2015-09-17 / Opinion

Poor Decision Making

To the Editor:

The last time I sent in a letter, I was writing predominantly as a teacher and a member of the Teachers' Association of Newport's negotiating team. Tonight I write as an irate parent. At the Newport School Committee meeting on Wednesday, Sept. 16, when a third grade classroom should have been opened, already seven school days late, no public comment was allowed. There were many teachers present, but more importantly, there were many tax paying parents of Newport. Upon sending the meeting into executive session, one parent begged the audience to stay so she could speak to us. She spoke passionately about her disappointment in Newport Public Schools, especially as it relates to class size at Pell Elementary.

What was even more disturbing was that after most of the people inattendance had dispersed, I remained talking to several other parents.

They admitted that they were struggling with the decision of whether to put their house on the market or stick it out in Newport. At least seven other families that they know chose to relocate in the past year. This was disturbing to hear. I remember a time when the School Committee wanted exit interviews with families who pulled out of the district. I am willing to bet that they don't want them anymore. The truth might shed some light on what many of us already know.

The most infuriating part of this conversation with the group of parents is that I work every day with teachers who go above and beyond to give students the best education they can. Teachers who care about the families of Newport! As a parent, I have always advocated for families to stay in town and give our schools a try. Selfishly, I want my children to have classmates that come from families with the same values as mine.

Teachers are what have kept so many families in Newport! Now all of this other nonsense by our superintendent and several members of the School Committee is turning people off.

My son starts kindergarten next year and my daughter will be a junior at Rogers. I pray that my faith in the teachers of Newport will win out over the poor decision making of some of our elected officials.

Melissa Turner


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