Friday 2 February 2024

Parent Frustration Mounting Over Boston Area Teachers’ Nearly Two-Week Illegal Strike

 Parents near Boston are becoming increasingly frustrated with the local teachers union, which has been on strike for nearly two weeks, keeping kids out of classrooms.

Public school teachers in Newton, just west of Boston, have been on an illegal strike for 1o days as of Thursday. The union, the Newton Teachers Association, is under the National Education Association.

Massachusetts law prohibits public school teachers to strike, and the union has already racked up at least $525,000 in fines.

At least two families with children in Newton schools have filed two lawsuits over the strike.

One couple who sued said their daughter has a learning disability and is suffering emotional distress from being out of the classroom.

The other lawsuit was filed by a mother who says her 10th-grader is facing some setbacks this year and that missing regular assistance in reading, writing, and math could jeopardize her chances of college acceptance. The mom also said her children have missed part of the hockey season and activities with the ski team club.

A dad of two middle and high school students told WBUR, “we feel like our children are suffering significant harm as a result of an illegal strike and the law is in place for a reason.” He added that he and his wife cannot stay home from work.

However, some parents have expressed support for the teachers, one mom saying she stands with the educators “ten-thousand percent.”

The teachers union is demanding more pay, smaller classes, more social workers in schools, and a 12-week parental leave policy.


On Tuesday, the school district was offering pay increase from $62,000 salaries to more than $81,000 by 2027 for some teachers. The average teacher pay in Newton is roughly $93,000, based on data from the 2020 school year.

Earlier in the week, the Newton City Council called on the teachers to accept a new salary contract and end the strike.

“This strike has to end. We need to get our kids back in the classroom, and we need to do it now,” City Council President Marc Laredo saidTuesday at a press conference, adding that children “are suffering.”

“It makes me question whether the union really wants a deal,” Newton School Committee Chair Christopher Brezski said at a separate press conference. “It makes me question what this strike is really about. Is it about Newton’s kids and teachers? Is it about money? Or is it about some other bigger agenda, one where our kids are being used as pawns?”

The Newton school district enrolls 12,000 students in more than 20 schools.

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