The strike, over issues that include pay raises, is the first labor-related disruption of classes in 30 years
There's no school in Seattle for a fourth day Monday as a strike by teachers enters its second week.
The strike, over issues that include pay raises and the length of the school day, has delayed the start of the public school year for about 53,000 students.
The strike marked the first labor-related disruption of classes in three decades for the largest public education system in the Pacific Northwest. The action follows a series of strikes this spring, when thousands of Washington teachers in more than 60 school districts demanded better pay and benefits as well as reductions in class sizes. Unlike most of the other districts, teachers in Seattle and Pasco did not reach contract deals and went on strike.
Representatives for both sides in the Seattle dispute met separately with state mediators during the first three days of the strike, which began on Sept. 9, but face-to-face talks between the parties did not resume until Saturday.
The two negotiating teams returned to the bargaining table on Sunday.
Seattle's teachers went six years without a cost-of-living raise after the Washington Legislature failed to come up with money for them, but the district said it provided raises totaling 8 percent out of local levy money. The paltry raises have made it tough to live in Seattle, where the cost of living has been rising due in part to the influx of highly paid tech workers, many teachers say.
Teacher salaries in Seattle range from about $44,000 to more than $86,000 for more experienced educators with advanced degrees.
The tech boom means the median price of King County single-family homes sold in June climbed to $500,000, up 10.3 percent from a year ago, according to figures released Monday by the Northwest Multiple Listing Service and reported by the Seattle Times.
The district says it has offered raises totaling 14 percent over three years, but it also wants to extend the school day by 20 minutes, arguing that Seattle has one of the shortest instructional days of any district in the state, at 6 hours and 10 minutes.
The Seattle Education Association faulted the district for waiting until mid-August to introduce the proposal and said it would essentially have forced the teachers to work that extra time for free.
A letter in support of Seattle Public School teachers by Parents Across America, Puget Sound
A letter in support of Seattle Public School teachers
To the teachers and staff who work tirelessly everyday in our schools, teaching our children, the next generation of citizens in our country, many times in physical conditions that are not optimum for teachers or students, whose classes are many times beyond what a teacher can manage by themselves, with little to no money for adequate materials, who sometimes, because of a lack of classroom space, must take their lessons with them on a cart from room to room, who sometimes must take on the role of counselor or nurse because there is no money for trained staff and yet are evaluated by student’s standardized test scores which have little or no relationship to curriculum students are taught, we stand with you.
You have gone six years without a cost of living increase and no increase in educator health care as healthcare costs continue to rise.
You’ve been assaulted by high stakes standardized testing, which narrows and dumbs-downthe curriculum and robs students of essential instructional time.
You have been asked to work additional hours without pay by the district.
You have bargained in good faith and now are striking for your members, for your students and the broader community.
Your requests are reasonable:
A pay raise after six years with no cost of living increase.
Guaranteed student recess for all students: Recess time varies wildly across the district, and we believe all students benefit from a guaranteed amount of time for play and exercise.
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.
Office professional workload relief: Office professionals do crucial work and play many roles – and they should be compensated for the extra work they do.
Student equity around discipline and the opportunity gap.
If millions of dollars can be spent on buying yearly contracts for a battery of useless standardized tests along with the costs of buying computers and paying IT staff to install costly systems and hiring data experts for each school,the Seattle School District can find the financial resources to support all of the educators’ proposals;
Parents Across America Puget Sound stands in support of the teachers and the Seattle Education Association contract proposals and also acknowledges appreciation of both School Board Director Sue Peters’ opposition and the opposition of City Councilmembers Licata, Okamoto and Sawant to Superintendent Nyland’s legal threat against Seattle educators;
Parents Across America Puget Sound appreciates your vision and your sacrifice.
Like paragliders caught in a downdraft, test scores of many once high-flying charter schools plummeted on state results released last week.
Even more so than their public-school counterparts' tests, a number of charter schools' scores took a nosedive. Now schools are scrambling to examine why.
Among them is Rocketship Education, which has attracted generous high-tech funding and national attention for its success with the hardest-to-educate students, but now is grappling with some test scores no better than those of surrounding schools. Just-released scores from tests taken last spring show Rocketship's nine elementary schools in San Jose generally performed from poor to middling in both English and math. At its flagship Mateo Sheedy school, once the third-highest performing in the state among elementary schools serving low-income children, just 36 percent of students met or exceeded English standards, and 44 percent met or exceeded math standards.
"We are all still trying to understand the numbers," spokesman David Kuizenga said. The charter organization's own analysis, he said, showed that last school year, students averaged 1½ years of academic growth, consistent with its pattern over several years. But, Kuizenga added, "we certainly have a lot of work to do."
Likewise, English proficiency scores at Aspire Public Schools, which also targets poor children, were 48 percent at its California College Preparatory Academy, which moved this year from Berkeley to Richmond, and 38 percent at Lionel Wilson Academy in Oakland -- and those were the highest in Aspire's Bay Area network. At the bottom, Aspire's Triumph California charter school scores dive - ContraCostaTimes.com:
EDUCATION: Should ethnic studies be high school requirement?
A group of Inland professors, students, and community organizers says yes, and is beginning a campaign in local districts.
A group of Inland professors, students, and community organizers want school districts in the area to offer ethnic studies classes as a high school graduation requirement.
They’re beginning their campaign with San Bernardino City Unified and will then make their proposal to districts in Colton, Rialto, Fontana, Riverside, and Moreno Valley.
Ethnic studies could encompass a range in curriculum from Asian American and Chicano studies to African-American and gender issues.
The push for ethnic studies in the Inland Empire follows legislation passed by the state Assembly on Wednesday, Sept. 9, that would develop a model ethnic studies curriculum for optional use statewide. The bill now heads to the governor.
Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez, R-Lake Elsinore, and senators Mike Morrell, R-Rancho Cucamonga, and Jeff Stone, R-Temecula, have voted against the bill.
“I’m a strong advocate of local control and don’t believe Sacramento should be dictating what school districts teach,” Morrell said in a statement Friday, Sept. 11. “Ethnic studies classes are already offered at schools throughout the state. It’s a decision best left in their hands.”
One Inland advocate, though, said ethnic studies could help address issues affecting Inland Chicano youth such as gang violence and low graduation rates by helping students become more aware of their identity.
“One of the things ethnic studies programs do is help students reconnect with their identity, particularly Chicano students with their indigenous identity and their heritage,” said Mary Valdemar, co-founder of the Chicano Indigenous Community for Culturally Conscious Advocacy and Action in Colton.
Cerf whacks the Newark schools, boosts the bureaucrats loyal to Cami
Christopher Cerf, the state-imposed superintendent of the Newark district, may be stripping public schools of teachers, programs, services and support staff—but he is building up the bureaucratic hierarchy to reward loyal supporters of the now discredited Cami Anderson, Cerf’s appointee and predecessor.
The state administration of the cash-strapped Newark schools now two new deputy superintendents, a new “director of operations,” and a dozen or more special assistants whose positions duplicate those of existing administrators. Cerf also has brought back a close friend and aide (and apparent landlord) to Anderson—De’Shawn Wright—to an unspecified position apparently paid for by private funds so it doesn’t appear in the public record.
Of course, Brittany Chord Parmley, the chief spokeswoman for the Cerf administration, won’t provide any details on the bureaucratic build-up but the new positions have been confirmed by sources at 2 Cedar Street.
The appointments not only demonstrate the state’s indifference to the children of the city who must now suffer the consequences of a $15 million budget cut imposed by Cerf, but they also show the new superintendent, a private business entrepreneur and charter promoter who served as state education commissioner, has no intention of relinquishing state control any time soon.
“Cancel your subscription to the Seattle Times” parent campaign is on
The majority of people I speak to are thoroughly disgusted with the Times and its biased editorials and selection of topics headlined that seem to reflect the opinion of the moneyed few rather than providing real information.
Now parents of students in Seattle Public Schools are fighting mad about the one-sided reporting and editorializing of the teachers’ strike and they are taking action.
Several parents I have come across in the first week of the Seattle teachers’ strike on various Facebook pages have stated they have cancelled their subscriptions to the Seattle Times and are urging others to do so as well.
Op-Ed: SBAC test is part of corporate plan to discredit Connecticut public schools
Our founders recognized that the fundamental purpose of government is to protect the rights of the people. The Declaration of Independence reads in pertinent part “…A]ll men are created equal… they are endowed…with certain unalienable rights…That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed…”
How, then, does the State of Connecticut justify the obstacles and roadblocks it has erected to prevent parents from exercising the right to opt their children out of corporate-backed standardized testing?
Easy. It doesn’t. It puts them in place and arrogantly dares anyone to defy them. And it doesn’t expect many parents to challenge the test anyway.
Why aren’t more parents alarmed by these for-profit corporate-sponsored tests? Largely because they trust their public schools and local elected officials to notify them of threats to their children’s welfare.
Sadly, most superintendents, boards of education and even the teachers’ unions are letting parents and schoolchildren down by not informing them of the pernicious nature of the SBAC (Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium) test.
For example, most parents don’t realize that the FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act) was amended to allow the corporations behind SBAC to use the test for data mining. Children’s data is no longer protected by federal law.
Additionally, the cut scores which determine passing rates have been arbitrarily set to ensure that about 60 percent of those taking the language arts test will fail and the failure rate for the math portion will be about 70 percent.
Not content with labeling schools and teachers as failures in order to advance its agenda, the corporate reform movement (actively abetted by Gov. Dannel Malloy and the State Board of Education) callously plans to attach the label to children.
Mastery test results should be used to measure progress and show teachers where support is needed to promote student success, not to brand children as failures.
In New York, and other states, test results have caused outrage after the fact and resulted in strong coalitions of parents and teachers opposed to toxic testing. Superintendents, administrators and teacher unions know this. Why are they silent? Why are so many of them willing tools in the state’s plan to thwart the right of parents to opt out? They should be challenged on that point until a satisfactory answer is provided.
The real purpose of the SBAC test is to buttress the corporate mantra of “failed public schools” in order to advance their case for the privatization of education. Rupert Murdoch put it bluntly in 2010 when he said “When it comes to K through 12 education, we see a $500 billion sector in the U.S. alone…”
That figure comes in part from test support materials, software and new textbooks aligned with the Common Core, but much of it will come from the expansion of charter schools.
Today, Connecticut is dumping $100 million dollars of taxpayer money into charter schools every year with little to no oversight and the governor’s proposed budget contains funding for an additional four. At the same time, magnet schools have gone unfunded and the state is doing everything in its power to dismiss or delay the CCJEF (Connecticut Coalition for Justice in Education Funding) vs. Rell case which would require the state to honor its obligation to adequately fund public schools, an obligation which it has never met.
The SBAC is one aspect of a larger scheme which, at its core, is about corporate greed, not the welfare of children. I urge parents to investigate this issue for themselves and to opt their children out of the SBAC if they have concerns. A sample opt-out letter can be downloaded from this website: Walshminnick2015.org.
The change we seek in education too often seems like a game of inches.
If we truly believe in two sides of education reform (I don’t, but let’s go with that for now), one side seems to get most of the big players, complex plays, the largest stadiums, and folks to fix the rules for them. The other side relies mainly on running plays and, when united, can get a few points here and there. The common person (that’s us) is that latter team. Sadly, every inch towards progress seems to detonate another mass offensive against us. Want to close the funding gap between poor and rich districts? Create private schools so rich folks can pay for only rich kids to go and keep the funding gap disparate. Want to desegregate schools? Undercut funding for those programs and create false narratives through the media. Want to opt out of over-standardized testing? Pretend to care and launch bills that assure only the more wealthy districts can opt out of those tests.
Divide. Conquer. Win-win-win, except only the winning team keeps winning.
Which reminds me. Chris Lehmann and Zac Chase, friends to the program, came out with a book recently that I’ve endorsed entitled Building School 2.0: How to Create the Schools We Need. You should know how long this stew took to brew, and you should also know how much I admire their thinking, even when we disagree. And we disagree like 2% of the time. Zac is more a bow tie Chris Lehmann, Zac Chase, and the Game of Inches | The Jose Vilson:
Seattle Public School families, please join Special Ed teachers, ESAs, students and families to tell the district we won't allow them to divide us against one another. Wear red and bring signs that speak to our need for lower caseloads for our ESAs and better staffing ratios for our ACCESS students! Let them know we care about educating ALL our students and want to set our teachers up to succeed. Also tomorrow, Monday, September 14th at JSCEE from 8 am to noon: Join us for this district wide time of community as we gather to show Dr. Nyland and the School Board that we will not be subject to their familiar tactics of divide and conquer. We are a team with our teachers and SEA. We demand nothing less from Dr. Nyland and the board. We want him at the table, negotiating as a professional, not threatening and game playing, no more bait and switch, come to the table and settle the issues from MAY. A fair and equitable contract, nothing else will do.
We will gather PEACEFULLY. Bring food, chalk, bubbles, musical instruments, crafts, books, paper, markers etc. School is IN. Wear your red! Come be in community and solidarity with other families as we send Dr. Nyland a message. Let's show him that we are fierce and that we will not back down. Our teachers have given us a huge gift. OPPORTUNITY. We can't let them down, we can't let our children down. Stay all day, stay for an hour. But please come. Consider using Metro if you have transit friendly kiddos! Or light rail, or car pool. Otherwise give yourself time to park. There is a slight chance of rain. Bring rain gear, tarps, canopies, tents if you have them. Questions? Message me or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Editor's note: You will not be allowed into JSCEE so you will be outside on the lawn area. Also, parking can sometimes be tough in the front but there is a back parking lot that the public can use. There is to be some kind of rally (I think by SEA) on Tuesday, September 15th but I have no details.Seattle Schools Community Forum: Seattle Teachers Strike Activities:
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Teaching In America: 'Only The Strong Will Survive' : NPR: Teaching In America: 'Only The Strong Will Survive'Last week was supposed to be the first week of school for students in Seattle, Washington. Instead it was the beginning of a teachers' strike. Negotiators are at a standoff over wages and performance evaluations.In 2012, Chicago's public school teachers went on strike, leaving the city's 3
Florida's Charter Schools: Unsupervised Map — SunSentinel.com:FLORIDA'S CHARTER SCHOOLSUNSUPERVISEDTaxpayers, students lose when school operators exploit weak lawsSCHOOL'S OUT FOREVERIn the past five years, 56 South Florida charter schools have closed, expelling thousands of students. Five charter schools in Broward and Palm Beach counties didn't survive three months. Read the investigation.Source
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