These comments were delivered by MEA President Ben Dick to the Manchester Board of School Committee during tonight’s public comment session.  We publish them unedited.  ~Publis

Dick:  Hammers testing, calls for fair contract

Dick: Hammers testing, calls for fair contract

I may sound a bit repetitive but I’m willing to repeat myself when it comes to something this important.

Every building needs a foundation and for the future of this city the foundation is our teachers. Nothing positive happens in this city that can’t be traced to public education and our teachers. Yet, time and time again we’re being tasked with doing more with less.

In our elementary and middle schools teachers are losing days, sometimes weeks of direct instructional time to assessing students. Often times  these assessments are done one on one without someone there to work with the rest of the class, or the person working with the class isn’t the classroom teacher.

At the middle schools we’ve decimated programs that should serve as a feeder to MST.

At the high schools something that should be routine like asking for a college recommendation can turn into a lockdown. In the priority schools administrators are out of the building more often than not and teachers and staff are left alone.

And for all of these scenarios we’ve been offered the  chance to potentially triple our insurance costs. To potentially suffer significant losses  in overall compensation. This isn’t how you maintain a foundation. This isn’t how you build for the future.

Instead of painting teachers negatively, as some do, we should be praised for succeeding as well as we do considering all of the obstacles we face.   We deserve a fair contract.  The district and the city need to do the right thing and support us in the same way we continue to support the children and the future of this city.