Friday, September 11, 2015


This blog gives full support for the Seattle teachers who are on strike as well as the teachers in Pasco, Washington.

Here are the major issues in Seattle taken right from the Seattle Education Association website:

While negotiations began in May, major unresolved issues haven’t changed, and the Seattle School Board has failed to offer acceptable proposals on these priorities:
  • Professional pay: We need to attract and keep caring, qualified educators in Seattle, which is one of the most expensive cities in the United States. We’ve gone six years with no state COLA and five years with no state increase in funding for educator health care.
  • Fair teacher and staff evaluations: Educators should be evaluated fairly and consistently, and the focus should be on providing the support all educators need to be successful
  • Reasonable testing: Too much standardized testing is stealing time away from classroom learning.
  • Educator workload relief: Current workloads mean many students aren’t getting the help they need.
  • Student equity around discipline and the opportunity gap:We need to focus on equity issues in every school, not just some.
  • The administration’s proposal to make teachers work more for free: It is unrealistic to expect teachers to work more hours without additional pay, and the district administration has been unable to explain how their proposal would help students.

There must be something in the water in the northwest as the teachers in Pasco, Washington are also on strike. They are defying a court order to return to work leading to fines each day. 

Here in NY we hear over and over how we can't go on strike because the Taylor Law would force us to be fined.

Wouldn't it be nice to work in a school system where teachers and our union were not afraid of engaging in a job action if necessary?  


Anonymous said...

2870 miles away, but reading their priorities list, one can't help but marvel at how closely they track with ours. Could we get the SEA to write copy for our union's newsletter? Better yet, could we import Jesse Hagopian, and persuade him to run against Mulgrew?

James Eterno said...

They want higher pay and a more favorable teaching environment. This is considered extreme these days. Washington is way ahead of NY.

Anonymous said...

To anon 10AM. Jesss Hagopian represents a movement and is not just acting as an individual. We need to understand that - things don't start with the individual - the individual is empowered by the movement.

Anonymous said...

You need people to start a movement. I don't want to get involved is not a movement. The teachers in Seattle have enough confidence in their union and its leadership to walk off the job. They don't here in NY.

Anonymous said...

To anon 1:41: I agree that our membership suffers from apathy and inertia (and perhaps a touch of mental incapacity) but if no credible opponent steps up to challenge the present UFT leadership, we run the risk of having this same conversation (and quandary) three years from now. We certainly don't have confidence in our leadership, except for a high degree of certainty that they will sell us out "for a seat at the table" (and Lord knows what else.)

ed notes online said...

I disagree Anon 11:46 - it is not about a credible opponent but about building from the school levels up to challenge Unity every day, every month, every year, not every 3 years. As long as Unity has chapter leaders and other people in the majority of the schools without anyone to push back the elections every 3 years reflect that fact. Look at some of the school standing up to support Seattle - not very many but some signs that something is stirring at the rank and file level in schools where there are people to raise these points and engage in an active refutation of the distorted world Unity is selling where they are blameless.

Anonymous said...

I'm not saying that grassroots challenges aren't valuable, only that a visible and viable alternative to Unity would provide a context in which a dispirited rank and file could begin to move forward.

Anonymous said...

Norm--If Jia is the candidate and given we have footage of her Washington, DC testimony, that could put it over the top.

James--you left out some very important social justice factors that were part of the Seattle teachers negotiations besides testing. This is one contract where students and parents win too!! (see Ravitch for more info).