Hundreds of parents, teachers, students and concerned citizens circled around the Boston Public School’s district office to rally for teacher contract negotiations they say will help improve schools.
“We need to speak the truth about our broken school system,” said Rosalinda Mindence, a student support staff member at Boston Day and Evening Academy. “I see the day-to-day struggle our students go through and our teachers can’t provide what they need, they don’t have the resources. Do we call this equality and justice in education… how can we support students if we aren’t supported or heard?”
More than 7,500 BPS teachers have been working without a contract since August 2018.
“There is a lot of agreement to improve our schools, the disagreement is how to best improve them,” Boston Teachers Union President Jessica Tang said. “This is a reaffirmation of our solidarity and support of what we’re fighting for and show of unity for what we believe in.”
Protesters with noise-makers, megaphones, banners and signs said they want improved special education inclusion, full-time nurses and counselors in every school, a livable wage for teachers, a reduction in homelessness problems for students and more.
“I will use my voice with hope to be listened to by the people who have the hope of our children in their hands,” said Yordania Paulino, a parent of a Blackstone Elementary School student. “Our children deserve an education for a better future.”
“Aren’t you alarmed by the lack of help for students?” Kathleen Alvarez, a student at the Snowden International School, asked the crowd at the rally. “If you care about BPS kids you need to care about their physical, mental health and care about the best opportunities to give them. Education is a right, not a privilege.”
“I’m concerned about the lack of respect for what we educators do every day, about how we go above and beyond,” said one Jamaica Plain teacher who didn’t wish to give her name. “I don’t think the superintendent or the School Committee know the full scope of what we do for students.”
“Teaching is a craft and to me, it’s a science.”
During the protest, the School Committee was inside holding a meeting.
In a statement released by the district, Interim Superintendent Laura Perille said BPS was adding more than $3 million in additional funds to support the city’s schools in fiscal year 2020. “Boston Public Schools remains committed to finalizing a contract with the Boston Teachers Union.”
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