Monday, September 14, 2015

Latest Update from SPS on Teacher Contract Negotiations - NO SCHOOL ON TUESDAY

Update:  From SPS' Negotiation page, a long chart of the timeline of events and issues put forth.  Interesting reading.

end of update

West Seattle Blog Tweet:

District is studying new SEA offer, but NO SCHOOL TOMORROW, per district @ 3 pm briefing.

More from the West Seattle Blog:

Because of the strike’s length, spokesperson Stacy Howard says, there’ll be some turnaround time whenever the strike finally ends. 

She is discussing a few other points such as special education – the topic of a demonstration here earlier in the day. 

As for “the strike impacts on the calendar” – the three snow days on the calendar will be used, for starters, one midyear, two at the end of the school year – “all additional makeup days” will be determined once the strike is over. Possible ideas: Saturdays, and/or part of the mid-winter break (which was scheduled for five days this year – alternating years have shorter breaks). 

Re: graduation days – Seniors are required to be in school 175 days before graduation, so graduation dates might have to change. 

As reported here yesterday, middle-school athletic events are postponed. High-school practices and games “continue to go on as usual – a lot of those employees are in different unions or not in unions at all,” says Howard. 

She says that by the time this news conference is over, the district expects to have a “timeline” posted online from negotiations to date.

53 comments:

Anonymous said...

Quite a few tweets that parents and SEA/WEA members were apparently kicked out of SPS's press briefing today - security cited. Seems like an odd choice however...

reader47

Shawn Anderson said...

Looks like SEA and WEA representatives were kicked out prior to the 3PM presser: https://twitter.com/SeattleEA/status/643546669498273792

Anonymous said...

Is that just a publicity stunt for SEA? It did say you needed press credentials. Kind of immature and unprofessional on the part of SEA.
Marie

Anonymous said...

School on Saturday?!?!

Mag mom

Anonymous said...

SEA needs to be having its own daily press releases and press conferences. This is kindergarten pr stuff, so to speak. Get on it.

PR Mom

Melissa Westbrook said...

The district is being quite strict on "press credentials" citing the SEA members who surrounded the Superintendent's car one day last week, singing and refusing to allow him to leave.

Anonymous said...

Not my kid. No school on Saturdays for us. And we are done on June 23 when the calendar says we are done. SPS needs to get it's act together and find a deal. We support our teachers all the way. But kids have lives outside of school too, and they didn't ask for any of this. The Saturday threat is just another attempt to scare parents and bully teachers.
- Grade 5 Mom.

Anonymous said...

I believe most of our teachers care about students, but not SEA. SEA is shamelessly using our kids as pawns. I don't think SPS should give in at this point. I also think their needs to be a drastic reduction in staff at the district's headquarters. This strike is showing the worst of both sides with our kids stuck in the middle.

Insanity wins

Melissa Westbrook said...

Is it "give in" or settle or find compromise and consensus? I wonder.

Anonymous said...

Give in to what? Does anyone know? The money seems to be the only element made public. As a teacher, it looks like we are "giving in" because we don't really know what we are "getting" in this process.
-MoreInfoPLZ

Anonymous said...

Hmmm....
there are some awfully big time gaps on that chart that SPS put out - not the least is this: "June 23 - July 23: Per SEA request, bargaining is suspended." Wait. SEA asked to suspend talks for an entire month?????!!! That is fascinating and troubling at the same time. At this point, I don't think either side is being entirely forthright.....

reader47

Anonymous said...

What did they say about special ed ratios & ESA case load caps? Rumors are that it is very bad news in that negotiation. Any updates?

-Sped volunteer

Greenwoody said...

No doubt that SPS, as awful as they are, have been doing a better job with PR than SEA/WEA. But this is no surprise given that SEA/WEA have never been very effective at PR. The teachers do still have the public on their side, and the public's anger at the district is only getting deeper. But SEA/WEA do need to step it up here and do better to explain their own side of things.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

I think most people do support the teachers, but SEA is looking like it has a wider political agenda than the Seattle district. This seems very unfair to our teachers and students.
Marie

Anonymous said...

Not if the political agenda has to do with funding education (state!!!) or the unfair use of test scores to evaluate teachers. Or helping kids with special needs have those amply met! It is the political issues that are the more difficult to resolve right now. But don't show us $$ proposals! We want to see what the current proposals are on those political issues.
-MoreInfoPRETTYPLZ

GarfieldMom said...

They've had that timeline ready to for a couple of days. It was live on the site for a little while (anyone remember I predicted they would trot out a timeline? They waited a bit longer than I thought, but it's here now!)

If you don't understand the dueling pay raises, go to the post on Teacher Pay a little down the page and visit that blog. Once you understand it a bit more, forget about it and focus on the other issues. It's a distraction at this point. I don't think there's a single teacher who wants to sacrifice the other issues for more pay.

Anonymous said...

I support teachers and students. However, my 7th grade kid has plans for a summer enrichment activity that starts June 26. So, if school goes after that, I don't plan on him being there at school. Families can vote with their feet, as they did with the Smarter Balanced test.
NEmom

Melissa Westbrook said...

GarfieldMom, I totally agree.

I have not had one teacher say - here or in person -that the money was the thing. All teachers truly want is to be supported in their classrooms, with appropriate supports.

Mother of MS and HS students said...

I would rather make up classes on Saturday and winter break. This is very hard for HS kids that have to take AP and IB tests on the same day in May as everyone else in the country but have less time to prepare.

I relate to the comment that OUR TEACHERS care about our students -- but SEA cares more about its own power .

Anonymous said...

I agree with Mother of MS and HS students. My high schooler is getting pretty anxious about this. I don't know what to tell him except that he'll be ready when the time comes. Going into next summer is no help here.

monkeypuzzled said...

I was at the demonstration this morning, and it was great! Good turnout, lots of media ... I even let myself be drafted to talk to a q13 guy about the issues of special education staffing ratios and ESA caseloads and how they were being overshadowed by the details of salary negotiations. What happened? Q13 aired 3 pictures of the rally embedded in a story about childcare during the strike. KIRO was also there filming and interviewing, and while they managed to actually run the footage, it was backing up a story entitled Strike Affects School Year Calendar. The words "special education" were never mentioned in either story.

It's enough to make a person cynical, almost.

Anonymous said...

I have lots of time to chat with other educators on the picket line. So far ALL share my concern and passion about the non-salary issues being bargained. We hope and expect that our bargaining team will hold firm on our demands (which are both necessary and reasonable). We will walk endlessly in solidarity for these issues.

and parents! Community! Your support is amazing! Thank you so much for recognizing that we are truly fighting for all of our kids. We know it's inconvenient. We will win this together!

Just Striker

n said...

Joe responds to Boston teacher pay comment here Scroll to bottom.

I don't see that SEA cares more about its own power. These are difficult issues and go very deep with all of us. As I've said before, my own issues are planning time, more attention to elementary and sped ratios. Also, attention to OTs, PTs and SLPs. Things are becoming transparent that many of us didn't realize.

I want them to push with as much strength and "power" as they can muster. I don't even understand such a comment. It's been over two decades since teachers stood up for themselves. Parents are standing up for teachers and kids. To think this is all about power for SEA - how do you think they would benefit from such a move. Besides, I am SEA.

Anonymous said...

InsanityWins, the kids aren't the only ones being used as pawns in this. The teachers have very little say in what is happening at this point, and regarding the SEA's utter PR failure, we're just as much in the dark on most details as the parents & greater community. Many of us are frustrated with the propaganda-laden dog & pony show being run on both sides, ostensibly on behalf of our students. We want to do our jobs. We also want to be appropriately supported in & compensated for doing our jobs. Unfortunately, the necessary fight is so far outside our sphere of influence as to make tragically ironic the vehemence with which accusations & assumptions have been traded throughout this particular round of pageantry. We're angry at the wrong people, and that goes for both sides.

SPS execs will be getting their full paychecks on October 1st, while teachers & parents take the hit. On the other side of the table, the SEA has called the district's bluff with their own, all the while being goaded on by WEA/NEA leadership (who will also be receiving full paychecks come 10/1, and don't forget that many of these friendly state & national-level union consultants are pulling in as much or more than the SPS execs in question). Can you blame the minions at the Stanford Center for getting while the getting is good? That's bureaucracy, and always has been. No use getting worked up over it. Whatever they can't stuff in their pockets without drawing too much attention falls down to us at the schools. The SAEOP/ESA workload issues, along with recess, testing, and commensurate salaries, are casualties of a carefully and intentionally crafted system designed to allow many hands into the pot before it's passed down to the district level. If SPS received "appropriate" funding, we'd simply be getting more scraps from the masters' table. Much effort has been made to shift the blame to the WA Legislature, but they're just one step up on the salmon ladder of corruption, with their own pockets to fill and their own masters to beg.

And let's not forget that we're fighting over scraps. Most of the pie has been carved off before we're ever allowed to fight over the crumbs. The proposed percentages being tossed back and forth only cover the relatively small portion of our salaries that are paid directly through SPS funds (as opposed to state level funding or levies). The SPS bargaining teams' salaries with their "staggering" six digits are nothing compared to the greater forces at work. Add another four or five digits, and then we see where the deals are really being made. Pearson, ETS, and the rest of the education-industrial complex couldn't give a flip about who "wins" this pissing match, because they get paid either way. All of this social & political pandering is just smoke & mirrors, intended to distract us long enough that we forget who really deserves our anger.

Let's just cut this baby down the middle and get the kids & teachers back into the classrooms where they belong. Let the SEA leadership strut away from the table with their collective head held high & tail between their legs. Let SPS get back to business as usual. And let my colleagues & me get back to what we do best, building the revolution one young mind at a time.

-Rook

n said...

Boy, that's a classic totally unproductive political rant. Administrators made the decisions to go with Pearson, common core, math programs that aren't. I'm as disappointed in our national give-aways as you are but schools are local and not every school administration ignored their feduciary responsibility like Seattle did. You darn right I hold them accountable. And, yes, they have stuffed their pockets. But if you don't want to fight back, at least let those of us who are willing to give it a go.

Anonymous said...

Mother. Do our teachers really care? Will they settle for a 4% raise by selling out sped programs? If so, support for them will plummet. I think they will sellout sped, in a heartbeat. Look at the signs. It's all about the money, even if it is a pittance.

Speddie

Melissa Westbrook said...

Very well said, Rook. A tad bitter but who can blame you?

Agree with Rook! said...

Wow, Rook, YES! And so well put!

Anonymous said...

Soup for Teachers is has posted that principal's have been asked to have one-on-one meetings with their building staff ... can anyone confirm?

North by NW

Anonymous said...

I think that SEA should answer to its members for its utter failure to have a PR or traditional media or social media strategy. Or even transparent communication with its members. But they are not part of the larger conversation right now. Get in the game, guys!

-Rare Commenter

Anonymous said...

@ North by NW, would they expect teachers to cross the picket line to do this? I hope not. I also hope these (rumored) meetings aren't about the earring teachers with job loss.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Melissa. And not to be defensive or argumentative, but what about what I said came off as bitter? Genuinely looking for constructive criticism here, as I'm always trying to improve the entertainment value of my soapbox rants.

And n, what gives you the impression that I don't want to fight back? Every year I send 27+ little sparks out into the world, sustained by the hope that one of them will set it on fire. Teachers have had their hand in countless social & political revolutions, rarely demanding or receiving credit for cultivating the ideas & ideals that result in massive cultural shifts. We are the single greatest subversive force in the history of human civilization, which perhaps is why we are so vilified by those whose power is threatened by such changes.

-Rook

Teacher said...

I would love to have my two kids' in Rook's class!

Anonymous said...

I got an earful from a disgruntled SEA employee when the strike started last week. What seemed like a crazy conspiracy theory at the time is seeming less crazy the more I read here. So I will share this theory.

He said the SEA always wanted to strike. He has connections to the negotiating team and said that the district had been trying to meet with the SEA all summer but they stonewalled. He thought the SEA was intentionally asking for more than the district could ever provide. And that the SEA was manipulating it's membership by playing up the "disrespect" card and saying the district never tried to bargain over the summer when that was not true.

Furthermore, he accused the SEA of having taking a bunch of money in a grant from the national level union group in exchange for their assurance that they would be going on strike if the national (or state?) union group told them to.

I asked the obvious question - Why? He said it was all a political game regarding McLeary money. The state or national union wants to force the issue with the legislature and they want to make sure that, since everybody is lining up with ways to spend the money once the check gets written, the McLeary money will go to the union membership. The higher union powers picked Seattle because we would tolerate it. That is, the district is very unpopular and they think the people of Seattle provide their best place to find people who will support a long strike with (currently) impossible union demands and still blame the district no matter what happens. All of this will result so much frustration that everyone from every side will be pissed at Legislature and they will go into special session and give the Union exactly what they want at the state level.

He was pissed because he felt like the teachers and the kids were being used as pawns that that anybody in the union who questions the party line is brutally shut down and shunned. And because nobody who is bargaining is supposed to talk about what is actually happening, the SEA can lie about what is happening to get their membership fired up and feeling even more disrespected so they won't look at the offers rationally. He said it was a game plan from a political book Whats Wrong With Kansas.

What seemed crazy a week ago to me seems more realistic now. Can anyone confirm if the SEA took national money that other unions didn't get? Can any other part be confirmed or denied? Can we just get our kids back in school?

NE DAD

n said...

Sorry, Rook, but I can't be so flip. NEA, WEA - who cares. Legislators - yeah, we can work on them. But our current struggle is with the local bureaucracy and they are the ones who make the decisions directly impacting us. Propaganda on both sides . . . dog and pony show . . . I don't see it. I see a tired Campano struggling to get the best she can for teachers. She is a spec ed teacher herself. cut this baby down the middle Oh, which half of the baby do you want to throw out? This isn't just about you. We teachers have been left behind so long that there is no simple fix. The game is on and I for one hope we finish it. If we don't in the long run we lose and our kids lose. Once in thirty years. Man, you want to quit?

n said...

Conspiracy theories. Oh man. I guess we're doomed to fail. Rook, was that you again? Interesting timing. I hope not.

seattle citizen said...

Wow, NE dad, that's some theory...proofs? All 5000 members are in the dark about this? The 40 on the bargaining team are in on it? I know one of them personally - known him since I was six; we went through k-12 in same, small district, graduated same class - and, uh....no. I trust him completely and the conspiracy theory you posit is patently ridiculous.
And anyone who speaks out against these (secret) union plots is "brutally shut down and shunned"? By who? Rank and file?
Though I DO wish there had been a paper ballot at strike vote. While it sounded like it was unanimous, and doubtless, it seems, almost everybody wanted to authorize a strike, it certainly shut down naysayers. They could have said nay, if they were brave, but it would have been intimidating, I'm sure.
But it ended at what, 7:30? and I'm sure people figured a voice vote would carry it so everybody could go home. From all accounts it was pretty clear that the vast majority wanted to vote to strike.
The union drumming up the feelings of disrespect? No, it appears that the district has been working on that for at least a decade now.
Nope.

veteran sub said...

NE DAD,

I did not have a very good impression of the SEA president after the last contract vote, so I came into this one with considerable skepticism. However, the fact that we've got 38 people on the bargaining team from across the district & numerous job fields ALL on the same page erased my doubts about the story of this summer's negotiations. The ones that I've worked with (in the classroom) have struck me as thoughtful, honest people, and even now they aren't using any inflammatory rhetoric or name-calling when they talk about the district & the process. They just want to get this done, and they don't feel like they've had equal investment from the other side of the table until things got to the point of crisis.

It's also worth noting that yes, Seattle's schools are demonstrably underfunded. I'm not sure how the SEA deciding to fight for better funding translates into the sort of scheme you're suggesting.

Lone Gunman said...

Hoo boy NE dad. Yeah, that was SEA on that grassy knoll that day in Dallas too.

Anonymous said...

Rook,
That is why many folks home school. Off the rails educators ready to brainwash young minds into parroting their ideas. We don't need teachers with agendas. There is no way for parents to screen your activism. There is no way for parents to choose teachers here. Scary.

Are you familiar with the biblical baby splitting verses? Makes a parent sick to think of it. The real mother demures to keep the child whole. That's love. Your baby splitting does make you sound bitter. How is that for feedback.

West

Anonymous said...

NE Dad -- I think your first impulse was correct. You are sharing a crazy conspiracy theory.

I have talked to a real live person on the SEA negotiating team whom I have known for many years. This person combines the roles of teacher, parent, and real life person -- not someone who would intentionally drive the car over a cliff. This person was sincerely upset by the lack of productive negotiations on the SPS side over the course of the summer, not to mention the last minute add-on demand of extra time without extra pay.

So, rest easy, no need to spin that one further.

NE Mom

Anonymous said...

NE mom,

Opposite experience, long time friend of member of the SPS team. I am blown away about the claims being made about the SPS team. The link posted at the top of the page as an update is pretty consistent to what I have hear all spring/summer. Including that the extended student day was presented by Tolley back before school even ended for the 14-15 year and that a whole month of bargains was lost because SEA wanted to take a break. Maybe we all need to check the rhetoric and ask for real proof.

-SWWS

seattle citizen said...

West, I'm curious: admittedly, some teachers are more "agenda" driven than others. But it's impossible for ANYBODY to stand in front of a group of students (or five groups) for 180 days and completely suppress ALL personal aspects of their beliefs, ideals, motivations, etc. Ideally, teachers would, but students aren't dumb; they figure stuff out.
But students will have, what, forty teachers in 12 years, right? I suggest it benefits students to have a variety of REAL people in front of them, so they can be exposed to a variety of adult perspectives, both good and, yes, bad, and learn to think critically about what these adults think about.
NOT that teachers should be actively advocating for one side or another....but it slips out, sometimes....
And I'm curious as to how one would CHOOSE their teachers on a regular basis. You write that you can't do it "here"; where COULD you? Maybe a REQUEST at elementary, and for specific electives, etc in MS and HS....but you do understand how difficult it is to schedule 1500 students into six periods with seventy five or so teachers, I hope! : )

Anonymous said...

West- Yes, I have an agenda: to live in a world with fewer selfish, narrow-minded people. Often that means putting up with selfish, narrow-minded people as I try to help their children open their minds to different perspectives. You should try it, it's loads of fun. Also, the baby is a metaphor. Actual babies were a dime a dozen back then.

n- On a similar note, no part of the baby was thrown out. Solomon proposed that each side get exactly half of what they wanted, mostly so that everybody could just get on with it and he could get back to writing songs for his many, many wives.

NE DAD- Haters gonna hate. Many folks will reject evidence as "conspiracy theory" out of simple ego. "If that was really going on, I'd know about it," and that sort of self-affirming recursive nonsense. The sad truth is that this has been done right under our noses, and has been going on for nigh 50 years. No one likes to feel like they've been had. Some can't process the confused anger, and so dismiss it out of hand; others learn from their mistakes and seek to help others learn as well. Keep fighting the good fight.

-Rook

Melissa Westbrook said...

Rook, maybe bitter was the wrong word. Maybe "pragmatic" or maybe just "pained."

Because most of the teachers I know LOVE to teach. Really, really love being a teacher and all this testing and arguing and piling on just gets in the way.

n said...

That's only one way to look at it. Instead of having a healthy baby going forward, you have an anemic one until the next go around. And then you'll be trying to bring it up to health again. Two sides to the same coin, I guess.

Anonymous said...

So I heard that J Knapp was on MSNBC today. He didn't mention the difficulties of the district in embracing its obligations to students with disabilities and the challenge on the table to resist further cuts into our kids' ability to access their LRE in GenEd. That would have made J Knapp a hero. Why doesn't J Knapp want to be a hero? Has he already conceded our kids' access to General Education in order to get some other goodies that in his view are somehow more important?

Curious

n said...

Solomon knew the true mother would give up the baby out of love. Think about the message in that and apply it here. That's why Solomon was considered wise. So, should SEA let go on behalf of getting kids back to school however compromised? Or should the district give in and find a way to truly provide full educational services to all children even if it means they have to sacrifice a little?

veteran sub said...

Curious,

If this whole experience teaches people anything, it's that they shouldn't expect to get the full story on ANYTHING from television news. Knapp could be the bestest hero ever, or he could be the author of all of the district's troubles, or he could be anything in between, and you'd never know it from a segment on television.

They're not trying to inform you. They're trying to sell commercials. They do that by keeping you outraged, keeping you afraid, and keeping you in front of the television.

Anonymous said...

From SEA today:

The Seattle Education Association has reached a tentative contract agreement with the Seattle School Board, but the strike will continue until the SEA board and representative assembly review the agreement later today and decide whether to recommend approval to the SEA membership or continue striking.
SEA members should report to their picket locations today beginning at 8:30 am. SEA picket captains will provide more information to SEA members regarding next steps.

HP

Anonymous said...

NE Dad's post isn't exactly right in all the details but it's closer to the truth than anyone in the high union leadership would like to admit.

- follow the money

Anonymous said...

NE Dad,

Probably less of a fan of the union as an organization for long term reasons no need to go into, but I do enjoy the great majority of my colleagues and there's truth to the "teachers are the union". I intermittently joined the strike but more so out of my constant frustration with my personal interactions with the JSC (a few are really good/dedicated) than union loyalty.

For me and many others we don't need some type of national union conspiracy. We barely avoided a strike 2 years ago with the hope that things would get better in our day to day interactions with the district. They didn't and that is so frequently our personal and regular experience. It doesn't take outside manipulation by some national union to antagonize us to central admin as they manage to do that on their own on way too regular a basis. The Super and JSC leadership has to change its modus operandi if they want to truly improve education, support their teachers and avoid situations like this which (in the end) nobody really looks good. Some fun rah rah unity moments, but there's better ways to get that.

This strike was the result of years of neglect and abuse on a daily basis... not because somebody tricked the bargaining team this summer. I'm also not saying that there wasn't any messaging by individuals on the team... individuals are individuals and with 40 I realize personalities and inclinations maybe weren't all left at the door, but as a team I can place a reasonable amount of trust in their professionalism as I think we got a decent deal. If the JSC worked more cooperatively on a day to day basis even an attempted manipulation wouldn't work.

Would the union leaders like to find ways to take credit for McCleary. Probably. But truth be told a lot of SEA members are almost as annoyed with SEA leadership as the district. Indeed, I'm worried about a pretty raucous Sunday meeting to ratify the TA.

Not Conspiracy