Educators say: “We are the heart of public education”
Educators in several Western Massachusetts districts sported t-shirts with the message, “Teachers are the heart of education,” on Valentine’s Day to call attention to the difficult times facing teachers and others working in public education.
In the Adams-Cheshire School District, Adams-Cheshire Teachers Association President Aaron Dean said ACTA members wore the t-shirts not only “as a show of pride for our organization and our profession, but also to bring attention to the fact that we have been working without a contract for the second year in a row.”
Lee Education Association President Ginger Armstrong said teachers and paraprofessionals in her school district wore the t-shirts to show solidarity with other teacher association members across the county.
“Each town and school district has its own set of hurdles to overcome,” Armstrong said. “On Valentine’s Day we wanted to make the point that educators are the heart of schools everywhere.”
The teachers and staff of the Williamstown Education Association wore the “Teachers are the heart of education” t-shirts when they delivered food to the Williamstown Food Pantry, which is located at the Saints Patrick & Raphael Parish on Southworth Street. WEA members began a collection drive at the beginning of February after learning that the pantry is in serious need of food. This is the second time the Williamstown educators have organized a food drive for the pantry this year. Earlier in the school year, preK-through-sixth-grade teachers, along with their students, gathered food to help area families in need. The WEA, along with members of the Mount Greylock Educators Association, delivered donated food and a check to the pantry on Valentine's Day.
“When we learned a few weeks ago that the shelves at the food pantry were sparse, we decided to make a Valentine's gift to the food pantry so that it could continue to assist families in need,” said WEA activist Fern Murtagh, who organized the food drive. “We wore t-shirts that send the message that we are not only the ‘heart of education,’ but that our hearts are in our communities as well.”
Across the country, teachers, education professionals and education support professionals wore red on February 14 to show their support for their students and public education. The “Wear Red for Public Ed” campaign began as a one-day event a few weeks ago and has grown into a weekly movement.
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