As a mom of three sons; one in Middle School, one entering Kindergarten in September and a blissfully oblivious one year-old child, the public education system is something we think about often in our household. My oldest son has been in the school system for about seven years now and has been through a lot.

There have been more tears and struggle over classwork and homework than we could ever have imagined. He is a bright, social kid and an eager learner. He entered school right when the Common Core Standards were put in place, all of the testing and assessments were implemented and that changed everything. If it were not for his teachers who have helped him despite these educationally unsound reforms, there is no underestimating how difficult the school experience has become for him and for us, his parents.

Sadly, I am afraid, teachers in this town are not being supported. It seems every year we are looking to cut staff. It seems every time there are contracts up for negotiation, the BOE delays and stalls. It is not only about them instructing students on whatever subject they are trained to teach.

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When your child is upset about losing their lunch money, who do you think they go to? (And who do you think probably covers them?) When they forgot their sneakers for gym and are afraid to call you because you’ll be mad, who do you think they talk to?

Teachers are in a unique position in our kids lives so much so that when they are GOOD they need to be KEPT. When they are in danger of losing their jobs, they need to be fought for. Often, THEY can’t fight for themselves OR their fellow teachers.

They have no voice in this because they NEED their jobs – and we need them to keep them. PARENTS are the only ones that can make ANY difference.

Writing a letter, speaking to the board, posting on social media to show your support – it all helps. SHOW them how much you really care about them and don’t be afraid to speak up.

Chryselle Angderson can use that right now. It may NOT help… but it certainly won’t hurt. Educate yourself. BE involved in this conversation. It certainly benefits you and if you use your voice it can ONLY benefit them.

Ask about it. Question it. Learn about the contract situation. Research PARCC testing and what it does to their class time. KNOW what they are going through and SPEAK UP when you can.

Everyone is busy, of COURSE, but it is THAT important.

Thank you, Jen Grana