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.
President Framingham Teachers Association