Throughout this past week, your PTO co-presidents have been meeting with other PTO leaders and the superintendent as well as with the Day principal. We’ve heard a range of perspectives, needs and concerns. As you know, we’ve supported the teachers wholeheartedly throughout the last 3 years and want them to have a fair contract. But students are clearly being hurt by being out of school.

While we’ve gotten a few emails from parents to express support for continuing the strike, we’ve heard from many more parents and guardians who think that students should be back in school while negotiations continue. We’ve also heard concerns about the tone of the strike, from the party-like atmosphere to the vitriolic and intimidating posts. With 12,000 students struggling with interrupted learning, we agree that a strike is a serious event and needs to be treated as such, especially since the students are watching. We support a return to work agreement that allows negotiation to continue while students are in school and learning.

Today we heard from Day parents asking us to circulate a petition in case parents are interested in signing, and it is linked here (please note that this is not our petition and we are simply passing it on):

https://www.change.org/p/kids-first

It is described below:

Show your support for the students of Newton Public Schools by signing this petition. This petition has one goal: to get our kids back in school immediately.

Our children are being deprived of their right to an education. We believe the NTA and City are so mired in their drive to advocate for their perspectives such that the children’s interests have been subordinated in the need to win. We understand that the two sides remain apart on several issues, but we implore you to continue your negotiations while enabling students and teachers to get back to the classroom. To be clear, we are not siding with the NTA or the City but are advocating for the children. As with all negotiations, compromises must come from both sides.

We also want to share the messaging from other PTOs that we found useful:

“We urge all parties to bargain in good faith and work quickly towards an amicable resolution that will reopen our schools and allow all school-related activities to resume. The PTO unwaveringly supports all our families, our teachers and our students. All of us are all losing right now. 

We urge all families to continue to pay attention. We urge all families to voice your opinions to our elected school leaders. The School Committee has been communicating directly with all NPS families. If you do not receive Mayor Fuller’s email updates, we urge you to sign up for her emails. Visit the NTA website for communications and bulletins from them. And sign up for individual City Councilor’s emails as well as visit their website for information.

In addition, you can write to people outside of Newton, like:

We’re in an extremely challenging situation and recognize that children need our voice and our help, even while we support teachers and have always seen them as doing crucial work that must be highly valued by our community.