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Childcare challenges mount for Newton parents as teachers’ strike continues

Orlando Christian
Children get lifted onto shoulders to get a better view of the protest speakers at the NTA rally Saturday, Jan. 28.

Parents and teachers in Newton are grappling with the task of arranging childcare as a result of the Newton Teachers Association (NTA) strike, which started Friday, Jan. 19, leading to school cancellations.

“The strike is impacting everybody,” said Spanish teacher Ana Tellado-Schiff. “We have a lot of teachers who have kids who go to North.”

The strike resulted from an impasse between the NTA and Newton School Committee over the terms of the teacher’s contract. During the strike, all 15 Newton Public Schools (NPS) have been shut down. These school closures have left parents of young children in NPS without a stable source of childcare.

“Some parents have been trying to figure out last-minute things. Some parents had to stay home. Some parents have traded childcare, and people swapping a few hours here against a few hours there. I’ve seen a lot of things going on,” said Karen Waigner, a parent of four NPS elementary schoolers.

A variety of local organizations including churches, synagogues, YMCAs, and Boy and Girls Clubs have offered childcare during the strike.

“There was a great deal of grassroots support that was being shared,” said Moira O’Connell, a Newton parent.

Amid the strike, parents are resorting to hiring babysitters, often tapping into Newton high schoolers who are also experiencing canceled classes. Junior Ma’ayan Rosenbaum, who is babysitting during the strike, said she noticed an increase in demand since the union initiated picketing.

“I’ve had every parent I’ve ever worked for call me about childcare because people need to work,” said Rosenbaum. “I know almost all the girls in my child development class have been babysitting,” she added.

Many parents have remained in support of striking teachers despite the disruption school closures have caused for them, according to Waigner.

“There’s been a lot of understanding for the teachers. I’ve seen both sides, but there are a lot of people who are angry about the strike and yet still love their teachers and want the best for them,” Waigner added.

According to Rosenbaum, “Having kids at home has reminded parents how valuable a teacher’s job is.”

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Aaron Spetter-Goldstein
Aaron Spetter-Goldstein, Features and opinions managing editor
Orlando Christian
Orlando Christian, Photo Staff
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