Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Seattle Schools: Not Open for Business September 4th?

The district sent out this e-mail to families:
The Seattle Education Association (SEA), which represents teachers, rejected the district’s latest contract proposal. They plan to meet again on September 3 to vote on whatever the proposal is at that time.
With the start of school on September 4, we are encouraging families to develop back=up plans should Seattle Public Schools not open on time. 
We realize the impact a labor strike would have on our families. We are working with child care providers and the City of Seattle to develop options for your students in the event school is not in session on September 4. Those resources, along with other information, will be posted tomorrow at www.seattleschools.org. We will send you additional messages as new information is available. 
Again, we are working to reach an agreement with teachers, but it is possible that school will not start on September 4. Please visit www.seattleschools.org for additional information. 
Thank you for your patience and support during this time.
 It is prudent for the district to advise parents this is a possibility.

Except that I don't believe it is a possibility. 

Yes, it is getting down to the wire but I do not sense the stomach - from either side - for a strike.  The teachers (and their union) are not coming off as particularly militant.  And frankly, I think it would hurt them more than help them to go on strike.

So I think some of the above message is posturing on the part of the district to get the union to sign something.

Because no one but district negotiators and union reps are in these meetings, I can't say who is being stubborn, where they found common ground and what is left for compromise.  

If I had to pick a place where they might meet in the middle, I'd say it might be the elementary school teachers and the extra half hour (better than piling on more kids to the nurses, speech pathologists, etc.  No one will be better off that way.)

But school needs to start and if the district and the union aren't getting that message, maybe they should.   But I hear nothing from the PTA leadership or the Board so I'm not sure how they would get the message.


mirmac1 said...

I say it is on the failed effort to link (some) teacher evaluations on unreliable student growth reports.

Anonymous said...

I sent a rather strong email to Banda in response to the email SPS sent on Tuesday. Would be happy to share it, if anyone is interested. As I see it, the district has had months to conduct and conclude these negotiations and their email was a dubious tactic to try and scare parents into pressuring teachers to accept an unacceptable (IMO) deal.

(there are no teachers in our household/family, so no vested interests influencing our opinion.)

--ML Mama