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Seattle Teachers Vote to Strike, Potentially Delay School Year if District Won't Negotiate

Seattle Teachers Vote to Strike, Potentially Delay School Year if District Won't Negotiate

In Seattle Public Schools, 53,000 students might have a delayed start to this school year after Seattle teachers unanimously agreed to go on strike this Wednesday should an agreement between the two not be made.

Since May, the Seattle Education Association and the Seattle School District have met upwards of 20 times to try to negotiate on the following issues to no avail, according to King5.com:

  • Professional pay
  • Guaranteed student recess
  • Fair teacher evaluations
  • Reasonable testing
  • Student equity around discipline and the opportunity gap
  • The district's proposal to make teachers work more for free

Competitive wage is a major issue between the SEA and SPS.

"The Seattle Education Association (SEA) bargaining team proposed a raise of 18 percent over three years, down from the originally proposed 21 percent over the same time period. The increase would be in addition to the state-authorized 3 percent cost-of-living raise to K-12 employees over the next two years, plus an additional temporary 1.8 percent increase that expires in 2017," said The Seattle Times.

The district on the other hand has proposed an 8.2 percent increase in that same time period, and would require 30 extra minutes to the school day so that teachers spend more instructional time with students.

Additionally, among the other demands, Seattle educators are fighting for a minimum amount of required recess time for students across all districts. Because recess times vary widely across districts, Seattle educators are demanding a minimum of 30-45 minutes of recess for all students to guarantee active play.

"'The Seattle School Board has rejected most of our proposals around competitive pay, reasonable testing, guaranteed recess, student equity and workloads... Through their inaction, their lack of serious proposals and their refusal to publicly explain their positions, Seattle School Board members have shown they neither respect nor value us as professional educators," said Phyllis Campano, a special education teacher who serves as Seattle Education Association vice president and bargaining chair, according to King5.com.

Said district in a statement:

"The start of school could potentially be delayed. The district is working with the City of Seattle on child care options, including Seattle Parks and Recreation and the possibility of some SPS daycares remaining open. Athletics events will operate as scheduled, unless otherwise announced."

Read the full story here and comment with your thoughts below.

Article by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor

09/04/2015

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