Thursday, May 14, 2015

Seattle Council PTSA Message to PTA Leaders

Dear PTA Leader,
As you likely know, the Seattle Education Association (SEA) voted "to strike for one day [May 19, 2015] to protest the state legislature's failure to fund 1351 and McCleary, its attempt to take away our right to bargain over our wages and healthcare, and to insert test scores into our evaluations."
We have received several inquires for guidance on this issue.  It is important to understand PTA's positions, and to be clear when you are speaking on behalf of PTA versus as a parent.
PTA positions: 
Both Seattle Council PTSA and WA State PTA's number one legislative priority is fully funding basic education per the McCleary decision.  At the same time, Resolution 18.6  states that the WSPTA "will not support work stoppages and/or strikes which interrupt or disrupt the educational day."

In consideration of these existing positions, the Seattle Council PTSA board voted in a new resolution on May 11, 2015.  In short: "...SCPTSA affirms our advocacy of 'Ample funding of K-12 basic education per the McCleary decision; with increases in revenue orchestrated in a progressive, equitable, and sustainable manner;' And... while we do not advocate for disruptions to the education day, we support our teachers and demand that the Legislature meet their paramount duty."
 
What this means: 
SCPTA advocates for full funding of education, we support our teachers, but do not advocate for strikes. Individual PTA's may take a position in accordance with their own Standing Rules and WSPTA endorsement procedures

We encourage Leaders to share additional information:
  • Share information on local child care opportunities as you become aware of them.  The City of Seattle is providing free childcare on May 19 at community centers
  • Provide SPS's FAQ:
  • Share that the Seattle Education Association is planning rallies and a march through downtown to which parents and students are invited.
Thank you for all your do in support of children and education in Seattle.  If you have questions or comments, please contact us.

Cassandra Johnston, President - president@scptsa.org
Eden Mack, Advocacy/Legislative chair - legchair@scptsa.org  
 

29 comments:

Anonymous said...

I repeat my comment from earlier:

I don't understand this walk-out at all. The point of a walk-out is to generally inconvenience the management of an entity in order to make some point about how they are treating the labor.

In this case, management is coordinating the walk-out and shutting down the whole enterprise to support it. The only folks inconvenienced are the students and their families (I don't want to call them customers).

How does this accomplish anything? The students and families are already being punished due to the choices of the legislature. How does "walking-out" , with the full support of management, get the legislature to notice anything? Unlike in a typical walk-out context where management is harmed, the legislature suffers no harm for this walk-out. The students, families, SPS, and the city will bear the full cost of this action. The legislature will bear none. How does walk-ing out do anything useful to get the legislature to give on the issues that are important?

Very Confused

Anonymous said...

I don't understand why all these SPS employed $100K plus teachers are doing this. These unions need to go.

No unions

Anonymous said...

I think this is the most uncoordinated, unorganized nonsense I have seen of late.

I am not covered under a Union contract so my walk out will be from the kitchen to my living room.

I hope every union member is docked pay as I will be thanks to this.

Nothing will come of it but everyone will pretend they feel better about themselves as if they really care.
- Day laborer

Anonymous said...

Although I voted against the walkout I can't let the erroneous claim about "$100K plus teachers" go. As the salary schedule at http://www.seattleschools.org/modules/groups/homepagefiles/cms/1583136/File/Departmental%20Content/careers/salary/14-15CNSSalary.pdf?sessionid=74b8ce7ce5d5dbeb2c009298129b3f1e clearly shows the maximum teacher pay is $86,435 with a PhD and 15+ years of experience. Maybe add a couple $K per year if they coach and take on extra jobs here and there but the only teachers making $100K are former teachers (principals, JSCEE administrators). Maybe in about 6-9 years some top of the scale teachers will be there, but not yet.

The Seattle Times article on teacher salaries a few days ago noted "mid-career" Seattle salaries at just below $60K and "veteran" teachers at just below $80K. This is an industry where over 50% hold at least one masters degree (I hold two - one in education, one in business and am at $76K).

It is getting the legislature's attention, although agreed that it's not necessarily winning local families (I feared a lot of this).

Teacher

Anonymous said...

Seattle Public Schools Other Teacher $65,765 $24,654 $9,852 $100,271

There are over 37 teacher listed at 98k to 103K per year.

No Unions

Anonymous said...

Michael, take your union-hating, teacher dissing rants elsewhere.

Hit Delete

Anonymous said...

There's more to compensation then the cash salary component. When you add in benefits costs an employee with cash compensation of $75K per year easily can have a fully burdened cost of over $100K. This is of course not limited to school districts and teachers. But, when looked at on a total compensation basis, I'm sure there are many folks above the $100K mark.

My issue with the walk out has nothing to do with salary or total compensation though, and everything to do with the base stupidity of it. Again, the legislature won't suffer the consequences of the walk out, so I don't understand the point of it.

Very Confused

Barbie beatdown said...

the Union cartel

Anonymous said...

All workers benefit from unions whether they belong to them or not. Unions brought us weekends, 40 hour work weeks, and many other benefits. Quit picking on the teachers and go after the legislators who aren't doing their jobs. Right to work states (which should be called right to be paid crap and fired at a whim) have significantly lower salaries for all workers.

Not a union member.

HP

seattle citizen said...

I agree that the walkout is probably not the best plan, but I don't see a lot of other options for drawing attention to the legislature's inability to address McCleary, enact the smaller class size initiative, and (finally) give a long-overdue COLA to educators.
While many might think the walkout is about teacher pay (which is why I am not particularly in favor of it), in my opinion it is about so much more - it really IS "about the kids."

It really isn't that much inconvenience; that's a red herring. And I have yet to hear other suggestions for how to get the legislature's attention. Anybody? Anybody?

Patrick said...

Very Confused, it's not that hard to understand. Families will feel the difficulty and complain to their legislators. It's the legislature who has ignored their job for decade after decade, not the teachers.

Ragweed said...

When calculating total compensation, it is usual practice to include things like employer-paid taxes and other overhead that the employee never even sees on their pay statement. Those figures exist to determine the cost of an FTE, not their pay.

Anonymous said...

Just because you can't think of any other way to get attention, doesn't mean this is a good way.

My issue isn't with unions. I have no beef with them. My issue was with using only the cash component of compensation as a proxy for whether someone earns more then 100K per year.

And, you can't talk about unions in general without recognizing that they, like any entity, can do good and do bad. So while the weekend and the 40 hour work week were big wins, they also came along side things like the mob controlled teamsters and Jimmy Hoffa.

For this walk out to have been meaningful the schools should have stayed open and building management should have babysat all the students in the gyms and cafeterias. And the students should have gotten credit for showing up. That would have made apoint to those with at least some power to do anything here. With the current setup all you've done is cause a huge distribution to every student's family, and then double punish the student and family by making them change their schedules later in the year to make up the day.

Very Confused

Anonymous said...

No Unions,

You didn't list the site for your quote of 37 teachers making 100K+ (would have been helpful - could you post it?). It appears that you copied it from a site that notes "Other Teacher" for the category of the individual making $100,271. I'll note again that the SPS teacher schedule (website provided above) does not get classroom teachers to $100K, although the category of "other teacher" does line up with what we might agree is a problem with excessive administrators (some are former teachers now serving as "other teacher" admins) making $100K+. Some may deserve it, but overall there's still way too much waste/excess in the downtown palace (JSCEE). Admins should be classified as admins, not teachers (my opinion).

That said, there's a lot of other issues other than pay for the walkout, but after 6 years with no cost of living adjustment from the state I understand why most of my peers are frustrated.

Teacher

Anonymous said...

And they just recommended a 11% pay increase for the legislators who are not doing their job.

HP

Patrick said...

Very Confused, there aren't enough nonteaching staff at schools to supervise all the students. Doing that would endanger the students' safety.

And it would punish school-level management, but the school-level management aren't responsible for the Legislature's failure to address state funding.

A walkout for a day is a good way for the teachers to make the point. Strikes can be about other aspects of working conditions than pay.

Eric B said...

When people talk about pay, most listeners outside the HR field hear "dollars before taxes". That skews high if you are talking about total compensation.

Incidentally, I just looked at my company's annual compensation report for me. It included salary, insurance, 401(k), holidays/vacation, and Social Security. It does not include employer share of federal income taxes. At a company with pretty good benefits, the total package is about 50% of the salary. If someone asked what I get paid, I'd still say my salary, not 1.5 x salary, though.

Anonymous said...

I'll address a few comments:

@Patrick: A one day walk-out does very little. Parents have been complaining to the legislature for over a decade. They sued the legislature, and won. The legislature still is not responsive. To think that parents calling one more time due to this one day walk-out will finally push them to act is pretty tortured logic. Now if this was a two week strike that put the city to its knees due to the disruption in people's lives then I could perhaps see your point. But doing this for one day is just for show.

@ Eric B.: You might say you only get paid your salary, but the other items are of value and you know it. If someone tried to hire you away from your current position with the deal that your salary would stay the same but you'd have no benefits, then you more likely then not turn down that offer. Compensation is more then salary, and it would be nice if more people could recognize that.

Very Confused

Anonymous said...

A walk out may be illogical, but waiting until after the fact, once the legislature is done, to walk out in fall would be less useful.

A teacher pay initiative is illogical. Why aren't all state workers, elected officials, and education worker pay stipends, on a fixed scale with a COLA?

A class size initiative is illogical. School districts have no extra classrooms. Without a forced building bond property tax, the new classrooms are just a blacktop in the rain.

If their is no winning scenario, the legislature needs to change the rules. Redefine basic education within the available budget. Redefine basic, by adjusting three issues: minimum yearly hours per grade, classroom size, and set teacher stipend scale coupled to state scale. Then fund that, and comply with the supreme court. If districts find more local money to add to that, then so be it.

-NNNCr

Patrick said...

NNNCr, they could do that, but what a cynical way to go. I don't think it would be just relatively wealthy Seattle voters who would be offended by that approach. "Ample provision" doesn't mean "Hey, there are still a few poor southeastern states that fund education even worse than we do."

Anonymous said...

I'm just saying the legislature has to be pragmatic, and put the onus of responsibility on the voters to vote for new revenue. An income tax, and income tax on the wealthy? Until the voters step up to the plate, they can only get what the pay for, not what the dream up on their initiative wish list.

Anonymous said...

@ Patrick
I'm just saying the legislature has to be pragmatic, and put the onus of responsibility on the voters to vote for new revenue. An income tax, and income tax on the wealthy? Until the voters step up to the plate, they can only get what the pay for, not what the dream up on their initiative wish list.
-NNNCr

Anonymous said...

Yeah, yeah. Those fat-cat, overpaid teachers!

I'm reminded of that every time I see a teacher in line at Staples or Costco, buying pencils and kleenex for their classrooms, on their own time, with their own money.

If people writing code for violent video games can earn 150k in this town, what the hell is wrong with paying teachers a decent wage?

WSDWG

Anonymous said...

Here is what I don't understand. I agree with Very Confused that "one day" may not get the legislatures attention (though the logical follow up might be that teachers need to STAY out under the state deals with this issue! If all the schools did that, it would become interesting in a hurry!

But while "a day" is not a minor thing if you have to find alternate day care (for younger kids) -- it baffles me that there is so much beefing about the "inconvenience" of a day -- when at the same time our kids are being subjected to many many days of test prep that detracts from meaningful learning -- AND then days and days of testing that takes away learning time (both during the test and for all of the schedule and space dislocations that occur to those being tested, and those not) AND then the (insult to injury) hit of getting test scores that do not fairly measure what they were taught, (because they weren't taught the standards yet) OR what they know (because even if they know the stuff, the test questions are poorly written, deliberately ambiguous or "tricky", or because the test interface and time deadlines are poorly thought out and flawed.

I hope that the people complaining about the inconvenience and expense of the one day walk out are complaining commensurately loudly about the wasted time and expense of SBA.

Jan

Anonymous said...

"under" should have been "until"

Jan

Eric B said...

Very Confused, imagine for a moment I came to you and said "I'm pulling down X dollars per year!" You'd almost certainly interpret that as X plus benefits. Nobody talks about their total compensation value. They talk about the direct salary and maybe add "but I get great benefits" to the end. Same thing with teachers. I say all the time that the cost to the district of an FTE teacher is about $100K. I'd never say that they were making that money.

Anonymous said...

Confused--I do love the idea of all the JSCEE staff being stuck in a gymnasium with a hundred kids and some board games! THEN there would be 100k+ "teachers" for a day.

Chris S.

seattle citizen said...

I'm with Chris S., but many JSCEE staff are doing great work and don't need the reality check. I would suggest just the District bargaining team that will be negotiating this summer's contract. "Class size doesn't matter" would then not be heard at that bargaining table (like it was two years ago...)

Ann D said...

Evidently our state legislators don't want to pay for the Common Core plus all the other state standards such as for art, music, science, recess, etc.

I have always found it absurd that when deemed to be underfunding basic education based on their own definition, the districts, schools and teachers all still move forward with that definition even in the absence of funding. Why not just add design a hydrogen car and a cure for cancer because they would probably try to get it done too.

Sorry for being so crass but really the buck stops where exactly?