Monday, September 07, 2015

Latest Teacher Contract Updates

FAQ page from Seattle Schools on Teacher Contract issues and start of school.

From the Times:

Also according to Seattle union officials, agreement was reached Sunday to increase pay for certificated and classified substitutes, an attempt to address a general shortage of substitutes.

As well, a group of parents have started a support group for teachers, Soup for Teachers:

Soup for Teachers is a Facebook group that SPS parent Ljiljana Stanojevic Penuela started a few days ago to support striking teachers with food, cards from kids, and other necessities: https://www.facebook.com/groups/507823286040448/.

  The group has over 200 members.

They have money, kids’ cards and food and provided lunch to the SEA team. (And heard teachers are getting sick of pizza.)

 Today, they are providing a taco bar to the SEA bargaining team as well as also providing desserts, posters, and cards for the strike captains’ meeting tonight. Q13 Fox will be at Greenwood school to film and interview during their 3:45 pm dessert drop off today. Some of the members don’t even have kids in SPS. and the turn-out from the community has been great. 

Twitter: @SoupForTeachers. Hashtag: #4MyTeacher

Email: soups4teachers@gmail.com.

Great work by parents and community in support of our teachers.

71 comments:

Lynn said...

From the district's FAQ:

Is the district asking to extend the school day?

The district proposal for 2016-17 adds ten minutes to the average teacher day and provides more collaboration time. The student day is twenty minutes longer for elementary and thirty minutes longer for the secondary day – partially offset by a weekly early release/late start. This provides extended learning blocks, social emotional learning time, more PE time, planning collaboration time and flexibility for recess. It also helps meet the state requirements for high schools.


Let's discuss lack of parent and community engagement over this schedule change.


ProSleep Mom said...

Yes, this proposal seems to have come out of thin air. Not only was there absolutely zero community engagement, I think the Board is blindsided as well. I was at the June 18th Curriculum and Instruction meeting, where Tolley and McEvoy discussed meeting 1080/24 credits in regards to bell time changes. The idea at that meeting was an extra 15 minutes in the HS day, and this was regarded as not an impediment to the bell time changes- but if it was 30 minutes, that would be a problem for bell times. (So is this the underhanded way to quash bell times?) If C&I had't heard about this in June, how can it be proposed as a top priority a month and a half later??

What exactly is the schedule they are proposing?

How would four long (going home in the dark) and one short day affect student safety? How would this impact before and after school care? Student jobs? Sibling care?

What is the research showing this plan would improve student achievement? What is the research showing less PCP time improves outcomes (this I gotta see) or is at least neutral?

Have they done an EIS on this yet?

It may be that there is some merit to these ideas- but the merit has yet to be explained and the community has yet to be consulted or convinced.

Please just say no to this half-baked idea.

Anonymous said...

What is the word on caseloads for SLPs and OTs? What if anything is going to be addressed for special education?

Can the union truly be considering caving on this stupid extended day proposal? I can't stand the newsbriefs from SPS - they are truly smarmy and misleading.

reader

veteran sub said...

Yeah, this proposal to lengthen the day is way more complicated than it sounds. SPS isn't telling us what it's supposed to even look like. They also talk about pulling 20 minutes out of every teacher's prep time as if that isn't a big deal. Not only is that 20 minutes of prep time we lose, this also creates an additional block of time we have to prepare for.

Also, it's important to remember that SPS waited until the last day of negotiations to spring this on the SEA. News stories tend to leave that part out, too.

Anonymous said...

How exactly would a 30 minute longer day help meet the state requirements for high schools?

Is this to meet the 1080 hrs requirement, which the district has known was coming for some time now? Or are they planning to decrease the length of each class by 5 min and then add an extra period? A 7-period day would give kids more opportunities to get their 24 credits in, but it could also mean that teachers have to pick up an extra class worth of students. Instead of say 150 papers to grade (teaching 5 out of 6 periods, with 30 kids per class), would teachers be working 6 of 7 periods (thus 180 papers)? Or is there some other plan? (Or perhaps no real plan, just a whim?)

HF

Anonymous said...

From Lynn's excerpt above "... for the secondary day – partially offset by a weekly early release/late start."

What does that mean. That there will be early release or late start every week? And how does that translate to more time in the classroom?

-confused

Anonymous said...

How are parents supposed to be understanding early release or late start every week? Have parents been notified, if for no other reason than to address childcare? It is extremely worrying that in those infomercials from JSCEE, parents are as patronized as teachers in terms of what is said and not said.

reader

Anonymous said...

The "lack of substitutes" is a HUGE issues. Truly HUGE. The way to address it is to have permanent subs, with benefits, that are sent to schools as necessary. Or, who are a permanent school employee. Other than that, you won't solve the chronic, overwhelming lack of subs. And the issue is inequitable. Whole regions of the city go without SUBS because subs don't want to do it. And special education - of course, goes without the most. Subs don't want to walk into an unknown. So - they pass.

Empl

veteran sub said...

Note first that a substitute teacher has to be just that: a TEACHER. You have to be certificated, with all the training--and probably student debt--that comes with it. Then you regularly have to deal with students and parents who think you're "just a sub" (I'll leave out the profanity that I've gotten). Regular teachers and administrators would make us far more effective if they could impress upon the students that yes, we are "real" teachers. Some of us are a hell of a lot better than the people we substitute for, too.

After working 90 days in the district, you get $187 per day. If you somehow manage to work every one of the 180 days of the year, that's $33,660 before taxes. No benefits. No TRI pay. Not unless you swing a long-term job, and those aren't exactly plentiful. And you do NOT count as a "district employee" when the job openings hit and in-district transfers get priority. Your credentials gets stuck in limbo until you land a regular teaching job, too--university programs won't accept you to get the next level of certification if you're "just a sub."

It's important to remember that it's almost impossible to work all 180 days, too. The first & last few days of a semester or right after holidays are often tough to fill on your schedule.

Once you've done this for a while, you find yourself wondering if going back to certain schools is really worth $187 for another guaranteed miserable day. There are schools I will not work at unless I'm worried about paying rent. I've been a sub in Seattle for about ten years now, and for most of that time I've worked in multiple districts just so I can make sure I work every day--and so I have some amount of choice in where I'll work. Everywhere around Seattle pays less, but that choice makes a huge difference.

For everything I've just said, remember that the classified substitutes have it even worse. That's only $127 a day. And unless it gets changed in this contract (something SEA is fighting for), classified subs stay at that daily sub rate even if they're in a long-term position. Even if they have the job all year.

n said...

Everybody wants more. I'm sorry subs but I always leave easy plans to follow because you all don't teach my kids the way I do and you're not always up to date in the curricula. Every recently retired teacher at my school is now subbing here. They like the extra money and they know they are not doing the job they used to have to do. I would be surprised if our shortage of subs was actually because people don't want to sub. Is there evidence of that? Even my school has had rare shortages but isn't that because Seattle doesn't hire an adequate cadre? If you are long term, absolutely you should be paid commensurate with teachers but probably without bennies although I'm flexible there. One-day or two-day subs, sorry.

No evals, no parent issues, no overtime, what's so bad about subbing? My subs don't even correct papers anymore. And teachers hate to write plans! Most of us have many hours of sick leave to avoid having to write plans for subs. My best times were subbing many years ago because I learned so much - that as a young new teacher. Our retired teachers come in, earn some money, stay in touch, and go home smiling.

veteran sub said...

Dear n:

First off: that money that I cited? That's for real. That's not a make-believe thing. The numbers I presented are the best case scenario. Most subs have to live on that or less. God help you if you wind up with a medical problem or if you have family to support.

What's so bad about being a sub? The routine disregard, disrespect, and disdain, which you have just demonstrated. What's sad is that I'm not REMOTELY shocked that someone would write a comment like this, and I damn well wish I could be. We get that from the teachers. We get that from the kids.

We get that from their parents. We do NOT often get complete instructions from teachers. Sometimes I don't find any lesson plans at all. Teachers routinely fail to tell me which students need extra attention, what the kids expect in the way of classroom management, or any number of other important details. I've lost track of the number of times a teacher tells me they never allow headphones or hall passes when this is demonstrably untrue. All that does is set me up for a struggle to enforce rules that the regular teacher doesn't even care about.

Subs aren't up to current curricula? Yeah, you're right, because most of the time we're not even serving in our credential areas. That happens routinely. That's how short-term subbing works. Did you somehow not know that?

Regarding your personal experiences: maybe you're a great teacher and you get lousy subs. I fully concede that this is possible. We do, in fact, have some lame subs in this district. As for you doing everything right to prepare for subs and being generally awesome yourself, I'll have to take your word for that. But if you could for a moment take a step back and realize that your comment basically says, "Gosh, I got mine, it sucks to be you," then you MIGHT understand why I would be disinclined to sub for you if I knew who you actually are.

--veteran sub

veteran sub / Brian Kowalczyk said...

Actually, on that note: Why am I even using a pseudonym when everything I've said is demonstrably true?

I'm Brian Kowalczyk. Students call me Mr. K. And I do a damn good job.

Anonymous said...

The longer school day would not start this year, but in 2016-2017. Just want to make sure that is clear - the district doesn't expect parents to figure it out this year.

Also, late arrival or early dismissal?! I am a teacher and I would absolutely embrace it. Most districts around us do it, parents and childcare sites figure it out, and teachers like the extra time for collaboration. We are so behind the times in Seattle, it's pathetic.

@Brian - thanks for doing a job I would never want. You are not compensated enough.

Wanting Contract

Melissa Westbrook said...

Mr. K, I admire your moxie (and signing your name).

I cannot speak to the sub issue except to say that the inability to find subs is a big huge. Sounds like there is work to be done in all directions.

Anonymous said...

Dear Wanting Contract

"parents and childcare sites figure it out..." ? No, parents are left with very few options already and now more not less predictability and straightforwardness mapping to conventional work schedules. It's one more layer of planning headaches for families. Families do not need one more layer of planning and navigating challenge in SPS.

Realist (and parent)

Anonymous said...

Why does the district run with such tight margins with its most affordable staff, to the point where they are often caught short-handed, but have such fat margins on the highest paid district employees at central? I think every time we are short a sub the principal should make a call down to Central and a director of something should have to drop everything and go sub at the short-handed school.

Tight Margins

Anonymous said...

Dear Realist

I am a parent as well as a teacher and I too will have to figure this out. Figuring out childcare is always stressful and difficult. However, allowing teachers the time they need to collaborate with their peers helps ensure high quality education. Parents in our county, state, and in fact across whole country are figuring out how to do this. We are not special snowflakes in Seattle. We can figure it out too. It would be the same day and time every week and just built into schedules.

Some examples:
Renton delays every other Friday
Lake Washington has early release every Wednesday
Mercer Island has early release every Wednesday

Wanting Contract

Anonymous said...

Mr. K, you are correct. Add to the fact that NCLB's HQ status also applies to substitute teachers in long term assignments and is directly related to the shortage as well.

FYI Peter Henry (Substitute President) is trying to organize subs. He's on the bargaining team.

Tight Margins, you are right on the money as well. Perhaps if Michael Tolley and some of other folks involved in C & I had to substitute every so often, they would have a better understanding about what happens in buildings and in actual classrooms.

Re planning for planning: If the District can close MCHS - High Point at the end of the school year without bothering to meet with teachers and parents--and the school board allowing it, I guess they figure they can get away with failing to provide opportunities to disclose other necessary information with the public.

--Baile Funk

Anonymous said...

No, Wanting Contract, a more irregular schedule, however regularly irregular, means more work for working families to plan the work-arounds. We already do this with kids starting school long long long after the regular work day is supposed to start - some as late as 9.35. No, parents don't need more work-around challenges in SPS. And if you have a student with a disability as many of us do, you have SPS putting even more challenges in front of families. Regular schedules that map to regular work days, is that really too much to ask, really?

working parent

Anonymous said...

I really don't like the 30 min extra instruction idea. We have to do a PE waiver so have to do sports afterschool. It gets dark around 4pm for several months here. We barely have enough time for dinner and homework after practice/races/lessons during the week, if we want kids to get to sleep at a reasonable time - not all kids can fall asleep right away, often they need a little time to wind down. I really don't see how 30 minutes is going to benefit students. If they add an extra period to the school day so kids can have 7 classes that'd be different., 30 min is just going to cause inconvenience and added work for teachers and staff and mess up kids' and parents' schedules for no benefit that I can see. Whose stupid idea is this?

CCA

Lynn said...

I've done the math and I think the longer day is meant to provide a two hour early release weekly for all schools. In high school, this schedule would allow for seven periods.

K-5 students last year had 350 instructional minutes a day. If we add 20 minutes to their day, we're at 370. Over 180 school days, this is 1,110 hours - or 110 hours over the required minimum. If two hours per week are used for early release there are 38 left for conferences, district training, etc.

High School students last year had 360 instructional minutes per day. Adding 30 minutes gets us to 390. Over 180 school days, this is 1,170 hours - or 90 over the required minimum. Using two hours a week for an early release leaves 18 hours for district training. 390 instructional minutes per day (less one two hour early release) gives us a partial block schedule of seven 56 minute periods (inclusive of passing) and two block days - one with three 90 minute classes and another with four 90 minute classes.

That's my guess at least.
I would be OK with this for my elementary student if recess was increased to 50 or 60 minutes. For high school, I'd be more interested if it was a weekly 2 hour late start than a two hour early release.

Lynn said...

CCA,

I think this change would allow seven periods in middle school - so maybe PE waivers wouldn't be necessary?

Anonymous said...

Until we actually have consistently effective PD I do not want additional early releases. In another district I served in with 30+ early releases per year it was like we negotiated ourselves into extra meetings - usually a waste of time (sometimes good strff happened, although it depended upon what team you were stuck with and one peer admitted her team was one of 4 in the building that reportedly was getting value out of the early releases). One year in Seattle my school had about 7-9 extras and most were a waste of time. Once a week (more or less) after school is plenty.

I respect that a lot of my peers want more collaboration time but lots of early releases DOES hinder our contact time with students and the most vulnerable are the ones who need the contact/teaching time. {OK, not at the expense in elementary of some recess/down-time during the day, but please don't give us more meetings when we don't have a history of effective PD from the district in the 1st place!}

There's a legitimate point made about how parents are not being included in this decision (district and teachers also both have had no input out if this is real) - there was a lot of parent backlash when we had 5 more days of early releases a couple years back. Let the district revisit this with the next bargaining team 3 years from now... mandating that the district actually show to meetings and can engage in real bargaining instead of a last minute surprise plan which guaranteed will not be well thought out by either side. This last minute unexpected discussion of early releases is unprofessional by both the district and union IF it is really happening as it wasn't on the oft emailed lists of demands. No more early releases - it's like bargaining for meetings which is stupid.

More meetings?

Anonymous said...

More meetings said "Until we actually have consistently effective PD I do not want additional early releases." Right on More Meetings. Well said.

Reader

Anonymous said...

I think this change would allow seven periods in middle school - so maybe PE waivers wouldn't be necessary?

Can you really do PE with 150+ middle school students crammed into a small gym each period? PE has proven chaotic and dangerous enough with two classes in there at once. I can't imagine trying to squeeze in 5, not to mention having 5 PE teachers on staff. I don't see how it works logistically.

HF

Anonymous said...

Lynn,

I don't believe the district is going to offer seven classes per
day. If they were then they would definitely say so specifically, since many parents would love to have another class period. We really don't know what they're planning to do, but 30 minutes longer for four days per week won't give enough time for an extra class during those four days unless they take away lunch! Also, they would need to hire more teachers to teach the 7th class, and offer teachers A.LOT.MORE.MONEY - imagine having to correct 210 papers or math homeworks per day!!

It'd be great if they would offer 7 periods, but Seattle schools have only had 6 periods for as long as I've been alive. I can't understand why, there are cities much poorer than Seattle that have 7 or even 8 periods for their schools. Of course those cities spend a lot less money on their central admin. and don't have superintendents that make more money than their governors, and a bunch of assistant superintendents, doing what tasks only God knows. I can't even figure out what Nyland does beside spamming our inboxes with bullying and lying emails! (Yes, I'm still angry about the emails threatening teachers over parents opting out of those stupid common core tests in the spring.)

CCA



Lynn said...

HF,

Sorry, I hadn't done that math. You're - right we don't have enough gym space. (Seems like the ed specs for our buildings need to be updated.)

CCA,

I think they might be planning seven periods for high school to prepare for the 24 credit graduation requirement. The state doesn't require a specific amount of instructional time per credit earned - so we could theoretically have seven periods without adding any time. I hope the teachers are thinking about this as they negotiate. If schools switch to seven periods, teachers cannot be required to have more than the current five classes to teach.

I am angry too. This resolution is going to be discussed by the board in an emergency meeting tomorrow: http://www.seattleschools.org/UserFiles/Servers/Server_543/File/District/Departments/School%20Board/15-16agendas/090815agenda/20150908_Action_Report_Resolution.pdf

The District considers a strike or the concerted refusal to provide contracted for services to be unlawful. Such action causes irreparably (sic) harm and disrupts the education program of the District, students, families and others.
In the event a strike or work stoppage commences, the residents of the District and the school age children in the community will be injured through the actions of the Seattle Education Association. Immediate Action by the Board of Directors on Resolution No. 2015/16-5 is in the best interest of the District.


Anonymous said...

Lynn that is totally preposterous. What about the behavior of the District since May when negotiations began. Including: failing (serially) to turn up for bargaining sessions, then dropping convoluted and extremely serious proposals in out of the blue two weeks prior to contract expiration. What is disruptive here? The district behavior or the teacher reaction? School Board Directors had better get a grip on this.

Appalled.

Tom said...

the Union cartel

Anonymous said...

Nyland goes to the Board today to ask permission to seek an injunction.

This is from Q-13

The union representing Seattle teachers says the district has called an emergency meeting Tuesday to discuss the option of taking teachers to court.

Teachers authorized the strike vote last week — something the district says opens the door for a lawsuit. If approved, the superintendent could take legal action against teacher in order to end a potential strike and get students back in class.

The school board will meet to discuss this option Tuesday night.

So for those Board members being an election year this should be interesting dependent upon the district and the feedback. Fun times ahead.

- Newser

Anonymous said...

You are kidding me about the injunction request?

I sincerely hope he is laughed out of court in the space of 10 minutes. That's the point of a union - the ability to collectively bargain, backed by the ability to strike. No injunction. They're not firefighters or air traffic controllers - people will be inconvenienced, yes, really seriously put out, by a strike - but no one's life is at risk, so yeah, they have the right to strike. Kids were not at school on Tuesday. They can all survive being not at school on Wednesday, even though it sucks for a lot of people. No basis for an injunction.

Requesting an injunction and failing just makes him look weaker - and the request itself poisons the negotiations - poor choice, if really happening.

If SPS doesn't want a strike then it should have negotiated earlier and better.

-- Math Counts

Anonymous said...

Nyland is using the Pasco court order as validation.. Pasco was ordered by a Judge to return to classes

The teachers union in Pasco has voted to remain on strike going against the injunction this is from the Olympian

PASCO, Wash.

Teachers in Pasco have voted not to return to the classroom despite a court order to end a strike.

The Tri-City Herald reports (http://bit.ly/1LUs9jn ) that the issue was decided "overwhelmingly" by voice vote Monday night.

Read more here: http://www.theolympian.com/news/state/washington/article34304322.html#storylink=cpy


-Newser

Unknown said...

Strike tomorrow, is the word from a principal on the administration bargaining team.

Eric

ProSleep Mom said...

People have been talking about the proposed schedule change- but please remember this 30 minutes could be in addition to the schedule changes regarding bell times that have been in the works for a number of years, slogging through the required process with numerous community meetings, Neighbor to Neighbor video/meetings, a survey (albeit seriously flawed one), EIS, etc.

The Superintendent will make his recommendation for Bell Times in October; more community meetings are on the calendar for end of September; the Board will vote by November.

The 30 minutes is more than is needed, as calculated by Lynn. I agree that this is all aimed at 1080/24 credits, so why go for 30 when much less is adequate? Is anyone reading serving on the 1080/24 credit Task Force and can enlighten us?

And again, Tolley stated at June 18th C & I that 15 minutes was all that would be needed get the block schedule they wanted.

Eric Muhs said...

Strike tomorrow, is the word from a principal on the administration bargaining team.

Eric

Eric Muhs said...

The word is that any schedule change, including the additional instructional minutes that's been so contentious in negotiations, is for NEXT year, vat this point. This has not been very clear, IMHO.

Eric

Anonymous said...

I am fully supportive of the teachers' strike. At the same time, as a parent, it feels as though we already have a half or full day every other week with no school (I recall checking the calendar for the coming year and seeing that this seems to be true at least for winter and spring quarter of the coming year). And this is along with the three days at the beginning of Thanksgiving week in elementary having no school for parent-teacher conferences (which, in my book, should be provided - and provided for contractually - at times outside the regular work day as much as possible, to make it possible for working parents to actually attend). And now my incoming middle schooler, who already does multiple after school sporting activities, is not allowed access to a PE waiver for 6th grade - and also does not have access to foreign language or art classes until 7th grade. This is all troubling to me.

Flummoxed Parent

Anonymous said...

Wasn't Nyland acting as Super in Marysville a few years back when teachers were on strike for quite a while? Is he known for confrontational tactics with teacher unions?

The union makes it clear the Board is their ultimate employer. Where are these teacher-supporting board members like Patu, Peters, Blandford?

They are the elected officials who can fire the super if they want, so why are they silent?

lab rat

Watching said...

I wouldn't support any proposal that involves sending students home 75 min. early each week.

Anonymous said...

I am imagining two rallies. One for the Central Administration perspective and one for the teachers.

For the administration side in the tiny parking lot next to the cavernous SPS HQ: the handful of suits not afraid to step foot outside JSCEE into an open-to-the-press event, a couple of Repub legislators, the fake grassroots Excellence Now reformie set (numbering maybe 5 adults because the rest wouldn't deign to picket in front of cameras) and whatever resident meth dealers living near JSCEE happen to stroll through the parking lot at that time.

On the teacher's side: A sea of teachers at every high school and most k-8 schools in town. Minions of parents.Democratically active politicians. Neighbors. Kids, dogs, and my grandma.

Drops mic.

DistrictWatcher

Melissa Westbrook said...

I think that each side will be able to document their efforts to head off a strike. If the union documents dates/times when the district showed up hours late or not at all, it will be clear who was truly trying to get back into the classroom.

I recall when Nyland was installed that I corresponded with a Marysville teacher who said that Nyland was not the nice guy he projects during their negotiations. (Some may see that as a plus but I am also hearing that he sometimes is more aggressive with some staff than others. Maybe we are starting to see his true face as an administrator.)

Tapestry said...

Hmmm... I wasn't sure about this school board until now. The fact that they're threatening teachers with an injunction before a strike has even started speaks volumes about what this school board thinks of teachers. Apparently they believe teachers are slaves not worthy of any respect. It also explains why the district administration is refusing to even bargain in good faith.

Anonymous said...

The 30 minutes is more than is needed, as calculated by Lynn. I agree that this is all aimed at 1080/24 credits, so why go for 30 when much less is adequate?

I'm not seeing the math as so clear. Our current 180 day, 6hr/day secondary schedule gets us exactly 1080hrs. An extra half hour per day for 4 days/wk would be fully offset by a 2-hr early release or late start each week, so we'd still be just barely at that 1080 minimum.

I think part of the problem is the lack of clarity in the WAC. A "day", for purpose of meeting the 180-day requirement, can be very short, so we end up with a lot of partial days. But the 1080 hour requirement is based on hours. I think I saw something about Dorn wanting to eliminate all those half days, so maybe this is about actually getting in the hours. Our current 180-day, 6hr/day schedule doesn't really get us all that close to the 1080 mark given all the official--and unofficial--short days, right?

HF

Ragweed said...

Tapestry - the school board is not calling for an injunction. Larry Nyland is calling an emergency meeting of the board to ask them to approve an injunction. Lets wait till after that meeting to judge the board.

Anonymous said...

The fact that they're threatening teachers with an injunction before a strike has even started speaks volumes about what this school board thinks of teachers.

It's staff, not the board, isn't it? Staff put this on for board consideration. Could the board really just ignore it and not have the meeting? It would seem like they'd need to have something in place re: school security, etc. Maybe they will push back and support logistical plans for strike days (e.g, building closures, etc.), but not the injunction request.

HF

Robert Cruickshank said...

Rob McKenna and other right-wingers have been calling for court injunctions to be used against striking teachers for years, and have revived those calls in recent weeks. If the Seattle School Board sides with Republicans on this, then any board member who voted to do so - looking right at you, Marty McLaren - should be voted out of office at the next possible opportunity.

Nyland has completely mishandled these negotiations and is provoking a strike that the community does not want. This proves it was wrong of Peaslee to force him onto the district last fall, and suggests he needs to leave his job as soon as possible.

Lynn said...

HF,

A school that currently has a 3:00 ending time would go until 3:30 for four days and until 1:30 the other. That's an additional .5 instructional hour per week. Why are they doing this? The state used to allow waivers of instructional hours for professional development/district training so they could be offered within the 180 school days. This will be changing. The district is essentially asking teachers to work 18 hours more per year (likely attending trainings) without additional pay. I don't think the state has increased the salary schedule for this yet because the change isn't required to happen within the current two year budget.
The union's idea of going for a two year contract with no increase in the school day is a good one. That will allow them to see what the state will provide for the extra time.

Watching said...


I don't know who Tapestry is, but he/she needs to get their facts straight. Larry Nylnd and legal have put forth a BAR, and the board will vote.

The board has NOT put forth a proposal and they have NOT taken action.

The BAR is here:

http://www.seattleschools.org/UserFiles/Servers/Server_543/File/District/Departments/School%20Board/15-16agendas/090815agenda/20150908_Action_Report_Resolution.pdf

Anonymous said...

It does seem as if the District has been more than disingenuous in this whole scenario - delaying negotiations until last minute, letting news coverage paint the teachers as the only "bad" people, as if it's all about wanting raises, when teachers are just trying to catch up to real-life costs. That, coupled with recent Admin raises just leaves such a bad taste. I didn't care for Nyland when he was anointed. I have zero respect for him now. And I would agree - those Board members running for office should think very carefully about their vote on an injunction and it's possible impact on successful re-election.

reader47

Watching said...

We need to see strong leadership from the Sherry Carr- the board's President. So far, she has been silent.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know whether it's routine in these situations for a superintendent to go to a board to get authority to pursue litigation this early in the process? I have no idea, it just seems to me that if I were Nylund I would have held off as long as the negotiations were making progress. I wasn't able to find the resolution itself online earlier today but I'm guessing that it is pretty open ended and would give him broad authority. The board should reject that, particularly at this point, and ideally would pressure Nylund to get to a contract asap. Time for us to contact the board and apply our own pressure.

Lawyer Mom

Anonymous said...

Sure, the board could vote for an injunction. They have the right to do so and in the thinking of some it would show Supt. Nyland that the board supports his leadership. HOWEVER, the act of doing so would have long-term damaging effects on teacher-administration collaboration and would just make the next contract negotiation that much more difficult.

The board can and should split the difference: All directors can speak up tonight saying they support Supt. Nyland while saying in the spirit of partnership they do not wish to file the injunction at this time. They can also say that they will revisit this issue at/before their next meeting and that they expect both sides to come to terms in short order.

I doubt Supt. Nyland wants a fullblown strike on his watch. I expect there will be a strike tomorrow and possibly for the rest of the week as talks continue and that at latest it will be back to school on Sept. 14. Unless the SEA is backed against the wall with an injunction and decides fighting is more important than bargaining. That's why the injunction is a bad move.

EdVoter

Anonymous said...

I have nothing substantive to offer, but I got to say, I cannot believe how much information I gleaned from this discussion. Thanks Mr. K for updating on subs, Eric for the info on the strike, everyone for a discussion of the instructional time question .

I agree that the District FAQ sounds like an infomercial; I've noted a substantive increase of people selling me marketing when they should be giving me neutral information. I hate it so much; makes me not trust anything anyone says.

Also, the permanent substitute pool is the right answer to staffing needs in a district as large as Seattle. How many subs are needed on a given day? There should be permanent subs for the majority of those positions.

zb

Anonymous said...

Let me be the first to put it out there. God bless the two sides for wanting to stick to their guns. Eventually they'll hash it out. I hope the teachers get most of what they think they need to be successful.

For our family, success means pairing school with other activities of importance - learning, family, extracurriculars, etc. Which means that every day tacked onto the end of an already-long school year to make up the strike days will be days my kids don't attend. Many families make plans a year in advance. On June 23rd their summer starts. Unexcused? So be it.

North Mom

Longhouse said...

"Lets wait till after that meeting to judge the board."

"It's staff, not the board, isn't it?"

Do some of you actually think the board works for Nyland?

Nyland's job is to do what the board tells him to do. He works for the school board. He was hired by them and he can be fired by them. Agreed that he is living up to his Marysville reputation as being confrontational.

The board has received regular updates on negotiations -- sometimes even daily updates and has been asked for their approval on several compromises which they have rejected. The board is asking for the longer school day without pay, the pathetic raise offer, etc. etc.

If you want to see a tentative contract and avoid a strike then let the school board members know how you feel.

Anonymous said...

I doubt Supt. Nyland wants a fullblown strike on his watch I sincerely hope this is true, but if one subscribes to conspiracy theories (hard not to do when it comes to SPS admin) then maybe he really DOES want one - because that's yet another "dysfunctional" nail in the coffin, leading to Mayorial control.

I urge everyone to let the Board know how they feel about this - parents/community has been pretty effectively left out. Remind them we count too ;)

reader47

Anonymous said...

The last time Nyland was in a strike it lasted 49 days. Realistically I expect this one to be no different, especially as they are still so far apart on compensation. Looking forward to a January start. Feel pretty bad for those seniors who might need next summer to make money, and hope the bargaining teams on both sides work really hard and think creatively during this last, best shot today.

And yes it is typical to get the injunction now, just pro forma. I don't really see that as pressure (and I doubt SEA does, either- there are no actual penalties associated with violating the strike law. This is just people making sure they look like they did due diligence, no real threats.).

Older parent

Tapestry said...

"I don't know who Tapestry is, but he/she needs to get their facts straight."

Wow. Did you even read your own link? It says right in the resolution he's asking for authority to take legal action.

"taking legal action to address any strike or concerted activity."

Please... think before writing.

ProSleep Mom said...

@Lynn
"A school that currently has a 3:00 ending time would go until 3:30 for four days and until 1:30 the other. That's an additional .5 instructional hour per week"

All I can think of is that this is a back door tactic to kill the bell time reforms. The survey showed strong support from students, teachers, principals, parents, nurses, staff, community- pretty much everyone except downtown admin. But moving HS an hour for bell time reform and then adding another 30 minutes will kill it- and that is their plan, along with making the district seem totally disfunctional, and ripe for Mayoral control.

I agree with Lynn that a two year contract without an increase in the school day is what is called for.


Melissa Westbrook said...

"The board has received regular updates on negotiations -- sometimes even daily updates and has been asked for their approval on several compromises which they have rejected. The board is asking for the longer school day without pay, the pathetic raise offer, etc. etc."

Longhouse, please name your sources for this information. I have no doubt the Board receives daily updates but asked for approval on compromises? I have never heard of that happening.

Anonymous said...

Lynn, isn't that the issue? If you have a PD waiver you can still count those days toward the 180 day reqt, but those PD hours don't count toward the new 1080 hr reqt. There's a mismatch there--so if you've been operating at the minimum, you might not be able to use your PD waiver days after all. I think that's why we need more hours as baseline--although the district should absolutely compensate teachers for them. If the state requires 1080 hrs, and teachers need an additional x hrs in other required time, they should be compensated for it all. If the state isn't covering it, the district needs to.

Me, I'd much rather see them add a couple weeks to the school year than make the days longer. All the data Nyland cited in his PR piece on increasing instructional time was about longer school years, not longer days. And since summer learning loss impacts low income students much more, a slightly longer school year might help reduce the achievement gap, too.

HF

Anonymous said...

Nyland wasn't responsible for the 49-day strike in Marysville in fall of 2003. Linda Whitehead was superintendent of the Marysville School District at that time. Nyland was hired in May of 2004, and was brought in to clean up a seriously messed up district that had just laid off 51 teachers and had started the year off with a massive strike. According to his retirement article in the Everett Herald from 2013, he was credited for calming things down a bit that first year on the job. I'm not saying he's doing a great job now, but just don't want people to think we're doomed to another 49 days here.

http://www.seattlepi.com/local/article/Marysville-schools-boss-apparently-ousted-1138555.php
http://old.seattletimes.com/html/education/2001927491_marysville13m.html
http://www.heraldnet.com/article/20130612/NEWS01/706129953

Hopeful

Lynne Cohee said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Fyi the SEA website has a "bargaining" link with negotiations status updates, including one posted this morning. It says that they'll be posting another update this afternoon.

Lawyer Mom

Maureen said...

Thanks for those links Hopeful, I had heard a similar story but didn't have time to go look it up. It seems like that is a good sign. It seems to me that we're much better off with Nyland in the position than we would have been with Maria Goodloe Johnson.

Longhouse said...

Thanks Hopeful.

I did not know that Donaghy had been president of the Highline teachers union and had negotiated previously with Nyland. I'm not saying there's anything nefarious about that, but I wonder if he'd say the same flattering things about Nyland now?

Anonymous said...

Everybody wants more. I'm sorry subs but I always leave easy plans to follow because you all don't teach my kids the way I do and you're not always up to date in the curricula. Every recently retired teacher at my school is now subbing here. They like the extra money and they know they are not doing the job they used to have to do. I would be surprised if our shortage of subs was actually because people don't want to sub. Is there evidence of that? Even my school has had rare shortages but isn't that because Seattle doesn't hire an adequate cadre? If you are long term, absolutely you should be paid commensurate with teachers but probably without bennies although I'm flexible there. One-day or two-day subs, sorry.

No evals, no parent issues, no overtime, what's so bad about subbing? My subs don't even correct papers anymore. And teachers hate to write plans! Most of us have many hours of sick leave to avoid having to write plans for subs. My best times were subbing many years ago because I learned so much - that as a young new teacher. Our retired teachers come in, earn some money, stay in touch, and go home smiling.


Maybe you should retire and let someone else smile and teach kids. Wow just wow how you treat your colleagues. Civics I assume not on your lesson plans either. I support the sub in this case versus the teacher. I would rather have my kid learn from him.

- Parent

dan dempsey said...

HF commented: on MORE days vs. Longer days..

Having spent time teaching in really rural Nevada with really long days but only 4 days a week. The data reveals that more days (but shorter) produces better test results than fewer days (but longer).

Perhaps WA State needs to fund more instruction school days per year and fund PD days outside of the instructional days... stop the late starts and early releases.
How about a two week longer year ... 5 more instructional days and 5 PD days sprinkled about. The state is not yet funding McCleary -- go big or go home!!

I taught in Fife which had 90 minute periods (4 period day) and West Seattle 85 minute (4 period day).

I would really like it if the SPS would make a major overhaul at the high school level to something like Vashon Island's HS schedule of trimester classes on a 5 period day.

Garfield HS runs 6 - 55 minute classes with day start at 7:50 and end at 2:20

55 minutes x 180 days = 9900 minutes of actual in class instructional time
165 hours per class

165 hours per class x 6 classes = actual 990 hours in class for the year.

Teachers have 1 period of 55 minutes for planning and preparation = 165 hours per year.

====
5 period day of 70 minutes per class for the year, would produce 210 hours per class per year and 1050 actual hours in class over 180 days. (Which should satisfy Olympia)

Teachers would have 210 planning hours per year.
====

To accommodate such a plan would likely require a bell schedule like this, where teachers offer 5 more minutes per day of instruction than currently:

Start Time: 7:50 am
End Time: 2:35 pm
Period Time
1st 7:50-9:00 am
2nd 9:05-10:15 am
Break 10:15-10:25 am
3rd 10:25-11:35 am
Lunch 11:35-12:05 pm
4th 12:10-1:20 pm
5th 1:25-2:35 pm

While students would only take 20 year long course credits per 4 years.
This trimester schedule allows courses to be presented in trimester increments rather than semester increments. So Algebra I might run for 3 trimesters (210 hours) but some electives might be 1 trimester (70 hours).

Teaching 5 at 55 minutes = 275 minutes instruction per teacher per day
with 55 minutes for planning
Teaching 4 at 70 minutes = 280 minutes instruction per teacher per day
with 70 minutes for planning

About staffing and class sizes:
with a 1200 student high school to have an average class size of 25 requires
48 sections at a time. On a 6 period day only 5/6 of teachers are teaching during a period. 1/6 of teachers are planning at any given time. So 58 teachers needed.

On a 5 period day 4/5 of teachers are teaching. Thus 60 teachers are needed.

Lynn said...

Dan,

What about the 24 credit graduation requirement?

Anonymous said...

Lynn,

Excellent question. I wonder what Vashon will do if they are still using the 5 seventy-two minute periods?

To get the 4 extra credits in 20 classes offered over 4 years means each class needs to be worth 1.2 credits per year or each trimester is worth 0.4 credits. That is not too unrealistic as current SPS semester classes are worth 0.5 credits.

-- Dan

Anonymous said...

Note: Lots of small rural high schools run 7 periods at 50 minutes => 350 instructional minutes per day = 5 and 5/6 hours per day = 1050 instructional hours per year in the classroom.

-- Dan