SEA Members alert:
WHAT: SEA General Membership Meeting to vote on a tentative agreement or to vote on a strike
WHEN: Sept. 3, registration begins at 3PM. Meeting starts at 5PM.
WHERE: Benaroya Hall, Third & University, Downtown Seattle
SEA will provide bus transportation again. The link for signing up will be sent out via email and posted here and on the SEA Facebook page.
Rally for Recess and Equity
Hundreds of SEA members, parents and students turned out for Thursday’s Rally for Recess and Equity. We had media coverage from newspapers, magazines, radio stations and TV stations. Our message to the Seattle School District administration was clear: Negotiate a contract that focuses on the needs of students, including guaranteed recess and equity teams in every school. Read the KUOW story.
“Recess is an equity issue,” said speaker Michael Tamayo, a Leschi teacher and SEA Bargaining Team member. “Low-income schools have less recess than other schools. All students should have equal amounts of recess...period!”
Bargaining Team member Elspeth Trejo-Savani, a speech language pathologist, spoke about ESA workloads and the impact on students who don’t get the support they need.
Bargaining continues today, but we’re still far apart on many key issues. At our SEA general membership meeting Monday night, we agreed to an action plan that includes picketing on Wednesday, Sept. 2. We’ll be picketing after the workday at the high schools. (Elementary and middle-school members will picket at the high school their schools feed into.)
We need a strong showing on Sept. 2, just like we did during the May 19 one-day walkout. We have a training for school picket captains on Monday, and you should watch for details.
A great show of support for Kids, Parents and the community, hundreds of Seattle educators, parents and kids attended a “Rally for Recess and Equity” 11 am Aug. 27 at Leschi Elementary.
The “Rally for Recess and Equity” focused on the lack of adequate recess time at many Seattle elementary schools, disproportionate student discipline and other equity issues related to the opportunity gap among Seattle students. The Seattle Education Association (SEA) organized the rally.
In contract negotiations with SEA, the Seattle School Board has rejected SEA proposals to create equity teams at every Seattle school and to guarantee 45 minutes of recess for all elementary students.
If for some reason you're missing the Bargaining Update emails we've been sending out, click on the "Bargaining" tab above and scroll down for links to all 9 of the updates we've sent out so far.
Fighting for you and a good contract!
Citing concerns about workload, special education, equity, and the erosion of pay and benefits, the SEA executive board has officially requested to open bargaining with the school district in advance of the expiration of all three of our contracts on August 31st.
In an April 6th letter to SPS superintendent Larry Nyland, the SEA board cited the important role that collective bargaining plays for students:
“Our working conditions are our students’ learning conditions. Mutual understanding of our interestsprovides a basis to ensure that our students’ learning conditions are the best that they can be, and that the dignity and contributions of all educators – paraprofessional, office professionals and certificated staff – are recognized and valued.”
While we are still analyzing our record-breaking number of bargaining surveys returned, several top issues clearly have emerged, and the Board previewed those for the superintendent:
“We look forward to working with you to address our workload concerns; the erosion of our pay and benefits; the ongoing struggle to provide quality special education, including acceptable ESA caseloads; the substitute shortage; and an evaluation system that still falls short of fostering a growth mindset.
We also look forward to finding constructive approaches to eliminating disproportionate disciplining of students of color and narrowing the opportunity gap overall, which includes increasing social supports for students and engagement of families; as well finding ways to reduce the impact of standardized testing on instructional time and school culture while supporting best practices in assessment.”
The state legislature has yet to settle on a final budget. That budget as well as pending legislation covering everything from evaluations to health benefits will all have to be factored into our bargaining. The first day of bargaining is set for May 20. The full text of the SEA Board’s letter to Nyland can be found here.
On Tuesday January 27, 2015 SEA member Rachelle Moore testified in front of the U.S. Senate Education Committee about ESEA reauthorization. Rachelle teaches 1st grade at Madrona K-8, is a mentor teacher in the Seattle Teacher Residency, and is National Board certified. She was the only witness to testify who is a public school teacher.
Thank You to Senator Patty Murray for working with us to get a teacher voice in front of the committee.
Check out Rachelle’s testimony here.
"McCleary" lawyer Tom Ahearne (above, left) gave a great presentation Tues. evening on the meaning of the "McCleary" decision and on the implications for the upcoming legislative session. Also presenting was Andy Nicholas (second from right) of the Washington Budget and Policy Center about the inadequacy of Washington's revenue system. The event was co-sponsored by SEA, the Seattle Council PTSA (Eden Mack, right), and the League of Women Voters of Seattle. Great turnout!