WILMINGTON, MA — The Wilmington Teachers Association recently declared no confidence in the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and its Commissioner Jeff Riley.
The following declaration, signed by the WTA and 104 other educator unions, was released on December 15, 2020 by the Massachusetts Teachers Association:
Members of the Massachusetts Teachers Association have come together across the state to declare that we have no confidence in the judgment or professional leadership capabilities of the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) and its Commissioner Jeff Riley. It is their responsibility to create an environment that ensures the health and safety of all students and educators. It is also their job to create structures that promote educators’ ability to provide the best quality of learning for students.
After surveying our members, we, the elected leaders of our local associations, have overwhelmingly found that Commissioner Riley and DESE have consistently failed to provide high quality administrative leadership, planning, or safe working and learning conditions throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
The overwhelming majority of staff surveyed in our schools across Massachusetts believe that:
- The Commissioner lacks the necessary managerial and leadership skills to manage safely and effectively DESE during the COVID crisis.
- DESE and the Commissioner have failed to sufficiently consider input from individual districts.
- The Commissioner and DESE continue to ignore the ever-growing body of scientific evidence showing the direct correlation between in-person learning and increased transmission rates of COVID-19.
- Commissioner Riley and DESE do not demonstrate the depth of understanding nor the impartial judgment needed to support students, faculty, and families.
Since our working conditions are the students’ learning conditions, we as educators have a responsibility to ensure that our schools are safe. Until Commissioner Riley and DESE decide to listen more carefully and inclusively to health experts and educators from across the state, we will continue to fight for the schools our communities deserve.
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