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LETTER: Administration Foot-Dragging; Teachers 'Losing Faith'

Teachers Association: "We are also considering more drastic measures including a “work-to-rule” action. This means that many of us, who enthusiastically take part in extra-curricular activities in our community, will be sitting on the sideline

We, the 1,000 teachers and education professionals of the Framingham Teachers Association, recently began picketing outside of our schools.

We have taken this step to call attention to our current contract struggle. We view these negotiations as an opportunity to work jointly to make improvements to our schools – including reducing class sizes – that will truly benefit our students.

While we maintain hope that the superintendent and Framingham School Committee will join with us in this important endeavor, we are losing faith.

While the administration wants the public to believe that class size reduction does not have an impact on student achievement, that premise is just plain false.

The information that the administration has put on their website leads to a summary, done by CCSSO, an organization of state board of education directors who are often appointed by the state’s governor. If you read the information from the site closely, you will see that the report states it is not “a full, formal review of the literature on class size.” Additionally, the article goes on to state that “all other things being equal, smaller class sizes tend to facilitate a number of desirable outcomes, including higher levels of student learning.”

To truly look at the synthesis of research done on the topic of class size, I would point to an article that appeared in Education Week, one of the nation’s top publications in education (http://www.edweek.org/ew/issues/class-size/). Additionally, the teachers are asking to have the current policy placed into the contract. If the Administration follows their policy, this should not be a problem.

We are educators. We joined the teaching profession because we want to make a difference in the lives of young people. We want to give them the knowledge and skills they need to succeed and be contributing citizens, yet we are faced with a school committee that is more concerned about a political win than the best interests of our students.

Despite our best efforts, we believe there has been an unreasonable amount of foot-dragging and stalling on the part of the school committee since negotiations began almost an entire year ago in February 2012.

These delay tactics have left us no choice but to turn up the heat.

To date, we’ve rallied at two school committee meetings, conducted an email campaign, and are now staging regular pickets.

We have ceased all voluntary administrative committees and meetings that occur outside of the understood contractual day.

We have stopped providing extra help to students outside of the understood contractual day.

We are also considering more drastic measures including a “work-to-rule” action. This means that many of us, who enthusiastically take part in extra-curricular activities in our community, will be sitting on the sidelines.

We engage in these activities not because we have to, but because we want to contribute. A full “work-to-rule” action would impact many of these activities and it would impact many staff members and students.

It’s our hope that the members of the Framingham School Committee will take the necessary steps, put in a true effort to meet more frequently and to join with us to make improvements that will benefit our students and our schools.

Sam Miskin

President Framingham Teachers Association

Stacy January 31, 2013 at 10:42 PM
KKM- when the FTA continues to publicly announce that they are not being treated fairly what do you expect the parents to feel and say? Any comments that are coming out are at the end of letters to the editor from the FTA..the parents and other taxpayers are being asked over and over again to take the side of the FTA and all I can say is that after all the information that has come out I will not take the teachers side. The teachers get paid well in Framingham. Yes, they are asked to stay late or come in early. I will not agree that they always have to defend their profession. They do have to defend the way the act when always wanting a raise or when they are asking for things that are completely out of the realm of possibility because of circumstances beyond anyone's control. And yes it is a full time vital job so do what other full time salary employees do and work. Stop this crazy work to rule because all this proves is that this is a stance the teachers are willing to take at the expense of the kids. Also, why do you think your contract isn't fair? Asking for smaller class size when there isn't any space available or asking for a defined workday when we all know salary employees don't have a defined workday is just plain ridiculous. Sometimes people have to use common sense and this is one of those times.
KKM February 01, 2013 at 10:20 PM
I swore I was done with this post, but Stacy, you ave misinformation. We are NOT asking for smaller class sizes but we ARE asking thathe current guidelines as recommended by the school committee be put in our contract simply because there is a tendency to put more children in classrooms that are already full. Would you want your kindergarten child in a class of 25 with only a part time aide? I wouldn't! It's also more than a little likely that several to quite a few have difficulties that take away from the other students. We are not working to rule yet. I will speak only for myself when I say I get to school before or by 7:30 for an 8:15 start and am often there until 3:30 or later....and I do bring work home. Not a complaint at all!I choose to do this because it IS what the kids need. When I get to school, the parking lot is already half full and when I leave it's the same. IF the members vote to go to work to rule, I will HAVE to come in at the school committee's guideline of 7:55 and leave by 2:45. The only difference for those of us who work longer hours is that we will bring home more work.I'm in elementary school so my students will only suffer the fact that I might have an increase in my stress level and maybe I will take longer to get work back to them. As for high school and middle school teachers...you might not believe this, but their hearts break over this. Yes, common sense is needed, but folks need the true facts before taking a stand.
Rich February 04, 2013 at 06:42 PM
IF the members vote to go to work to rule, I will HAVE to come in at the school committee's guideline of 7:55 and leave by 2:45. your choice to follow.
Mary Gonzales February 05, 2013 at 03:47 AM
Am I missing something? what is the magic numberteachers are looking for? 10 students per class?15? 20? Most communities have a policy for 20-25 students. I don't understand why they are picketing before school and refusing to help students after school who need help yet at the same time saying without a class size restriction the students will suffer? Aren't the students suffering now by teachers refusing to help just before mid-terms? So when my son gets a C he can tell the college, it should have an asterisk as he wanted to learn but the teachers refused to give him help. Take some responsibility. I didn't see the Framingham firefighters picketing or refusing to go to house fires and medical calls for a year, while they were negotiating their contract. They were without one longer than the teachers!!
KKM February 07, 2013 at 06:09 PM
Mary, the "magic number" is exactly what the school committee asked for which differs from grade to grade....we just want those numbers as their guidelines state, put in the contract. Why won't they? Because they've already exceeded those numbers in so many classrooms already that they can't without complying with their own words. I'm sorry about your son's mid-terms but not being a middle school teacher I can't comment on that....we are not working to rule now so I don't know why he couldn't get help. And I will not comment about any other town employee either....it's not my place. Rich, I feel the same way....I will HAVE to adhere to those hours.

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