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Seattle Teachers Return to the Classroom After Negotiating Higher Pay, Mandatory Recess

Seattle Teachers Return to the Classroom After Negotiating Higher Pay, Mandatory Recess

Seattle teachers will return to the classroom and school will resume tomorrow after successful negotiations with Seattle Schools ended a week-long strike that kept 53,000 children in Washington's largest school district home.

"Seattle teachers ended a week-long strike and headed to their classrooms Wednesday after winning a 9.5 percent pay raise over three years, mandatory 30-minute recesses for elementary students, a longer school day and more say over standardized tests," said ABC News.

The walk-out largely stemmed from the city's teachers arguing that teacher salaries needed to increase in order to remain competitive with the increasing living expenses of the city.

"Teachers, substitutes and support staff complained that the city's high-paid technology industry had priced them out of living in the city where they teach, especially given that they had gone six years without a cost-of-living increase. The district provided raises totaling 8 percent out of local levy money," the article said.

Many parents, children and other community members threw their support behind the striking teachers during the week-long negotiations.

"The Seattle City Council also threw its support behind the striking educators, passing a resolution Monday recognizing the union."

The week-long strike has similarities to the Chicago Teacher Union's strike of 2012, where 350,000 of the city's public school students were kept home as teachers fought for similar demands and highlighted the desire for national education reform.

Similarly to the Seattle teachers, Chicago teachers demanded increased pay and decreased emphasis on standardized testing, plus fair methods of evaluating teachers.

In addition to highlighting the need for large-scale reform, the Chicago strike also highlighted the diverse opinions on supporting striking teachers.

Said Mitt Romney during the 2012 strike:

"I am disappointed by the decision of the Chicago Teachers Union to turn its back on not only a city negotiating in good faith but also the hundreds of thousands of children relying on the city's public schools to provide them a safe place to receive a strong education. Teachers unions have too often made plain that their interests conflict with those of our children, and today we are seeing one of the clearest examples yet."

But from an anonymous Chicago teacher's perspective, the strike takes on a very different meaning.

"I am protesting because teachers have not been included in school reform talks, and sadly the only way to get our voices heard has been to strike. In the long run it will hurt our students more to give up this fight."

Seattle teachers will return to school with their demands met- and another city's teachers will be taken care of through push and shove-for now. Another city with a different population of fed-up teachers is only a matter of time as they fight for the reform that legislation is neglecting.

Read the full story and comment with your thoughts below.

Article by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor


Do you support Seatte's striking teachers and their demands from their district?

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