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LETTER: Teachers Union President: 'For Any Misunderstanding ... I Apologize'

Framingham Teachers Association President: "We have made very little progress."

The recent communication that has become controversial has been blown out of proportion – our focus has been on making connections.

For any misunderstanding about the intent, I apologize.

We are teachers – we put kids first every single day in our classrooms and schools. We are not out to hurt anyone – and we are certainly not going to involve children. EVER. Period.

We have been in lengthy negotiations for a contract and we are looking for ways to ensure the committee, as elected officials, is as invested in and feeling the same levels of urgency that our membership has felt.

The opportunity for members to converse with the school committee outside of the school setting is beneficial to our cause. Finding out if a school committee member is in the same circle as several Framingham teachers allows our members to discuss educational issues with them.

For months now, we have been urging the school committee and the superintendent to sit down with us and work together to make a positive difference for the school system.

While they have sat down with us, we have made very little progress.

We are not asking for unreasonable requests – we are asking for limits on class sizes which have been proven over and over again to benefit students. That’s our main goal.

Once again, we ask the school committee members to work with us to make a positive difference for our students.

Sam Miskin

Framingham Teachers Association President

Concerned Framingham Parent March 11, 2013 at 08:38 PM
Putting the class size cap in contract language, as well as the "well-defined day" is problematic for the very reasons many have stated. It becomes "grievable" with all that the grievance process entails. And let's be realistic, the urgency in getting such language into the FTA contract is to set a precedent for the MTA to take to other communities during those negotiations.
Concerned Framingham Parent March 11, 2013 at 08:47 PM
Regarding the practicalities of hard-and-fast class size language in in the contract Balancing better during kindergarten school choice can impact kindergarten class sizes. However, that doesn't address new children moving into town during the school year. Does the union propose that new families with children in different grades should have to split them up because one of the siblings may push one class over the cap? Or, does that school open a new class for that one child "extra" child? Adding a class in the middle of the year, should the school or district shuffle all the kids at that grade level to make the classes evenly sized? Wouldn't that be horribly disruptive for the very children we are ALL so interested in protecting from stress so they can learn? Conversely, if several children leave during the year, do we dismiss the "spare" teacher and collapse the classes with the remaining teachers, again stressing the children who should be focused on learning? To say nothing of whether there are enough physical classrooms in the buildings to play this musical chairs game, or will we have to rent modular classrooms?
John Sullivan March 12, 2013 at 01:03 AM
@Linda - Just curious how you would know that the wording of the letter "sound suspiciously like Lisa Zanella in terms of wording and language use." Who is Lisa Zanella?
Linda Dunbrack March 12, 2013 at 01:42 AM
@John: She is previous FTA President (I believe) and is on the FTA executive board and has been involved in the negotiations for many, many years. http://framingham.massteacher.org/Executive%20Board%20&%20Committees.html She has spoken at School Committee meetings and written many editorials over the years. A person's spoken and written communication often has distinct style, cadence, sentence structure and word choice. It's just my impression, based on listening to her and reading editorials, but it "sounds" like her to me.
Brad Evans March 12, 2013 at 03:31 PM
@FramTeacher 2013 - you cant leave it to the Kindergerten process to fix the class size issues.. It only fixes it for that year - at a certain moment in time. Imagine if you will all Middle school classes at 25 students in all schools.. Now, it is October and 3 new families move in to Framingham, one with twin 12 year old boys (7th grade) and one with a 6th grader. As soon as you assign these kids to a MS, you break the class size policy - so what happens? This is what people are trying to understand - what does the FTA want to happen. Student population and class sizes change throughout the year due to normal comings and goings.. Very difficult to put language about class sizes when that happens - and when certain other things come.

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