May 28, 2009
M E D I A A D V I S O R Y
Seattle parents and students unite with teachers to stop educator layoffs.
Seattle - On the same day Seattle Public Schools Superintendent Maria Goodloe-Johnson will receive her annual performance review, teachers, parents and students will rally and offer their pointed evaluation of district leadership and performance this year, petitioning against Seattle schools’ Reduction in Force (RIF) on the heals of the controversial school closures. To support district educators and children, the Seattle Education Association (the Seattle teacher's union) and ESP Vision (Educators, Students and Parents for a Better Vision of the Seattle Schools) have united their parent-teacher-student coalition to speak up against an estimated 165 teacher layoffs.
The rally is a show of unprecedented solidarity between parents and the teachers' union, making a shift in Seattle's history of education politics in recognition of a shared responsibility to fight for Seattle's children and the future of education.
WHEN: Wednesday, June 3, 5 -6 p.m. rally; 6 p.m. school board meeting
WHERE: John Stanford Center, Seattle Public Schools headquarters
2445 3rd Avenue South; Seattle, WA 98134
BACKGROUND: Seattle Public Schools' recent Reduction in Force (RIF) has laid off an estimated 165 classroom teachers and 59 other educators, sending shockwaves throughout the district and further disrupting a public school community still grappling with the upheaval from the district’s Jan. 29 Capacity Management Plan that will close five schools and dislodge or eliminate 13 essential programs. Cutting teachers will result in even larger class sizes when Washington State already ranks 46th in the nation in teacher-to-student ratio.
"We've had enough disruption with school closures and now we are asking our students to live with the loss of their teachers, who they have come to trust and rely on. It's not the way to treat our children or their schools," says Seattle school parent Dora Taylor.
Seattle Public School has invested more than a third of its budget to hire administration, consultants and buy books, but has shown a baffling unwillingness to tap any of its tens of million of dollars from its "rainy day" fund or interest from its capital account to retain the heroic teachers who are on the frontlines of Seattle children’s education every day.
"Other school districts such as Bellevue have reallocated resources so they didn't have to lay off teachers," says Seattle school teacher Vicky Jambor. "Why can't Seattle do the same? Seattle's teachers and students deserve better than this." More information: www.espvision.org.