiving my wife’s call, in the morning, the rest of the day brought a noticeable increase in my stress level, involving anxiety about the now-certain new monthly bill. But what is one to do? The headline at the top of this week’s Sakonnet Times is “Teachers reject two-year offer“:
Tiverton teachers Monday afternoon “clearly expressed disapproval” of a two-year contract proposal put forward by the School Committee Friday, March 14, according to Amy Mullen, the union’s president and Pocasset School teacher.
The school committee’s contract offer was not proposed for ratification, and no vote was taken, said Ms. Mullen. Rather, it was discussed with “roughly 192 members present” at what union leadership characterized as an “emergency union meeting” at Green Valley Country Club in Portsmouth that began at 4 p.m. Monday and lasted nearly an hour and a half.
“The membership let us know it was not acceptable,” Ms. Mullen said.
The complaint is that, when increasing healthcare costs are factored in, step 10 teachers will see minimal increases. Me, I can’t keep my head from shaking: These teachers know the problems facing our state and our town. They know that money is extremely tight — so much so that their unreasonable demands will require the district to send out up to three dozen pink slips. Yet they persist.
And they persist in this (from an anonymous letter in the print edition’s “Web Words” section):
Teachers, at this point why start anything to benefit the students. As parents of seniors, we know first hand you have disappointed the students all year. Some of the teachers were unprofessional, discussing the contract situation in the classroom, threatening to cancel events such as homecoming, dances and prom. You claim to be fulfilling your contract responsibilities, but as far as the students and parents are concerned, you failed! The seniors worked hard on their senior projects and, at this point, knowing they will not be graded by the teachers for their presentation portion of the project, their enthusiasm has diminished. This just adds to the list of disappointments such as mock trial, math team, class advisers, yearly art gallery shows, class trips, National Honor Society attendance, College Fair, limited letters of recommendation and limited after school help.Fortunately for the students, replacements were found and many of the above activities continued due to the principal and his office staff and concerned parents. Yet again you try to use the seniors as pawns! So you’re not going to show up at graduation, who cares, it’s too late. You lost the respect of most students and parents.
What responsible parent wouldn’t reconsider the value of a public school education when faced with such an environment? I can’t be alone in veritably itching for a concrete opportunity to fight for a school choice/voucher system.