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Thursday, August 14, 2014

Speaking Up for Caldieri

Having multiple sclerosis myself, I feel outraged by the treatment Debra Caldieri has received (“Bad Times for a Good Teacher,” July 31, 2014). Furthermore, her compassion and mindfulness about Phoebe Prince’s suicide should not be ignored. How sad is it that, in this day and age, we are basically railed against for standing up for the rights of others? There is no “heart and soul” in the organizations that mistreated Caldieri. And shame on us if we simply shake our heads and do nothing to speak against this injustice. We need to speak up and do something to stop it. The world is hurting and we are letting it happen because most are afraid to risk their own behinds. Truth is, your life is meaningless if the lives of others don’t mean anything to you.

 

I regretfully admit that until I read the article about Debra Caldieri in your recent issue, I hadn’t heard of this (former) South Hadley High School teacher. Her situation is more than deplorable. Whatever happened to the students’ needs being a priority in our school systems? It appears that administrators’ (extremely high) salaries come before the needs of the kids. I worked in education. I’m now retired, and I’m glad my children are finished with public school as well. Due to my experience, I felt compelled to write in support of this woman. All I could feel was anger, empathy and compassion when I read her sad story.

One of my first thoughts was, why did this woman pay dues into the Massachusetts Teachers Association only to have them quit on her in her most desperate of times? What good is a union if it doesn’t protect, support and reinstate a teacher with an excellent teaching reputation? Clearly, in South Hadley, Caldieri is a perfect example of “shooting the messenger.” She never should have been fired from the South Hadley teaching staff to begin with. She was speaking up for what was right for her students. Shame on the South Hadley schools and shame on the MTA for allowing her to be fired and not ruling her eligible for work-related disability retirement benefits.

Don’t give up, Caldieri! This world needs more conscientious and loving teachers/citizens like yourself. 

 

Berwick: Best of the Bunch

Of the three Democratic candidates in the Sept. 9 gubernatorial primary, Don Berwick is our best hope for reducing economic disparities, investing in people and businesses, managing an efficient state government and adopting a single-payer health system for Massachusetts. Don is a dreamer and a doer. He dreams of a commonwealth where homeless families are not housed in motels, graduation rates from high schools and institutions of higher learning soar and health care costs are sensible. In the real world, he oversaw numerous improvements to Medicare and led a national effort that reduced the number of avoidable hospital deaths in the U.S. by an estimated 122,000.

Don has the compassion of a pediatrician, the entrepreneurial instincts of a change-maker and the boldness of a great leader. As a pediatrician, he has witnessed the impact of gun violence and poverty on children. Founder of a now-global nonprofit health care organization, he is innovative. He has administrative skills and experience gained by heading the $800 billion Medicare and Medicaid programs.

With his ambitious progressive agenda, Don Berwick is the best candidate to improve our economy and communities and keep Massachusetts moving forward. He needs our vote in the Sept. 9 primary and we need him in the governor’s office.

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