To the editor:
My 9-year-old son, Max, is in the third grade at Nathaniel Bowditch Elementary School in Salem.
My son dislikes long written assignments. At the beginning of the school year, I didn't think much about his distaste for written communication. After all, he is a voracious reader with an aptitude for language and oral communication. I thought that his struggle wasn't unique and tried to motivate him to get his work done when he complained about hand pain and fatigue.
At the December conference with Mrs. O'Brien, his third-grade teacher, it became clear to me and my husband that my son's complaints were being taken seriously. Mrs. O'Brien had taken note of Max's complaints and had already begun to implement some strategies to help him.
On her recommendation, we requested an evaluation by the district's SPED department. Now, some months later, Max's written work is completed on a computer and is voluminous, to say the least. Max loves to write and has shown an aptitude for this.
Without Mrs. O'Brien's keen eye and sympathetic ear, Max might have continued to do the bare minimum on assignments with discomfort and struggle. I am writing to not only publicly thank Mrs. O'Brien and the OT, Lisa Ginivisia, for their kindness and dedication to the children of the Salem community, but to speak on a ballot initiative that could hurt educators like them.
The ballot initiative sponsored by Stand for Children, if passed, could make moot all the great work teachers do in and out of the classroom for children. The initiative would create a cumbersome process for teacher evaluation that does not take into account input from the community.
The initiative would undermine teachers' collective-bargaining rights, and is so ill-conceived that it would require changing several state laws just to be enforced.
Voting for the initiative sponsored by the ill-named Stand for Children puts at risk great educators like Mrs. O'Brien, who change the lives of students every single day.
Carly C. McClain