Saturday, September 19, 2015

SEA Vote Tomorrow - Yay or Nay?

Update:  Rally for teachers before vote from 1-3:30pm outside of Benaroya Hall where the vote is to be taken.  Doors open for teachers at 2 pm with the general meeting starting at 3 pm.

From the SEA website:

The SEA Standing Rules require that the members receive a summary of the tentative agreement for review 72 hours before the General Membership Meeting. SEA was not able to secure a large enough venue after the 72 hour period until Sunday. (Note: We apologize for incorrectly stating previously that the actual TA was required to be available for 72 hours. Our Standing Rules only require a summary. Actual language is being posted today, Friday 9/18/15.)


I find that statement odd; was the TA was not available to teachers in a timely manner (72 hours or no 72 hours)?

- Is the General Membership vote by bargaining unit?

Yes. The SEA Standing Rules require that the certificated, para-educator and secretary bargaining units vote separately on the tentative agreement. 


- Will the vote be by secret ballot or voice vote?

It is up to the members in attendance at the General Membership meeting to determine the method of voting at the beginning of the meeting. The president will propose a motion for the adoption of the Special Rules of Order for the meeting. It will propose a secret ballot vote. If the body wishes to move to a voice vote it may propose that at any time.

- What are the requirements for a quorum for a General Membership meeting on contract ratification?

The SEA Standing Rules require that 20% of the members of each bargaining unit – the certificated, para-educator and secretary bargaining units are present. Additionally 60% of the buildings must be present. The final vote requires a simple majority – 50% + 1. 



end of update


There is a fair amount of chatter out there about "no" votes that may come tomorrow to ratify the contract that the SEA negotiating team accepted from the district this week.  Most of what I am hearing is from a few teachers at the Soup for Teachers Facebook page.  Many parents there support them (but I wouldn't be surprised at that because of how much these parents support the teachers).

The Times has an article as well on the issue.

The unhappiness seems to be over Sped ratios which affect both Sped teachers as well as every other teacher who has a Sped student in his/her class.  It's a pretty big deal.

Naturally, each teacher will have to vote his or her conscience but, as well, consider the district as a whole.

What will the general public think if the contract is rejected and it's back to the picket line?

What will parents think?  

What happens in each classroom is the bottom line.  Is there enough support for teachers in the classroom that enough of them feel they can comfortably vote yes?

I'm thinking the vote will pass but there might be about one-third of teachers who refuse to accept the contract.  

48 comments:

Anonymous said...

I would appreciate someone outlining how this contract effects Special Education.

Is the goal of providing the least restrictive environment analyzed in terms of providing the best educational opportunity for each child to learn?

Or are we looking at the least expensive way to staff SpEd that might be permissible?
(Lets have Ron English weigh in and provide an answer.)

So who stands up for the supposed "weakest" among us?
The district, the SEA, the Times, the Stranger, or none of the above.

-- Dan Dempsey

seattle citizen said...

Dan nails it: who will stand up for those who deserve (and are legally entitled to) more individualized services? Should this be negotiated in union contracts? Should the district be doing this on their own? Should media inform and editorialize the populace to action? Should the state and courts turn the screws?
Educators (rank and file) are in a tough spot: as we've seen, they are, many of them, driven by social justice issues such as this. They WANT the best for their students. In my opinion, this desire put the educators in a powerful position to address some issues that directly impact students, such as recess, ewuity, caseloads, testing...while also advocating for themselves, which indirectly impacts students. And they were successful in two ways: they won some important things; they rallied the city to these issues.
But is it still on the educators, right now, to continue these battles? In my opinion the citizenry will NOT support them to the degree they have been. While many might recognize the position of power educators are in...or were..., how many will be supportive if educators then have to go back out to the picket lines? It's very difficult for familues, particularly those with fewer resources. It disrupts the school year even more.
Educators might WANT to keep pushing, win (maybe...) more services, but at what cost? Rock and a hard place...
And what about the other agents of change? District? State?
The power to motivate THEM lies in the citizenry, for the citizenry IS the district, IS the state - these belong to the people.
People! The educators have pushed hard! It's up to you to keep pushing! While educators might vote to go back into the buildings, you MUST carry the pickets still, to JSCEE and the Capitol. Demand lower caseloads and money to pay for them. Demand services directed where they are needed. If educators do this now, they will likely be pilloried, screamed at, for winning then going back out on the line. Educators pushed hard, walked many miles, to win some concessions but more! They brought the city together! It's YOUR city! Retake it! The educators should be back in schools, teaching.

Anonymous said...

My conclusion as an SEA member after spending today talking to an SEA Board Member on the phone and a member of the Bargaining Team who graciously donated their time to explain the TA and how it evolved into its current form-- is that we were poorly led and poorly communicated with by our Association. The leadership of the SEA led us out on a five-day strike knowing that very little was going to come our way in terms of compensation which was the number one concern of the whole membership. Dubious goals by the SEA leadership cost us all five days of our time with very little to show in return and they are very nervous that the TA may be voted down. The more I come to know and understand what happened, the greater my frustration with the SEA leadership at the very top and their inability to lead and effectively communicate with the rank and file of the SEA. Vote your conscience tomorrow.

Anonymous said...

My conclusion as an SEA member after spending today talking to an SEA Board Member on the phone and a member of the Bargaining Team who graciously donated their time to explain the TA and how it evolved into its current form-- is that we were poorly led and poorly communicated with by our Association. The leadership of the SEA led us out on a five-day strike knowing that very little was going to come our way in terms of compensation which was the number one concern of the whole membership. Dubious goals by the SEA leadership cost us all five days of our time with very little to show in return and they are very nervous that the TA may be voted down. The more I come to know and understand what happened, the greater my frustration with the SEA leadership at the very top and their inability to lead and effectively communicate with the rank and file of the SEA. Vote your conscience tomorrow.

Frustrated SEA member

seattle citizen said...

Frustrated SEA - My feeling is that other things were also important to members, not just compensation. Do the victories (even if slight) in other areas make up in any way for the somewhat meager compensation victory?
And if, as you say, things didn't go well, would it still be beneficial to vote nay, or is it a lost cause since the BT forwarded the TA to RA, both groups (and board) recommending thereby its approval?
If membership votes no, which it seems to me would necessitate another strike as working without a contract creates no leverage, would the educators still have the support of the citizens or eould they be on their own? Would a no vote cost the support of the fsmilies and other citizens?

Anonymous said...

I am a district cert.
The non-pay issues were most important to me. That's where my heart and passion lie. Compensation matters too but was worth compromising for other things in my opinion. I appreciate that the bargaining team rejected a higher increase for certs so that paras and office personnel could have a higher increase, the same as certs. They are in a much harder financial place than certs.
I am not happy about the SpEd ratios. If we vote no though we go back to square one and could lose some important gains. It's unlikely we'll get everything we demand.
I'd rather the membership not burn out on a prolonged, less supported strike. This way we'll all be ready to take action next time. I'm ready (the strike only energized me) but now isn't the time anymore.
The best thing about the strike is not the TA that came from it. It was the incredible mobilization and education about education of people who care. I think this is just the beginning. Power has shifted.
I've gone back and forth but I expect I'll vote yes.

Just striker


Anonymous said...

I'd like to add that I am pissed off that we had to fight for things that should be a given.
30 minutes of recess is a pittance.
equity teams should be embraced
students with IEPs should get the services that they are entitled to. All of them. It's not only good practice, it's the law.
Testing should be limited and appropriate.
District admin should be embarrassed to fight any of these demands.

District admin sucks.

Just Striker

Anonymous said...

Every SEA member needs to vote their conscience but I, for one, will vote to approve the contract. And I hope the outcome of the vote will be approval. Though it is not the contract that we had hoped for, I believe this is the best that could be negotiated at this time. This bargaining team understood the issues of those of us on the front line better than any other bargaining team in the past. They worked together to get the most "wins" for as many as possible. I do not believe that another bargaining team - which would be required if this TA fails - could do better at this time. In all likelihood, a new bargaining team tasked with trying to negotiate a contract if this TA doesn't get approved, will be even less successful. They would have no leverage. As I understand it, it's likely that the "wins" that were gained in this TA could all be lost if it all needed to be renegotiated in a new TA.

I do not want us to continue to work under our old contract; I do not want to go back out on strike; I do not want to lose the great gains that we did get - increased recess time, student growth rating not tied to evaluations, same pay increases for all SEA union groups (certs, paras, saeops), among other things.

As seattle citizen says above - now that the parent communities are awakened to the reality of public education funding and the real needs of school staff, that energy needs to continue to be directed to the district and really, the state, to fully fund education. SEA bargaining team brought the issues to the forefront but educators can't be the ones to continue to drive these issues. It just looks too self-serving to the general public who will misinterpret a no vote on the TA as just money-grubbing for a bigger raise. And parents will turn from supportive to antagonistic when they are out scrambling again to find childcare.

Voting YES!

Anonymous said...

Voting YES!
Our posts crossed but I see that we are pretty like-minded.
Cheers!
Just Striker

Anonymous said...

There is lots to like about this TA. I like that it raises everyone's salaries - certs, paras, and office support. As a cert, I am more than willing to reduce my increase in order to allow my colleagues a raise. I am very inspired by that. This is the most unified SEA has seemed in the 14 years I have worked here.

I am happy that the TA gets rid of the Student Growth Score. I think that's huge. This TA also has language that will curb the crazy over testing.

Someone asked earlier about the sped ratios. I believe the only change is an increase is secondary access to 13:1:3. This is not great of course, but I think this still gives Seattle the most supporting Access/inclusion type program in the region. I looked at the CBAs of several large districts in the Puget Sound basin and Seattle still seems have the lowest sped student to teacher ratios, by far.

Teacher

Anonymous said...

We had an opportunity to get a better deal. But the bargaining team didn't quite realize just how strong a hand they held. They could have dictated terms to SPS, especially if they'd held out another day. But they didn't, and while I might have acted differently, I also understand why they did what they did. The contract is an improvement in some substantial ways. It isn't as good as I'd have liked, but that opportunity was missed and the moment has now been lost.

Those of my colleagues who think we can reject this and go back on strike and still have as much public support as we had a week ago are simply wrong. Sure, the great folks at Soup for Teachers will be with us and so will some others. But we'll have lost most of the other parents, who were happy to see us get a reasonable deal and even happier to see their kids start school. During the strike SPS were the bad guys. If we go out on strike again, we'll be seen as the bad guys.

We could reject this and continue bargaining but not go out on strike and just work without a contract. But then we have no leverage and thus no chance of getting a better deal than we have now.

So the best option we have here is to ratify this agreement, build on the movement that was forged in recent weeks, and join with the parents to throw the bums out at the JSCEE - and get smarter leaders for our own union.

Secondary Teacher

Anonymous said...

PS to my previous comment regarding sped student to teacher ratios in other districts:

Many districts have programs (self contained, I believe) with similar student/teacher ratios. But none of those programs have the amount of para support that is supplied by the Access program in Seattle. It is the increased para support that allows children to receive support in the gen ed classroom.

Teacher

Anonymous said...

Just striker, Seattle Citizen, Voting YES!, I'm with you. Although I believe we should be paid more, non compensation issues were more important to me in this contract. I am voting yes. It's frustrating to me that some people are framing this as a vote for yes means that you don't support sped and sped issues.I don't think that voting no will make a bit of difference around sped issues. I don't know how to get the district to be more supportive in terms of money and resources. Perhaps parents...but it will take a storm. Parents have already been trying.
Tired

Anonymous said...

To second Dan, " I would appreciate someone outlining how this contract effects Special Education."

It looks like some of the ratios are, on the surface, better such as Preschool, at 10 students per teacher and 2 assistants, but then there is some wording about typically developing peers, bringing the number back to where it was at 12 students......so that is more of a "clarification" then a change in class size. "Distinct" is down one student. Unclear how the other ratios have changed.

Are sped teachers going to be forced to take overloads? Just not sure what is different then before, and that is concerning, considering that I am a sped teacher....and will be asked to vote.

Teacher4

Anonymous said...

I'm sure it's just a way to vote "no" too late with some sort of conscience that some people are now saying they need this contract to be protecting and promoting access of students with disabilities to General Education ("ACCESS"). Where were you all during the negotiations? Were you making your needs and values known to Phyllis Campano, whose self-contained cohorts sure made out in this deal at the expense of students whose LRE is in General Educaiton? I sure wish the union broadly had a conscience on this one. Or basic information about how the legal rights of students with disabilities are also supposed to be on the radars of the union. Vote "no" on Sunday? As if it will matter?

yeahright

Anonymous said...

apparently middle school SpEd ratios have gone up. They shifted them to a different category (secondary in general) so the change is masked.
This all seems to be numbers on paper anyway because SPS doesn't seem to honor the ratios anyway. They do what they want. Rob children.

Just Striker

Anonymous said...

Voting YES wrote:
" I do not want to lose the great gains that we did get - increased recess time, student growth rating not tied to evaluations, same pay increases for all SEA union groups (certs, paras, saeops), among other things. "

I would simply state that two of these are NOT great gains.

The fact that the SPS decided not to press two completely irrational positions cannot be considered a great gain.

#1 .. Less than 30 minutes of recess is ridiculous.
#2 .. Student growth calculated from incredibly small same sizes is a completely absurd statistic whether used for evaluation or not. I guess only certain school administrators could find any value in that VAM stat.

Note: It was very poor SEA leadership that originally allowed the student growth stat to be used in evaluations. (in 2007 is my guess)

As Seattle Citizen outlined, voting Yes in the current situation seems prudent but lets not celebrate imaginary gains.

-- Dan Dempsey

Anonymous said...

Typo above: incredibly small sample sizes

-- Dan

Anonymous said...

Just Strike is correct. The SEA and SPS gentleman's agreement to look the other way on ACCESS caseloads has opened the floodgates with middle school ACCESS teachers reporting nearly double overages. That is the value, or lack of value, being placed by SPS and SEA on inclusive education.

JusticeStrike

GarfieldMom said...

I know most people are concerned about the SPED ratios. That's a good reason to think long and hard about the TA. But the salary increases should not still be holding people back from supporting the new contract.

Since the compensation issues still appear to be a question for many people, I have a new post up on the Seattle Schools Data blog outlining how these numbers compare to previous CBAs, and how salaries have changed over time. It should clear up a significant amount of confusion for anyone who think teachers got shortchanged on the money side (and others; I've concentrated on the teacher salary schedules because I only have so much time and the percentages are nearly the same for all!). You can throw out any other numbers you've seen; they don't represent the reality of how the increases actually affect salary.

Please check this out. You can share and print the PDF, and I urge teachers to share it with their colleagues.

Comparing the Tentative Agreement Compensation Figures With the Previous CBAs and Average Overall Increases Over Time

Would I have liked to see higher compensation numbers? You bet. I'm tired of the denigration of the teaching profession, including the failure to pay teachers in a way that acknowledges the importance of their job and the professionalism they bring to it. BUT. This contract needs to pass tomorrow, and I don't think numbers should hold anyone back from voting yes. While I would still stand with you if you decided to go back to the bargaining table, I don't think widespread support is there for resuming the strike. And if it's true that voting "no" would mean a total reset of the terms of the bargain, I don't see how you could get a better deal by starting from scratch.

Anonymous said...

Yes Dan, but the completely ridiculous Student Growth measure was the LAST thing SPS gave up at 5am on the last day. Just because a hoop is totally stupid doesn't mean school districts won't make teachers jump through it. I am feeling great about getting rid of that hoop.

Teacher

Anonymous said...

Garfield Mom

Who, if not teachers, will ultimately be advocates for our students with disabilities in General Education? Clearly the SEA leadership are not advocates. They put these students under the bus. It's not even legal. Don't you support a contract that is within ethical and legal and educational good practice limits? What really needs to happen is that this SEA "leadership" needs to be ousted in favor of leadership that gives a shit about inclusive education. Interesting re the poster above that the lead negotiator, as a self contained special education classroom, brought about higher ratios for self contained classrooms. Doesn't this union have any sense of its legal and educational obligations to all students?

I'm a parent. I'm gladly supporting more strikes in support of the legal and educational obligations of teachers in SPS to expand and promote the access of students with disabilities to general education.

VotingNo

Anonymous said...

Voting no,
"Not even legal." I have heard that a lot in this blog with regards to the TA & sped. What do you mean by that? I can see that changing a sped ratio may mean that IEPs need to be adjusted and if they are not it could have legal consequences.

For example, Seattle sped resource programs have teacher/student ratios of 18:1 or 22:1. If a Seattle child with a 18:1 resource room IEP moves to the Highline district, they will likely be served by a 27:1 resource room program, because, in Highline school district, the resource room ratio is 27:1. Does that mean Highline's bargaining agreement is illegal?

Teacher

n said...

We had an opportunity to get a better deal. But the bargaining team didn't quite realize just how strong a hand they held. They could have dictated terms to SPS, especially if they'd held out another day. But they didn't,...

I totally agree. My neighbor and I were talking today about how more info was coming out about administrative corruption and costs, parents were increasingly supportive. She has two kids in SPS. I think parents were mobilizing.

But we cannot start . . . stop . . . and start again. You just don't do that. And we voted for the leadership so we have no reason to complain. Once we went out, I expected better. I know at my school there is a larger contingent to not strike and I think they are right. Much as I dislike admitting it.

While we only have the right to bargain wages, hours and working conditions, we gained nothing regarding workings conditions and we were very negligent not to call out more vociferously the corruption and waste down at Stanford. Now we will all continue working and this will become a memory - for another thirty years? Parents now really have to work for better conditions for their kids - better conditions for kids will translate into better teaching. I'm hoping they will form an effective lobby to keep up the fight. Strength in numbers and all that.

GarfieldMom said...

Voting No,

Of course I would rather see a contract that was better for SPED -- teachers, students, parents, and everyone else (I know that all of our kids get a better education when SPED needs are met, and they all suffer when SPED needs are not met). Based on what I know about SPED from reading here, SPS has done the usual penny wise, pound foolish thing, as they are virtually guaranteeing more lawsuits and spending in the long run. Not to mention the ill will and mistrust they continue to promote through their actions. That they don't see that has me banging my head on the wall yet again. If I thought that there was anything to gain for SPED by rejecting this contract and starting over, I would advocate for it. I just don't see it happening. As soon as the TA was reached, SEA lost a huge amount of bargaining power, and there's no getting back to the level of power they had (or more power) without drastically harming students, families, and the image of Seattle teachers, among other things.

Vote in new leadership, by all means! I've been hearing complaints about SEA leadership as long as I've been reading this blog. But that's a separate fight. It's not SEA leadership who will suffer the most from a failed vote. Be angry at leadership all you want, but make sure that your anger gets used against them, and not against yourselves.

Leadership and the bargaining team are not the issue any more. Complaining about them will not change where things sit currently. The issue at hand is whether this contract is the best teachers can get given that there is a TA and the strike was suspended. Could SEA have gained more if they had held out a little longer? Maybe, maybe not. But it's a moot point.

I don't think going back to the bargaining table will result in any gains over what's already been agreed upon, and might even end up worse. What if you vote no, go back on strike, still don't get better SPED ratios (or even lose the ground gained), AND lose some of the other things that were won? Then who wins? No one, that's who. Not teachers, not students, not parents.

The overall fight can continue even with a new contract. People's awareness of SPED issues and other things that were being bargained over has been raised, and that shouldn't be squandered. Parent support for the teachers shouldn't be squandered either, and I fear it will be if this contract gets voted down and teachers go back out on strike. Parent support WILL diminish the longer it goes on. Even parents who are energized and enthusiastic now will get tired. The Seattle Times will hammer teachers mercilessly if they resume the strike, and in time, other media will join the chorus of disapproval. Don't want an excuse for mayoral takeover? Don't get to the point where the system looks so dysfunctional that people will feel there isn't a choice any more.

(cont'd)

GarfieldMom said...

I for one am not quitting what I've been doing, and there's a teacher in SPS I'm coordinating with who isn't quitting on putting together data either (and I'm happy to say he is going to take on the benefits/health insurance info). I actually have a lot of plans for daylighting information and having it accessible for people to learn from if they are new to the subject. By the next time bargaining comes around, there will be easily understandable, accurate information about what proposals from each side actually mean with respect to compensation, as well as lots more explanations of how teacher salaries are determined. It was very clear to me, and confirmed by many teachers I know, that a lot of -- maybe most? -- teachers don't actually understand how their compensation works. No wonder -- it is SO convoluted. And if teachers can't understand it, parents and the general public have no chance. How can teachers, or the union for that matter, put a persuasive case before the people that they are not being paid what they are worth, without knowing how and why they got to the point we are at now? How can we hope to leverage this strike -- and the things that should have been won but weren't -- to affect what the legislature does if we don't even know what to ask them for and why the ask is justified?

And lastly, not knowing how compensation is determined allows SPS to get away with publicizing extremely misleading and inaccurate numbers to make themselves look better. Melissa does a phenomenal job of finding and making public all kinds of information that the district would rather no one paid attention to -- but she's one person and she can't do it all. My goal will be to specifically knock down every false claim they put out there next time with regard to compensation. There are a lot of other folks using numbers in deceptive ways too to try to influence education (CRPE, DFER, etc.). They get away with it because no one has the data and the time to challenge them. Those people are looking for EVERY reason to knock teachers and the public schools down as hard as they can so they can get their hands on it and reshape it the way they want to. Voting down this contract will be feeding them ammunition.

Ultimately, teachers will vote as they see fit, and I do respect that. I'm not the one in the classrooms every day, they are. Voting against the contract in support of their colleagues is not something to judge them for. I just don't want to see teachers' opinions being swayed by the compensation issues if they don't really understand what's being offered.

Anonymous said...

Garfield mom,
I agree.
and thank you in advance for strategizing next steps and committing to a continued fight for quality Seattle public schools.
I agree that the bargaining team could have held up longer and made more gains. The momentum was growing and so was the combined power of educators and larger community. I saw it growing really huge and I wanted the strike to continue for that to happen and continue to shift power forever.
I also appreciate the SEA bargaining team. They did their best and worked their butts off under a lot of pressure and without compensation. They were unified in a beautiful way. THANK YOU bargaining team! I am proud to be represented by them.
and THANK YOU amazing Seattle community of supporters (many don't even have children), Soup for Teachers, horn honkers, etc, etc! I tear up still as I think of the way you showed up for children and educators. Many of us have returned to the buildings with a renewed sense of power and support. It comes from taking action as educators and also from joining together with you and feeling your passion, support and respect. We are all so grateful and moved by it.
I give my all to the children I work with and this year your energy will help fuel that work. In the tough moments I know my mind will go to this web of support and not just to the Stanford Center exploiters.

Just Striker

Just Striker

Eric B said...

Dan,

The fact that nobody SHOULD have to fight for 30 minutes of recess doesn't mean that we didn't have to. The fact is that some students were given disgraceful amounts of time for recess, and now they will get merely somewhere between marginal and adequate. If SEA didn't fight for that, who was going to force the issue?

Likewise on equity, using scores in evaluations, etc. etc. We've been talking about these issues for years, but nothing has moved except backwards. And now we go back closer to rational and we think it's a defeat?

Teachers will not have the same support from the general public that they did in the first strike if they go out again. I predict passage with significant dissent.

Anonymous said...

Eric B & Teacher,

Thanks for the information you provide. I see a difference between a "gain" and a "great gain". You are correct that SEA needed to fight for both Recess time and VAM issues and these are both of great importance and definitely worth striking over. I see these as gains.

The fact that the District saw VAM as something worth pursuing is very troubling. I wonder if something like VAM is within the purview of the Board & "Policy" or would that be micromanaging.

I see SPS advocacy for irrational VAM as a mechanism similar to the exerting of superiority over the unjustly enslaved. I wonder how the Board members see this or are they just looking away? Hey maybe it is just compliance with what Arne Duncan wants.

If VAM and recess time allowed are not Board Policy decisions, I would wonder about the governance model.

Whatever.... These two nonsense positions by the District certainly makes election of Jill Geary and Rick Burke a big priority for me. I see things like "VAM and Recess Time" as under the Board governance. Such governance questions should be asked of current directors and those running for open Board positions. (Geary's work as an appointed administrative law judge on education issues would allow her to see through SPS Staff BS.)

It is time to end at least a few elements of this SPS Bureaucratic Circus.

======

I still scratch my head about the School Board meeting in which both "Everyday Math and VAM as an evaluation component" were approved and the SEA leadership's role.

Of course there was also the WEA executive leadership support of Common Core and SBAC in Olympia back in 2010 and 2011.... just makes one wonder what SEA, WEA dues get for members?
Transparency around much of the above was seriously lacking.

======

I do not see that continuing to Strike at this point is a worthwhile action. An organized effort to improve SEA and WEA leadership transparency should definitely be undertaken. Interested SEA, WEA Members need to have a better view of what is happening.

-- Dan Dempsey

Anonymous said...

Garfield Mom, I agree. As a teacher I want to say thank you for all of the number crunching you have done. Why the union isn't doing this, I don't know. Thanks to you for doing it. I would love to spotlight some numbers of the bloat downtown. Even though contract negotiations may end, the bloat is still an issue for me.
M

Anonymous said...

GarfieldMom nails it with ....

"There are a lot of other folks using numbers in deceptive ways too to try to influence education (CRPE, DFER, etc.). They get away with it because no one has the data and the time to challenge them. Those people are looking for EVERY reason to knock teachers and the public schools down as hard as they can so they can get their hands on it and reshape it the way they want to."

Big Bingo on the above.

In her book "Patriotic Betrayal" Karen Paget outlines how the CIA funded existing organizations and created new student organizations in an effort to greatly influence public opinion and public policy. .... Now fast forward 50 years and examine the Gates Foundation funding the groups that GarfieldMom mentions.

Look at the concerted effort to distort reality and call it news. Examine the US Dept of ED rules for determining "failing schools" and the mandated actions to "help" those schools improve ...... All of this removes local control of schools and places that control in "the hands of those who know better" --- The Big Money Boys.

===
Off topic just a bit from BBC =>
Computers 'do not improve' pupil results, says OECD ... seems a little bit helps but a lot does not...
Really!!!
So providing every kid with a notebook computer or tablet is not a good idea.... Hey that is not what the vendors tell us.

-- Dan Dempsey

Melissa Westbrook said...

N said,
Parents now really have to work for better conditions for their kids - better conditions for kids will translate into better teaching. I'm hoping they will form an effective lobby to keep up the fight. Strength in numbers and all that.

Yup. Been waiting for years for that to happen. SCPTA seems to follow the state and national line much more than the local. However, they have a huge asset in Eden Mack who is the legislative rep and has put in her frequent driver miles going to Olympia to advocate for kids.

Garfield Mom said:

Vote in new leadership, by all means! I've been hearing complaints about SEA leadership as long as I've been reading this blog. But that's a separate fight. It's not SEA leadership who will suffer the most from a failed vote. Be angry at leadership all you want, but make sure that your anger gets used against them, and not against yourselves.

Absolutely true. That's on the teachers. If they had voted in Eric Muhs instead of Jonathan Knapp, I think you would have seen a very different SEA.

And I would love for GA (or any other parent/community member) to do the heavy lift that is covering this district. New eyes, fresh perspective are always a good idea.

Anonymous said...

"If they had voted in Eric Muhs instead of Jonathan Knapp, I think you would have seen a very different SEA."


Yep, we would have less power because we would be WAY more polarized. Our power comes from unity.

Teacher

Anonymous said...

Teacher wrote:

"If they had voted in Eric Muhs instead of Jonathan Knapp, I think you would have seen a very different SEA."

Yep, we would have less power because we would be WAY more polarized. Our power comes from unity.
====================

Hummm ... the status quo ... usually maintains unity. Is that really advisable?

So what are those dues doing? More than just maintaining the unity found in the status quo I hope.

"SEA WEA leadership right or wrong" is not my path of choice but then I am no longer a member of either at this time.

I would have voted for Eric Muhs.

-- Dan Dempsey

Anonymous said...

WHERE IS THE FULL TEXT OF MY CONTRACT? It said actual language would be posted on Friday. Where is it? I have to vote. I would like to be informed.
-WANTMYDUESBACK

GarfieldMom said...

Yes, I am very surprised that the full text of the contract has not been made available. I notice many have requested it on the SEA Facebook page, and the only reply they get is that the summary is online. Further calls for the full text go unanswered. That's not going to help.

I wonder if a vote to table the discussion until after the full contact is available would be possible? If I were a SEA member, it would bother me to no end to not have the full contract before voting.

g said...

I updated this thread and, according to SEA, they DON'T have to put up the full text, just a summary.

Who wrote that rule, I wonder.

GarfieldMom said...

They don't HAVE to, but why wouldn't they WANT to? Teachers are asking for it, so clearly they feel it's important to their understanding.

Good question about where the rule came from. I note that teachers are digging into the bylaws to see just what is required after a no vote. Kudos to them for doing so. Maybe they should have a look at those standing rules too.

Anonymous said...

They don't have to. ...

Classic union transparency .... remember stay unified . ....

Marvelous example of WEA SEA leadership.

I would have voted for Eric Muhs.

-- Dan Dempsey

Anonymous said...

I had a problem with this contract for several reasons. First, the compensation is ridiculous when both Shoreline and Everett got what they got. Our district had an additional almost $40 million this year, what happened to that. Our health care costs have gone up, and with this compensation package, there are some teachers who are losing money this year. Second, I am thrilled with the social justice pieces of this contract, but the cost for these items were not that high. Third, the longer students contact day in the 3rd year were poorly planned and the compensation for that year is basically more pay for more work. A 0.5% isn't going to cut it. Plus, the day is lengthened for certificated staff and not for Paraprofessionals or Office staff. Who is going to put the students on the buses or take them off, and who will call the parents when their child misses the bus, or they come into the office looking for their child, etc? Finally, and most importantly, the SPED ratios AND THE OVERAGES. It is true that a couple have slightly better overages in this new TA. But many don't. For example, in the med fragile program, the ratios stay the same at 6:1:2 (students: teacher: IA support). But in our last contract, there were no overages allowed. If a new student came , it was a new classroom teacher, etc. Which it should be as it is difficult to manage all those wheelchairs and high medical nees even with 3 staff. Now there are overages. if there are 1-2 new students, you get a new IA and 3 or more is when you get a new classroom. For Access-secondary, the ratio was 10:1:3, now the ratio is 13:1:3. Before the overage was 1-4 more students, you get overage pay, with 5 you got a new classroom. In the TA,the overages are 1-4 overage pay, 5-6 new IA, and 7-9 is new classroom. That means they can have as many as 17 students in there with no additional support. For the SM4/Distinct- they lowered the ratio from 8:1:2 to 7:1:2, which is a great thing. Then you look at the overages. Before it was on a case by case basis and by agreement when it was just one over. Now it is 1 with overage pay (no help), 2-3 over and you get a new IA and 4 or more and you get a new classroom. For Resource, there were different ratios for the different levels of resource need. For example, a classroom with students that had more than one area of need (reading, writing, math, etc) they ranged from 15:1, to 18:1, to 20:1, and 22:1. Now they are all 22:1. This is upsetting to me. When you talk about social justice, it needs to be social justice for everyone, including our most vulnerable students. These are the reasons I am in support of a no vote. The district doesn't get to save money on the backs of our students, while enriching themselves.

No voter

Anonymous said...

Does J. Knapp really expect members to vote for a contract without presenting members the opportunity to read it and think about it?

How bizarre.

-- Dan Dempsey

Anonymous said...

The contract went online a day or two ago. I looked at it before the mtg today.
Teacher

GarfieldMom said...

The full contract, not just the excerpts? Where? It's not on the bargaining page at the SEA website.

Anonymous said...

I believe that this includes the new contract language:

http://www.seattlewea.org/index.php/ta-summary-sea-contract-misc

The strikeouts indicate, old language and the underlined portions indicate new contract language. This is somewhat confusing, and poorly communicated, IMHO, but enables you to see what has changed. There was considerable discussion and dissent but in the end the cert contract was ratified by more then 80% of the attendees. It was the first time I actually heard clarification of how compensation is determined and the impact of the various percentage raises. Nurses and counselors were thrown under the bus and that is more than a shame.

teacher4

Anonymous said...

I agree that it's awful that nurses and counselors' issues didn't get addressed in this agreement. It's especially critical when you consider that nurses are dealing with life-threatening issues.

That said, I had heard that both groups had an opportunity to send a representative to the bargaining committee but for whatever reason didn't. I wonder if the lack of representation on the committee hurt their advocacy some. I do know that the SAEOPs on the committee have a basic understanding of the nursing issues since they get called on to perform nursing duties on those days when the nurse isn't on duty (like administer meds or deal with allergies including life-threatening ones with the use of an epi-pen), however I'm sure it's not the same as having a school nurse present to talk knowledgeably about the work and the serious consequences that their ridiculous workload has for student safety and health.

What's hopeful is that I did hear several times that the work isn't finished with this agreement. Union Rep, John Donaghy, is a good man and I believe that he won't forget the unfinished issues. And there's motivation from staff and the parent community to take the fight to the state so education is fully funded!

Voting YES!

GarfieldMom said...

Having small parts of the contract with the revisions is not the same as having the actual contract. The compensation info does NOT include the revised contract language, just a typed statement of the same old percentages they've been giving out. Where is the new salary schedule? That should be a no-brainer; the way SPS was throwing figures around about what an increase would mean in terms of actual salary must indicate that it's simply a matter of plugging the numbers in for them.

Re: Nurses (by the way, did anyone ever answer the question of why there are apparently many nurses downtown?)

This was posted to the SEA Facebook page by a nurse who wanted to speak at the meeting:

"This is what I was going to say at the SEA meeting tonight but got cut off. I was in line at the microphone but never got a chance
I am disappointed, sad and mad.
I am disappointed in the district because Nurses were left out of the contract, leaving the future health needs of students woefully understaffed.
• No caps on caseloads
• Insufficient training for our new nurses
• No extra days compensation to prepare @ larger schools
Nurses use this time to develop and implement healthcare plans, manage immunization compliance, set-up their health rooms & other beginning of school year activities.
We asked for 4 days for schools with 600 - 1199 students
And 5 days for 1200 or more students but got nothing! Two more days of preparation time denied
I have more than 775 students & over 80 health care plans. Some nurses have more than 1700 students!
I am sad. As of September 8, there are 10 schools that do not have a nurse, not even 1 day a week.
We are experiencing a nursing shortage in the district due to poor pay.
We all know who will pick up the slack when we are not around – the SAEOPS (office staff)
I am also sad because we are divided – divided amongst our disciplines, amongst our schools and zones. So different from the night of September 3 when we voted unanimously to take this journey together.
We must not let the district split us. No matter what the outcome tonight – we need to accept it and remain united.
And lastly, I am mad at the district because of the injustice and lack of respect for nursing.
We nurses cover 97 buildings, 20 of them are level B - requiring a nurse in the building at all times
I was told to exclude the following bullets because people would glaze over:
• Last year EMS was called 72 times
• We Administered over 26,169 medications
• Made 736 Vision Referrals & 144 Hearing Referrals
• We successfully got the Whooping Cough incident under control. Identified by our very own Sami Hoag (a 30 year veteran). She put a plan into action and worked with the CDC
• We also dealt with the Measles Scare in Washington – 0 incidence in SPS
• We brought 11,857 students into immunization compliance - achieving a 93% compliance
Our requests are not unreasonable. They are a matter of safety.
We deserve more and so do our students and families"

Anonymous said...

There are nurses downtown because they supervise the nurses at the sites. My understanding is that there used to be one nurse on the supervisory level and now there are three including the assistants. They need more nurses at the sites so it seems poor judgement to have so much money tied up in supervisory nursing.
This does seem to be the pattern across John Stanford; too many supervisors downtown and not enough bodies working directly with kids.
Decrease supervisors

mirmac1 said...

Sami Hoag is a Rock Star.