Tuesday, September 03, 2013

SEA Approves Contract

Seattle Schools will open its doors tomorrow to all its schools for our nearly 50,000 students.

Welcome back, kids.


sacparent said...

That's great news! I've been following this closely and I'm glad my daughter will start school tomorrow.

Seattle Substitute said...

The vote in favor of the contract was done first by voice vote, then challenged, and then done as a show of hands/standing members. While I believe the vote in favor did indeed carry both ways (and that was how I was voting), there really should have been a paper ballot in order to establish legitimacy. It was close enough that a paper ballot was necessary. I do not feel good about how that was handled at all.

seattle citizen said...

It sounds like the vote was relatively close. A paper ballot would have produced a number that would show that a large proportion of teachers were dis-satisfied enough to vote "no" and go on strike. The union erred in not allowing a paper ballot. If anyone starts claiming "an overwhelming majority" or some such conciliatory rhetoric, they should be challenged.

Anonymous said...

A paper ballot was definitely in order. I think it was nixed because the bargaining team did not want to acknowledge the truth: a significant percentage of the staff are opposed to the new contract.

Although I was disappointed at the outcome, I was more disappointed, embarrassed actually, at the behavior of teachers when various speakers we're voicing their opinions at the microphone. I have no doubt they would not put up with similar rude behavior from their students.

Sped Staffer

Melissa Westbrook said...

Very sad that leadership did not allow the paper ballot. No dissent allowed? Sometimes even presidential votes are close so all voice should have been heard (and numbered).

Anonymous said...

The vote on the cert contract was done by voice twice, then Jonathan asked for a standing vote. It appeared to be a clear majority in favor of the contract. At this point, Jonathan declared that the body had voted in favor of the contract. At this point, there was a call for division (i.e. a challenge to the vote). Since a standing vote had already been taken, the next step would be to go to a count of hands, or a paper ballot. Roberts Rules require a majority of the assembly to agree to a Division. This vote was taken and there was clearly not a majority in favor of Division. The whole process was handled appropriately under the assembly rules.

Another Teacher

Anonymous said...

There was a truckload of dissent and posturing by a certain radical teacher. But the vote wasn't close enough for paper. I am guessing it was 70% percent yes. The no's yelled louder, but had substantially fewer people, and poorer arguments against. But the yes' had the more articulate and logical arguments, especially about the ramifications of voting no.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Another Teacher, thanks for that input. I will point out that sometimes rules get used in a way to benefit what those in power want an outcome to look like. This happened at the state PTA conference a couple of years back. The rules were used AGAINST members.

I believe what you say but my radar is always up when people say "but the rules were followed."

Anonymous said...

I agree that we "no"-yellers probably did yell louder. We're a passionate bunch. :)

a paper ballot would have been a strategic move, a message to the district. I think egos got in the way.

Anyway, I look forward to seeing the kiddos tomorrow.


Anonymous said...

I too agree the standing teacher vote was in favor... I thought 60/40 but 70/30 is very reasonable too. That said, I totally agreed we should have gone to paper for legitimacy (as much as I wanted to leave). Change the outcome - no. Change the appearance of legitimacy - somewhat yes.

Handling a loud union hall (for the night) is more difficult than even a classroom, but honestly this "classroom" wasn't always well handled.

There's clearly a lot of mounting frustration with JSC, primarily a lot pre-dating Banda, so what I see coming out of this is a campaign that will start soon to deal with the next contract. (sorry)

With all the McCleary money coming this blog too will be all over the JSC in terms of getting those $$ out to the schools and not rebuilding JSC empires. I got the sense that a lot who voted like me for the contract did so because where we're at it's good enough for now and we know we're not ready for a big fight... but we will be for the 2-years from now fight if there's any threat of McCleary getting squandered. Unless the district gets a lot more committed to supporting teachers and support staff (especially) that will be the big fight I'm even willing to support.

Yes, sorry, it will not be fun going through this again in 2 years but at least it will be a 5-year contract (per plan).

Yet Another

Anonymous said...

There was no ...posturing..." but there was intolerance for differing "radical" opinions. I sensed that coming from the "Yes" voters more than from the "No" voters. And rather than "guessing" there were 70% in favor of the contract, why not get an actual number? Yes, the voting rules may have been followed in a technical sense, but not in spirit.

And what's with our union President? Does he know anything? Why did he have to defer to others on stage to answer more than 75% of the questions? Isn't it his job to know the answer to things? What's going to happen when Glenn heads to Federal Way? The VP was even less knowledgable as demonstrated by her commenting about things at the wrong "Robert's Rule" time. I have a bad feeling that today's contract will be the highlight of the next several years.

SPED Staffer

mirmac1 said...

What happens when Glen heads to Federal Way? There will be fewer back-door ed reform machinations, that's what.

Anonymous said...

@yet another

? McCleary $ coming??

Ah, sorry. Nope. Texas had a similar 'McCleary' case, and, 20 years later.... Waiting for godot would be more fruitful.

Sorry. Don't mean to burst any bubbles. There ain't no dough in the kitty, that's all.

And, JSCEE has had cuts and has gone lean, BUT, they've also BULKED up 30-fold for their $110k (excluding cost of benefits) ranks over the last 8 years. Think back to the pre-Ed Directors, pre-'super's cabinet', pre-everybody's-an-assistant-super days...

-flying unicorns

Anonymous said...

Sad that we will be the only district in the state using State Standardized testing (MSP) as part of the teacher eval system. Every other district had positive professional dialogue with teaching professionals to use school based assessments that are informative.

Still Sad that we avoid best practices here in Seattle,
Signed- professional in the classroom

Jet City mom said...

My H has been a member of a union as long as I've known him (37 years) & he has always voted on paper.
A voice vote sounds medieval and far from what I would expect from college educated professionals.

Anonymous said...

I was sitting in front and could turn and see the whole assembly at once. It was clearly a majority in favor of approving the TA.

While it's true a paper ballot would have proved that, the same people who are crying foul over the visual count would have claimed the paper ballot results were rigged as well.

And SEA is being transparent with the close vote - on the FB page it says the vote was about 60/40.

Given that so many of us voted to approve so that we could start school and do our job for families and students, and yet disagree with some issues in this contract, I hope teachers across the district get more active in pressuring the district to design effective ways to look at data, effective assessments, to give our paras a livable wage and more opportunity for career advancement, and most importantly, a caseload for ESAs that allows them to do their job well.


Anonymous said...

Bagley elementary is not starting until next week because of construction delays...


SEA Teacher said...

I was sitting in front and thought it was close enough for a paper vote...even though I voted to approve.

I also did not like the way Knapp handled the meeting. He was rude to many speakers and didn't have the knowledge to answer several questions. I'm not sure what he was trying to portray with his behavior but he seemed uninterested in getting us the answers we deserved before voting. He seemed "over it" and annoyed with his members.

Anonymous said...

I agree that Knapp was rude to some of the speakers.

It's not the way that it works but when my union leaders present a tentative agreement or a district proposal after bargaining, I want them to present the facts in a neutral manner. A stated opinion even would be okay. but they should stop at that.

I don't pay them 80ish bucks a month for them to try to convince me how to vote.

and I don't like being pushed to approve a contract because the bargaining team worked so hard. I know they did and appreciate it greatly. Its not a reason to approve the contract though.


Anonymous said...

When Michael DeBell sits there and thanks Knapp and Campagno for their efforts, there are lots of reasons to question their motives. Like three peas in a pod.


Anonymous said...

Looks like we have a bunch of volunteers for next bargaining season!! Looking forward to y'all and your hard work making headlines.

I thought the entire thing was on the up and up. I thought our colleagues were often immature and impatient. Jonathan did just fine. The team knew their stuff and I felt like our membership was in good hands.

It's easy to be a Monday morning quarterback.

Voted no also

Anonymous said...

Monday morning QB? What little I heard was "leaked" to media and commented on some time in advance. I don't like to get played.


Nick Esparza said...

A Union Torn Asunder... Or, Woeful Tales of the Seattle Teacher's Union
I like to there is truth in advertising.

Let me begin by saying, I am not against Unions. Not at all. I support unions. But what I am against is a badly run union. A union that is at war with itself. A union which should favor its teachers more than its management.

That's not what we have in Seattle. What kind of union takes a terrible contract, votes to approve it, and then complains about the way it is treated, until they vote for the next terrible contract?

Sometimes you have to teach people how to treat you. The Seattle teacher's union has not figured this out.

They deserve the treatment that they receive and by ratifying weak and insufficient contracts.

When there was word of a strike, it was obvious that the public was behind them. We, the public, would love for the District to be shown that you can't push teacher's around.

This was a chance for the teacher's union to gain some credibility, some legitimacy, some support. But they caved.

In the future, maybe some good PR would include striking for the kids. Smaller class sizes, summer school, effective staffing -things that actually affect children's lives.

Instead, it looks like they sold out the children for a 2-4% raise.