Letter To The Editor: Respect For Professionalism And Expertise In Education Is Key In Local Race


To the Editor,

I feel compelled to write this letter upon returning home from my kindergartener’s spring concert at Manchester Memorial this morning.  As her class proudly belted out “This Little Light of Mine”, I couldn’t help but think that all the light in that room was shining on not only the kids, but their teachers.  The pride in the eyes of Mr. Willis and the faculty of MMES brought tears to my eyes. 

We are incredibly lucky to have such a loving group of adults teach our children.

I want to take this opportunity to not only publicly express my feelings of admiration for the work that the educators in Manchester do on behalf of our children, but I also want to encourage each and every resident of Manchester to make a thoughtful choice in who represents the interests of our children and their teachers on the School Committee in the upcoming election.  I am grateful to all of the candidates who have devoted time and energy to run for this important local office.  However, I want to implore each candidate not to fall victim to our current reactionary and uninformed tendencies by politicizing the power and position of the School Committee in Manchester and Essex. 

I speak not only from the perspective of a parent, but as a public educator with 20 years of experience.  Over the last two years, our public schools, namely the teachers who work in them, have had to assume so much more responsibility than teaching kids to read, write and do math problems (already an incredible feat).  Our educators are now often scrutinized and wrongly attacked for curricular choices, what books are in the school library, and for taking measures in order to keep kids and adults healthy and safe.  Our School Committee leadership MUST understand that their role is one that does not interfere with the professional judgments of educators, but to help our superintendent reach her goals so that she can do the hard work that is required of an instructional leader. 

When teachers are well supported and working in a positive school climate, research shows that kids reach higher levels of achievement.

I ask our community to uphold a basic standard in whichever candidates you vote for on election day: a commitment to fostering a caring and respectful culture.  We must select representatives that are dedicated to allowing the educators of Manchester and Essex schools to teach our children without political rhetoric, motivation or distraction.  According to the Massachusetts Department of Education, “The School Committee monitors progress toward attainment of evaluation goals through the Superintendent’s Annual Plan, which identifies the key actions, timelines, and benchmarks for each goal set, and the Superintendent’s reports of progress.” 

Dr. Beaudoin has done a superb job leading our district through immensely difficult times, with uncertainty around every corner.  She has been honest, transparent, reflective, fair, and communicative. 

School Committees do not run, or even lead the district’s vision.  That work should be left to the experts.

Sarah Stone


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