This was sent to the Ramona Unified School District Board members and superintendent.
I am a parent with children in specialized academic programs at Barnett Elementary School and James Dukes Elementary School. I have been observing the proceedings between the Ramona school board and Ramona Teachers Association. In the event of a strike by teachers, the increased class sizes, the potential for less control both in the classroom and on the playgrounds, and the unfamiliarity and awareness of the individual needs of a child by temporary staff put all of the children at risk.
I am especially concerned about the physical, emotional, and academic welfare of the children with special needs, but those same concerns would apply to the general student population. With less classroom and playground supervision, the children with special needs are particularly vunerable to harassment, both physical and emotional, putting them in a high risk environment.
I consider this to be a serious safety issue. I am not willing to put my children in that position, are you?
In addition, teachers and aides have spent eight months working hard to help these children achieve academic, social, and emotional growth. The unstable school and classroom environment that would result from a strike would put these fragile children in serious jeopardy in all of these areas, resulting in potentially significant losses.
While my primary concern about a teachers’ strike is the safety of our children, no one can deny that there are many significant challenges facing educators today. They have spent time, energy, and financial resources pursuing advanced educational degrees and training. Many classroom teachers have multiple degrees and certifications making them a very valuable resource for our precious children. They face the difficult task of, not just giving our children “book learning,” but the tools to be successful in spite of the many challenges facing our children in an ever changing world. Every day they have to deal with the effects on our children in their care resulting from the moral and social challenges of our society.
Read the headlines — Sandy Hook, for example. Our teachers spend six hours, or more, a day with our children, then spend countless more hours a day preparing for the next day. They use their own resources on supplies and materials. It is absurd to thank them by reducing their pay and/or benefits.
The discussions between the school board and the teachers’ union have been long, laborious, and stressful for all parties. The issues are complex. I see valid points on both sides of the table. I have the utmost respect and admiration for the teachers involved in my children’s lives. They have continued to display professionalism in carrying out their responsibilities to our children and in their contact with parents, in spite of what must be very difficult times for them.
You, the members of the school board, also face difficult and trying times. I do not envy any of the parties involved in these negotiations. However, ultimately the children will be the victims of a failure to come to an agreement. You can be assured that, in the event of a strike, I will NOT compromise the physical, emotional, or academic well-being of my children. My children are too precious and so are the teachers who nurture them.
A concerned parent,