Sunday, September 01, 2013

Tentative agreement reached

The SEA announced that, as of 12:18am, they have a tentative agreement with the school district. Details to follow.

From the SEA web site:

We have a tentative agreement!

The Seattle Education Association and Seattle School Board bargaining teams reached a tentative agreement early Sunday morning. SEA members will reviewing the agreement and voting on it at the the Sept. 3 SEA general membership meeting at Benaroya Hall. Registration starts at 4 p.m., and the meeting starts at 5 p.m. 
We need ALL SEA members to attend this important meeting, where we will be voting on the tentative agreement. Please plan to attend, and please personally ask your SEA colleagues and co-workers to attend as well.

From the District web site:

Sept. 1 - Statement from Superintendent José Banda regarding tentative agreement between the Seattle Education Association and Seattle Public Schools
I want to express my thanks to the Seattle Education Association and Seattle Public Schools bargaining teams for their efforts to craft a tentative contract agreement for the 2013-14 school year.
All of us at Seattle Public Schools value the contributions, skills and dedication that our educators bring to Seattle Public Schools every day, and their commitment to our students’ success.
SEA has informed us that the membership will vote on the tentative agreement on Tuesday, Sept. 3 at 4:30 p.m.
We look forward to having an approved agreement and a successful start to the 2013 school year.


Eric M said...

Awesome. Another last minute, mystery contract, rushed to a vote. What could be better?

Anonymous said...

There's a lot that could be worse, no contract and strike are definitely worse.


Patrick said...

You have today, tomorrow, and until 5 PM on Tuesday to read it. Not all the time in the world, but it should be enough to at least give it one reading.

Eric M said...

No, it's not released. It will not be available until Monday, perhaps around 5 pm. Like the last contract, dues-paying members will be expected to "vote" on it with a little less than 24 hours to read and discuss.
Just like last time.

What could be worse?
Another lousy contract, incorporating invalid invalid student test scores as a measure of how effective a teacher is. And cost-of-living "raises" less than annual inflation.
Just like last time.

Maureen said...

Here's what the Slog is saying.

seattle citizen said...

IMHO writes, "There's a lot that could be worse [than a "last minute, mystery contract"], no contract and strike are definitely worse."

So educators should go ahead and agree to a contract they don't have enough time to dissect, just because not having a contract and possibly striking is bad?

In MY humble opinion, no contract and maybe a strike is much better than signing off on a mystery.

The point of the possibility of a strike is to get both sides to some agreeable position. If SEA members (educators) don't have time to fully digest the proposals, it is a mistake to approve the contract.

I'm sure SEA educators and negotiators are aware of the difficulty a strike presents, but a strike is in the best interests of students if it strikes against proposals that harm students. Wouldn't we want educators to be fully informed as to the content of the 100 page contract before they vote to accept practices that damage not only them but the students, as well? (ALL the points, besides the money, are about issues that impact students, as well. This isn't about the money: they were only 0.5% apart. It's about standing up (maybe striking) for practices that hurt educators and students both.

Educators need time to read the contract and understand it.

Anonymous said...

In a response to an email I sent regarding the bargaining, Ms. Smith-Blum shared that MAP was no longer being used for teacher evaluations. Here is the section of her response regarding evaluation.

"Our teachers union crafted the evaluation document and the measures in it in the last bargaining cycle. The new State law requires a growth measure that is consistent across the district. We removed the MAP test scores in this bargaining cycle, about 4 weeks ago, as they were inconsistent across grade level. But we must have a uniform growth measure in the evaluation according to State law. We are happy to talk about how that might change as we move towards common core. But that is a conversation we need to have in public with all our stakeholders, including principals and parents. It would be difficult to come up with new growth measures that are uniform district wide in the next few days. I agree there is much to be wary of around Smarter Balanced assessments."

-Seattle Educator

Anonymous said...

Not sure what KSB means by "the new State law requires a growth measure that is consistent across the district." While the new state law only requires that groups of teachers "Consistently and actively collaborates with other grade, school, or district team members to establish goal(s), to develop and implement common, high-quality measures, and to monitor growth and achievement during the year." there is not a requirement that all teachers in the district use the same assessment, only that they be common, high quality measures. The MSP is actually problematic in the sense that the data is not provided in a timely fashion to monitor achievement throughout the year.

Here is a link to the state mandated Student Growth portions of the teacher evaluation system. This represents what is required across all districts in the state.

Another Educator

Anonymous said...

In addition to being harmful to kids (remember them?) and thier families, strikes are not legal for public school employees. So perhaps the message is you need to advocate for different SEA leadership who are quicker at disseminating information. Or negotiating. Since you will never have a say who is on the district bargaining team.


Anonymous said...

And what is going to happen if the majority of the teachers vote with "no" on Tuesday for the agreement?
- New to this

Melissa Westbrook said...

Well, if they vote no, it's either strike or continue on with the current contract with negotiations on-going. I doubt if they will reject it.

Anonymous said...

If we have 1800+ SEA members again and the majority (or entire) bargaining team says it's good enough then the last thing I want is for people to nitpick a 100 page document while the rest of us wait to vote.

Agreed - doubt it's great... but McCleary implementation should make the next bargaining in 2 years much more interesting. (Hopefully that will be a 5-year contract to avoid these showdowns)

In terms of inflation, 1.7% last year and 2% on target this year so at least from the district's perspective we're close to inflation. Now the state legislature and their 6 frozen COLA's in a row has even my conservative Republican teacher friends East of the mountains starting to get angry at the legislature.

--SPS teach

seattle citizen said...

SWED - A strike can be beneficial fo r students if it levers the district into getting rid of contract items that are bad for students. There were a number of those in the district's offer last week. Hopefully, they've modified some of those.
Let's remember that the primary motivation for educators is students. Of course educators want to earn a living wage, as well, but mainly it's about issues that ultimately impact students.
Oh, and on the legslity of a strike: They are not prohibited explicity. Some judges around the stste have said they are illegal, but that doesn't set precedent until it reaches the state supreme court.

seattle citizen said...

And, SWED, your "remember them" comment was snide and uncalled for. No need to insult educators....

Anne said...

I was at the union meeting and it was obvious to me that whenever discussion centered around tying our evaluations to student growth on Smarter Balance the loudest boos and unrest was heard. I believe the majority of teachers will actually surprise our union by not voting for this contract. I suspected the union would come back with a supposed "victory" but still have our evaluation tied to a corporate test. BTW, are you aware Common Core State Standards were developed by corporations not the federal gov.t and that the NCTM and NCTE were originally excluded from making the CCSS and were only given advisory board status in the end? I felt the union and district were throwing out the idea of class size and "raise" as a red herring to obscur the real issue of tying our distict to corporate tests. This capitalist, consumerist system will eat us up in the end. When will we wake up and realize how unhealthy it is? And when I say growth--if a child passes the test one year with only one wrong, my teacher evaluation score goes down if he takes the test the year I teach him and still gets just one wrong. It has nothing to do with getting kids to pass these tests, it is all about getting them to show continued growth (just like in retail--the stock market will not invest in a company that breaks even, it has to keep making more and more and more profit).

We need to vote this contract down and use our own PR to get it out to Seattle that we citizens do not support the continued corporatization of our children's education.

Anonymous said...

We are ready, strike or not. Education is year round and while on the road the last week, kids have been working away on their workbooks, reading, Spanish, and writing. Have covered WA geology and history. Older one will watch younger ones and back up with neighbors in case there's a strike. Lesson plans and library time already set up.


Anonymous said...

SEA members received details on the TA in their home email account this morning. SPS teachers, what are your thoughts on the TA?

Another Educator

dw said...

It's extremely uncommon for there to be a long reading period before a contract vote. It's actually beneficial for the employer AND the union for there not to be: It concentrates knowledge of the proposal with the two organizations at the bargaining table. And it also limits the ability for the union rank-and-file to rearguard the union leadership.

But, at the same time, the rank-and-file know what's at stake -- the union has communicated that with them -- and will be able to see whether the deal is beneficial to them or not pretty clearly.

It's extremely unlikely we'll see a strike. If the SEA is confident the deal will be approved, I would expect it will be. And even if it's not, it doesn't seem like they're that far apart, so there's no real impetus to strike. And if they do, then the SEA leadership needs to be thrown out for not representing its membership.

A strike that lasts beyond this week would be a disaster for all sides. In a town with so few single-income, two-parent households, there's little patience for a drawn-out dispute.

Anne said...

And keep in mind, we teachers actually do get paid just enough to get by(my check amounts to $3,000 a month which just covers rent, food for my three kids, their back to school supplies, etc.) so I have no money left for savings. We won't get paid if we strike and I don't have funds saved to cover a strike. How did workers do it in the passed? Did relatives help with food, etc.? I haven't looked at the TA yet and will do that right now and let you know. Still, why can't we take the Finland model and use assessments developed by our universities instead of these corporations?!

Anne said...

I just read the TA. At least the MAP is out. I think I will vote for this contract just because of that. What a screwy test that was.

Anonymous said...

MAP is supposedly out of the contract for teacher evaluation, but not out of the district, correct? They will still be using MAP testing this year, yes?


seattle citizen said...

dw - while I agree in principal that the SEA negotiating team (eight [?] people) probably has the accumulated wisdom to negotiate what's best.
But in the end its the members, the rank and file, who vote on the contract. It's a CONTRACT: How wise is it, ever, to sign a contract one hasn't had a chance to review?
If the represented membership decided to give up their vote and just accept the decisions of the negotiating team, then maybe your proposal makes sense. But since they haven't...
Democracy is messy. Those represented by have opinions. While I'm not proposing that each and every member get up and argue every detail (prohibited by rules of the floor, anyway), I think it's importsnt that opposing voices on both sides have a chance to be heard before the vote.

Anonymous said...

I will be voting NO. This is not a fair contract.


Anonymous said...

Evidently it was a tie as to whether to recommend the contract to the membership and Mr Knapp then placed the deciding vote to break the tie.

Here is a link to the Facebook post that mentions this:

Ann D.

Anonymous said...

can anybody explain the esa status? seems like few gains