Thursday, September 10, 2015

SPS to Hold Press Conference at 3:30 pm on Strike

From West Seattle Blog (uh oh, there's some digging in here):

Rich Wood from SEAwas in room when district's brief briefing ended. He said SEA won't resume talks unless district indicates that it's ready to give. SEA *did* respond to Tues. offer, he contends - by declaring the strike.

Update from Kyle Stokes at KPLU: 

STRIKE: It's official — no classes in tomorrow as strike continues. 

There is also no further discussion about SPS going to court.

And some clarification on the mediator who apparently talking to both sides but neither side is talking to each other.  Oh dear.


end of update

Unfortunately, I saw this press release 20 minutes too late and I can't get there in time.  Will check Tweets from Kyle Stokes at KPLU for updates when press conference starts.

133 comments:

Anonymous said...

No school Friday

Momof2

Melissa Westbrook said...

The district apparently handed out a sheet about the salary increases. It just doesn't explain where the money comes from and that this "third increase the district has made to date" started very low.

I really need the district or SEA to put out a clear sheet explain the COLA, the funding for teachers and how the district can use state funding, etc. Otherwise, both sides want us to believe them.

Teacher said...

I am a teacher and I know I should be supporting teachers. I am probably the only teacher who feels this way right now and I feel a little bit like Judas saying this. But we ARE creating all of this fuss over about $100 extra a month in our paychecks. I just wish we could get on with it already and get school started. I can't afford to lose money by not working.

Melissa Westbrook said...

I'm confused, Teacher. You say it's just $100 extra a month but you are complaining about losing money. For two days lost, you lost $3.33.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Sorry, $6.66.

Anonymous said...
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Teacher said...

Oh, okay, it's not about losing money. It's just--I feel the focus is all wrong. What I as a teacher need is more support in the classroom. I work in a high needs building. I don't need $100 more in my paycheck. I actually need another teacher in the room to help me run a smoother operation. I'm just not feeling this strike the way that all of the other teachers and parents are feeling it. I drive around seeing all the teachers in their red shirts with such solidarity for each other. All the parents showing their love by bringing lunches. And yet--I feel like I'm missing it. Over $100 more in our paycheck? Maybe that $25 extra a week would make a single mom's or a one working dad's week better. But not better by much. Maybe you could fill me in on where all of this passion is coming from. I'm just not feeling it.

Longhouse said...

"ARE (we) creating all of this fuss over about $100 extra a month in our paychecks."

I doubt you're a teacher. I'm a teacher and $1200 a year is ALOT to every teacher I know. I know it's not a lot to a lawyer or an Amazon employee or an Alliance for Education Board member, but it's a lot to those of us making pathetic wages -- like a teacher.

Anonymous said...

I think she means from her whole paycheck. The 6.66 would only be from the extra 100 he/she would get if SEA gets all the pay increase it wants. So for the potential of getting 6.66 for the last two days, he/she has lost hundreds of dollars with a threat of losing thousands more -- with no strike pay -- who so mismanaged union dues that there is no strike pay??? The first lost paycheck is going to be incredibly painful for young teachers, who aren't getting much of a benefit anyway in the bargaining, less than 2k I think. It's the top end that gets the real bump(13k).

Over it

Lynn said...

She hasn't lost her first paycheck though - it's been delayed. Schools have to be open 180 days and she'll be paid for those beginning when school starts.

Anonymous said...

Melissa , why do you need anything? You don't even have any skin in this game. So, please for everyone's sake who does, just keep a lid on it.

Maleke

Anonymous said...

A cash flow extending slightly longer 9 months from now...does nothing for the rent check due next week.

Over it

seattle citizen said...

Right. There is no strike pay because educators will still work their full contract days. The SEA has assistance for those educators in financial distress because their first check after the strike will be smaller.

seattle citizen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Parents can't get back they money they pay for child care, so who's really being hurt.

Can I simply delay paying and send the bill to SPS?

Maleke

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Indeed a teacher and not Alliance said...

I am a teacher. I have my partner's paycheck, also. I do think if it were just my paycheck, that $100 would mean a lot more. I can't even imagine living on just my $3800 a month. That would be a struggle. So I get that.

Maybe I'm just mad at the union's expectation that we give up all of our vacation day's to picket 6 hours in the sun (because every day we picket becomes one lost vacation day during the year) and tomorrow I will be doing community work cleaning garbage from the interstate (when I believe there is already a job for that?.

I don't really know why I am so mad about all of this. I do feel left out not feeling the same solidarity the other teacher's feel. And I feel guilty for having these feelings when all other teachers are so "rah" "rah".

Sigh....

Anonymous said...

It feels to me like the tide has turned and it is now SEA who is not bargaining in good faith. The offers/concessions seem to be coming from SPS and SEA is just walking away. I worry that all the media coverage of parent support is causing SEA to overreach.

I am a parent, and I am a huge fan of SPS teachers, but I am also annoyed by this strike. It's disruptive, and ultimately hurting my kids. My kids, and I assume others as well, get anxious about the start of a new year (new teachers, new kids, new academic content), and this strike is just stringing out this initial period of anxiety. I want both groups to get back in the room and work it out! I certainly hope that the mediator is working with both parties to help them see where they are being unreasonable.

Annoyed parent

Anonymous said...

Only the trolliest of trolls would try to start up with premise that the SEA is too militant. That's rich. Teachers deserve more pay as anyone who knows anything about our public schools would acknowledge.

A hundred bucks a month is a tenth of what they should be getting so troll on to anther site and bait people there.

ferndale

omg, i got the "match the schoolbus" captcha

Anonymous said...

Guess what Maleke ...

I really need the district or SEA to put out a clear sheet explain the COLA, the funding for teachers and how the district can use state funding, etc. Otherwise, both sides want us to believe them.

N by NW

Anonymous said...

But it's not just over teacher pay, right? There are so many other issues. Among the things the teachers are fighting for is for the well-being of our kids when they are school. Among other things, the teachers are fighting for the literal physical well-being of our children. They asked for a minimum of 45 minutes of recess per day. They compromised on 30 minutes. Think about it--they are fighting for our kids to be given time to play and be kids.

They are also fighting for fair workloads for the teachers, which, in turn, helps the students. Especially those teachers who have kids that need and require individual attention, like those with IEPs. Too many kids per special education teacher means that the teacher literally doesn't have enough hours in the day to give each student he attention they are legally required to have, much less what they want to give their students because they are a teacher and not a robot.

On top of these, yes--they are fighting for themselves. But it's not just for a measly amount per year. It's for health care that reflects the increase in health care costs--their current plan hasn't been updated in 5 years. Their Cost of Living Allowance "COLA" hasn't been given for 6 years. That's ridiculous, given how much their workloads increase each year. So, Teacher, when you complain that it's a measly amount--that actually shows how bad it's gotten that the teachers have to fight for a even a tiny COLA raise.

The district is also asking the teachers to work some of the time in their contract for free. Meaning, without pay for time they are required to be at the school, working. I doubt that anyone thinks that's fair or reasonable.

Is this strike uncomfortable? Of course. That's how strikes work. It's unfortunate that it's a burden on parents who use school as childcare and it's hard on teachers to have to work the picket lines. But, strikes are a method of last resort and the teachers didn't decide to strike on a whim. The problem is that right now a lot of the press seems to be focussed on how the teachers are inconveniencing people and forgetting that the district is part of this, too.

I am a parent and I'm having to juggle my workload at the moment due to the strike. It's not great, but I'm still behind the teachers 100%.

North End Mom

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

They have gotten COLAs the last two years- from the district, not the state. Here's the 2013 schedule, with the raise marked on the bottom. http://www.seattlewea.org/static_content/updatedcertsalary13.pdf

2% a year, in line with inflation. SEA claims their response to the Tuesday night offer was to call the strike. Seriously? Just walk out? It would be one thing if they worked and worked but just couldn't agree, but to decide at 5 before school is supposed to start they'd rather make a statement- for shame. It is their job to bargain until they make a deal. And now Rich Wood is saying they won't even come to the table until they like the offer SPS is making. They're being completely cavalier with the children and families they claim to be supporting, all for what looks like a pretty big raise for the senior teachers, and peanuts for the young ones. Words like "uncomfortable" and "inconvenient" to describe the system wide disruption and limbo are incredibly disrespectful. Scrambling for childcare for 1 day is inconvenient. Not knowing if school will start this month is havoc. I don't blame the individual teachers picketing. Their hearts are in the right places, and it doesn't sound like all of them are in this anymore, either. But the bargaining team has gotten out of control.

North Parent

Anonymous said...

"They are also fighting for fair workloads for the teachers, which, in turn, helps the students. Especially those teachers who have kids that need and require individual attention, like those with IEPs. Too many kids per special education teacher means that the teacher literally doesn't have enough hours in the day to give each student he attention they are legally required to have, much less what they want to give their students because they are a teacher and not a robot."

Excuse me, what exactly will an additional teacher accomplish when most of the teachers are not TRAINED in serving students with learning disabilities. Maybe you are proposing staffing studies skills classes with two unprepared teachers? Please tells us the master plan.

SPED parent

Melissa Westbrook said...

Maleke, fyi, a couple of things. It's okay if you are unhappy about the strike. But I have no skin in this game? Did you happen to notice who writes this blog? As well, if you think taxpayers have no say, you may want to consider that none of the school levies would pass if not for...taxpayers. Parents alone could not pass them.

I hope that people understand this is just about salaries. One of the first things that got done by the SEA was to bring back a decent amount of time for recess. For kids. Also, in any negotiation, there is always posturing. You really think SEA won't come back to the table? They will.

There's always going to be people on both sides of any strike and, as well, those within a group who don't support the group.

I have always said I support teachers but I really have issue with union leadership. I don't get them and I can understand why others might be suspicious. The union leadership doesn't always help their cause.

Anonymous said...

Teacher. You are not alone. I think this strike is directed at the wrong place. I think the union demands are way too high I think the union has gained a lot already and to hear that the sides aren't speaking to each other is frustrating. My understanding is that the latest offer was made by the district and the union decided to call a strike. So now it's the unions turn to counter. That is bargaining.

I've been mad about this since the night of the "unanimous" vote which was reached by intimidation. from Knapp's flip response to what would happen if we did not vote for a strike ("The district tells us to eat shit") to the booing and hissing at the few people spoke against the motion. There was no way anyone in that room was going to call out a no vote. If you dissent, you are seen as the devil. The mob mentality is disgusting. That night I walked out of Benaroya all I could think was what a bunch of sheeple. All just following each other.

The "play in" group downtown today actually had signs that said "More Recess". Recess is a done deal. They aren't even discussing it anymore. The petition going around by parents indicates we need more recess so teachers have more prep. That is NOT what it is about and people, including teachers, just forward it blindly. I guarantee that gets to the board and they can't take it seriously. It doesn't address the issues as they are on the table.

Finally, I want to know where the union was on August 23 and 24. According to Nyland, the district was waiting for them to bargain and they didn't show up. Does anyone find this odd? Did anyone investigate? Because they were scoffing at the district for wanting a mediator ("If they need a mediator to hold their hand" -John D) but clearly the district needed a mediator to get the union to the table if what Nyland said is true. Someone asked at the meeting about why they had not responded to Nylands letter and the union didn't answer the question.

I am frustrated too. I want this to end. I think getting a 14% raise over 3 years is pretty decent and hope to use the extra time in the 3rd year to take my class outside.

Different Teacher

Longhouse said...

"Knapp's flip response: 'telling the district to eat shit'."

Another lying liar telling lies. You weren't even there. Knapp didn't say that. Donaghy said it and it was a great line and it wasn't flippant.

I regret that I didn't stand up and yell, "Good for you, John! Please tell the district to eat shit, as they've been telling us to eat it!"





Anonymous said...

I'm a liar because I named the wrong guy? If I'm wrong, it was a mistake. I don't care which John it was, it was our "leadership" sending the message loud and clear that dissent would not be tolerated. I was there. Should I quote the union member who had to ask a room full of educators not to boo her before she asked about how she was going to feed her family??

Different Teacher

Teacher said...

Just to clarify, the extra recess we are giving elementary students does not equate to more prep time for teachers. At our school, there is no money for supervision, we teachers will supervise students in their extra recess. No prep.

I just want to say, I need this blog. I want to have a place to express my feelings and dissent and think through my emotions. It's like therapy. To be called a troll is just galling for me. Isn't this what living in a "free" country is about--my right to express my dissent? I am the most liberal person you will find and yet this passion and support and rallying behind a cause seems misplaced to me...

Thank you, fellow teacher, for your comments.

You are right--sheeple.

As a child, I was raised on union songs and went to all the union marches with my parents.

SEA is not that union of my youth. We are not talking Wobblies. This is a perversion of what union is about.

The irony is, SEA takes a $100 out of my check per month. No choice in the matter at all. The amount now being argued over. SEA gets about half a million a year from our dues. I expect better from them. I didn't expect to have to spend my mid-winter break days cleaning garbage up in September as my "community service" so that tax-payers don't think I am striking just to get an extra vacation day.

I still can't wrap my mind around it. I really don't think my colleagues are doing the math here. The difference between what SEA wants and what the district wants is 4 percent. Which amounts to 100 bucks. And that is, from what I understand, the key to what is keeping us from getting a contract.

I also have children who were looking forward to the start of school and YES it is stressful for them not knowing when they get to go back.

I predict this strike will last 3 weeks and in the end, we won't get that $100 bucks. We will have whittled away our mid-winter break and two weeks of our next summer.

!

Anonymous said...

Teacher and Different Teacher,
I'm a teacher too. I get it. The strike sucks. I think everyone can agree on that.
Regardless, I really support the strike. I think the things that the union is fighting for for us really matter, including money. It sounds like money doesn't matter as much for you, but for most of us even $25/week is a big deal. Is the union perfect? Not by a long shot. However, I truly believe we wouldn't even have what we have without the union advocating for us. Without the union I think the district would have spent more money than they already have on overpaid administrators who do who knows what downtown for an obscene amount of money. Why doesn't that get more press? Anyway, believe me I did not drink the union Kool-Aid. I see the union for what it is, but I do believe the union is the only way to be heard.
Teacher Too

Anonymous said...

Oh Teacher - I wish I knew you in real life.

I am also a union girl to the bone. I believe in them. I support them. And I would never cross a picket line. I know that unions got us where we are in many positive ways. SEA is not the union of my youth. A union should be a place where all voices are heard. The amount of money I pay to the union every month is outrageous and I've never had an SEA employee in my building. They rely on their volunteers (teachers, who are already working their asses off) to do all the building level support. IN other unions, organizers are at work sites regularly talking with members, providing support, etc.

Anyway, felt good to get that off my chest.

Teacher Too - I don't expect our union to be perfect, no one is. But I do expect them to be professional and respectful. I expect the same of my colleagues which is certainly not what I saw at the strike meeting.

Different Teacher

Anonymous said...

Melissa:

Not a true comment, per se just to point out that in your last comment I think you meant to say that "this ISN"T just about salaries" instead of "this IS just about salaries." (Please forgive me if I'm wrong.)

North End Parent

Anonymous said...

I think it's a fair statement to say that since I've been in the district many teachers, if not most teachers, have been dissatisfied and sometimes angry at whoever is superintendent, whoever are the executives and managers, and whoever are the administrators. Often they come in for a few years, they behave arrogantly and disrespectfully toward building staff, and then they leave.

My view is that the level of anger will go up if this strike stretches out for much longer. And that anger will be lasting. I don't think this is a healthy situation in a school system. I remember what happened when there was a high level of anger at Dr. Goodloe-Johnson: starting at Ballard High School, different buildings passed a series of no-confidence resolutions, culminating in a no-confidence resolution at the General Membership meeting. I'm not saying that will happen with Dr. Nyland, but I wouldn't count it out, either. My point is that anger can boil up among building staff, and then there are consequences that a School Board is ultimately forced to deal with.

I've been wondering if members of the district bargaining team and perhaps Dr. Nyland, for reasons I don't understand, wanted a strike. If I judged by their behavior alone, I'd say they wanted one. I don't understand their intentions, but I do see some of the consequences. Staff solidarity is stronger than it has been since I've worked in SPS. Pride in the union is stronger than it's ever been. Our solidarity with the parent community is stronger than it's ever been. I'm not sure what the district bargainers think they're accomplishing, but I wonder if they haven't miscalculated.

While talks are at an impasse, there is a way for the two bargaining teams to reach an agreement in short order. The district must agree to SEA's proposal to form a task force to study the idea of lengthening the school day, and the district should use that process to seek parent input. The district needs to compromise on other issues around testing, caseloads, and SAOP overtime pay. And both sides need to work toward the middle on pay increases.

Do I think that will happen? I'm not sure that it will. I can see this strike stretching out to the point that SEA members are forced back to work without a contract, the worst of possible ends to the strike. The long-term consequences of such an end would be highly detrimental to any kind of cohesion in the district.

The wild card in this process is the parent community. They are great and powerful, if they but realized it. They are perhaps the only ones who can penetrate the fortress that the district bargaining team and the superintendent inhabit. They could create the urgency that would pressure the district to settle this.

David Edelman

Anonymous said...

People should know the bargaining team has been working all summer on the contract holding many meetings that district representatives did not show up.. The district did not come to the table until late August with little agreement or any indication that they were ready to "bargain" .. before you blame teachers look to the district and their actions too... Actions speak louder than words and teachers are using their action to speak up for years of lack of respect and support from downtown.. It not about money it's about respect
-teacher

Teacher said...

I had the same thought as David Edelman--it seems as if the district, by being so blatantly rude in not showing up to meetings--wanted to force this strike. And I agree that if a compromise is not found, there will be a lot of unhealthy anger among teachers.

And, also, this is definitely the most unifying event among teachers and parents I have ever seen. The passion that is coming out of the woodwork from teachers and parents totally has caught me off guard. Teachers at my school--once loathing each other--are now hugging, high-fiving, telling each other they are working for the better good of the city (really? the "better good"?!?), parents are coming up to me to give me hugs and pies and telling me they fully support me. Throughout all of this, the district is sinister, jerks,a--holes. I think this strike is keying in to a very, very deep feeling of populism that Seattle has always had.

What gets me is that all of this passion for this cause--a passion I haven't seen since Obama's election--where is it coming from? The sense that this great wrong done to teachers is now being righted. Where is that coming from?

Yes, it obviously isn't about that 4 percent, that hundred extra bucks or so a month. It is about years of feeling disrespected.

Whether the district is actually disrespecting the Union (and therefore, teachers) or if the Union is playing it that way, I have no idea. I feel there is a lot of manipulation going on--I just don't know where it is coming from.

Anonymous said...

In the current dysfunctional tribal times, we find opposing camps far too often. These camps shade or distort the truth to advance a position. Often all this happens and the truth is concealed.

Each person is entitled to their own opinion, but NOT their own facts.

A history of yearly SPS teacher salaries over the last 10 years should be presented (it is a fact). Yet the SEA has yet to present those facts to the general public. Why?

Frustrated Mind

n said...

David, I always respect your opinions and think you post them clearly and thoughtfully. But, please, no more task forces. I think there are parents and teachers who want it over. But I believe most teachers - especially those who have been around a while - are willing to see it through as long as they feel supported by parents. It is hard. SEA should have a strike fund to help every teacher who needs it to basic rent if nothing else. We pay a lot and I've been resentful of it more than once myself. Esp. because those of us at elementary get very little support from SEA.

RE length of day and money: for me it is all about more planning time but I am in the minority. I said it would come down to money for teachers and always about inconvenience for parents. Bottom line. More money will not ease the burden and pressure of daily teaching at elementary. Longer recess means more outside duty for me. As for pay, perhaps we have gotten some sort of raise over the last few years - I don't know because I can attest to the fact that my paycheck has gotten smaller over that time and I was told it was because medical coverage went up.

But I am part of a larger group whose demands I have to respect even if I don't agree with priorities. Again, we have different needs at elementary and I bet those teachers above are K-5 teachers. I'm not clairvoyant but I think their thoughts reflect mine. Jonathan is a very poor listener and even poorer leader and motivator for elementary teachers. We are an afterthought for him.

Final thought for me is that something has to give and this is our best chance to make it happen. I hope the ranks will stick with it. I mean we are only going into the third day for goodness sake. Remember Marysville! Remember the California nurses! Remember the garbage collectors! And our strike may become a factor in any McCleary resolution. All strikes contribute to the understanding that funding must change. If we keep giving in to small gains, we'll be forever catching up - even to other school districts in our own backyards.

Elementary is mostly women and until SEA pays some attention to us, there will be no enduring elementary flank in the battle.

Anonymous said...

All of you who are saying the district did not show up to bargaining meetings, what were those dates and where did you get the information? I have yet to hear union leadership actually say it, and I have yet to have anyone answer with the specific dates. I am so tired of rumors and people not fact checking.

Different Teacher

Anonymous said...

SPS website now says this re: their latest salary increase offer:

Year 1: SPS 2.0% + COLA 3.0% = 5% total
Year 2: SPS 3.2% + COLA 1.8% = 5% total
Year 3 (certificated): SPS 4.0% + COLA (unknown)% = 4% total
Year 3 (classified): SPS 3.75%+COLA (unknown)% = 3.75% total
That's a total increase of 14 percent for certified teachers and 13.75 percent for classified staff.

Are those yearly and 3-year totals really correct? My understanding was that the COLA increase was on the state-funded base salary, and the SPS increase was on the local portion. That would mean the actual annual increase is somewhere between the two numbers, not the total of them. If 75% of your salary increases by 3% and the other 25% increases by 2%, that's a 2.75% increase overall, right? (And if this is right, does SPS know what they're talking about? Or is this just spin--a really evil kind of spin?)

HF

Anonymous said...

I am with n on planning time.

A study of really high performing nations reveals way way more planning time than in US schools. Yet both union and management continually avoid any real discussion of significantly lengthening planning time.

One of many things that distinguishes "expensive" high performing independent schools is lots of planning time for teachers. In many cases well more than twice as much as in the SPS.

I believe that at Rainier Beach a Math Grant at one time provided teachers with two plan periods. A step in the right direction .... So what about more planning time for all teachers? Oh right we ignore that.

Exhausted Mind

Melissa Westbrook said...

I wish there was a tally - independent of course - of when the negotiating meetings were. I would have been happy to stand outside and just record time/date and who showed up. But, at this point, there's no way of proving anything.

Anonymous said...

"Jonathan is a very poor listener and even poorer leader and motivator for elementary teachers. We are an afterthought for him. "

Worth Repeating

Anonymous said...

"Final thought for me is that something has to give and this is our best chance to make it happen."

I have the same feeling. Morale is very high at our school. Personally, I could strike as long as they did in Marysville, if it came to that. However, long before we reach day 49, public pressure will end it in Seattle.

I will say it again: the parents are great and powerful, if they but know it. They can end this strike.

David Edelman

Anonymous said...

Ultimately the school board is responsible for the harmony of the district and avoiding strikes. How do the pay increases for administration or service workers compare to teachers over the last 5, 10, or 20 years? Everyone should rise and fall in the same boat as the budget dictates. If the school board is not insuring pay equity across the workforce, they are failing at managing the public's resources, and costing the taxpayers a huge amount of money.

Perhaps school board members should be paid 200K a year and work full time so they have some skin in the game and do their job for the public.

-NNNCr

seattle citizen said...

HF, my understanding is that both the cola and the raise are on base pay. First year, the state would raise base pay 3.0%; the district would add a raise to base pay of 2.0%. The district PAYS the local portion, which would include the 2.0% raise plus existing TRI funds. In other words, both COLA and raise are on base pay.
But it IS confusing and I could be mistaken.

Anonymous said...

"If the school board is not insuring pay equity across the workforce, they are failing at managing the public's resources, and costing the taxpayers a huge amount of money."

I've been acquainted with four Board members, and not one of them seemed to have a handle on the district's budget.

David Edelman

kellie said...

If the issue on the table was just $100 / month, I have great confidence, there would have been a way to extend the current contract with a small increase in pay. How many times have teachers started the school year without a new contract, simply a provisional contract or a one year extension?

I don't think anyone enters the education profession because they want to get rich or they want to go on strike. Every teacher I have encountered, just wants to get back in their classroom. I also know far too many teachers who readily spend $100 out of their own pockets on something for their students or someone else students.

There are clearly some very messy issues in the background. Years of state level budget cuts that have gone along side increasing capacity pressures on every building in the district. The combination has taken a huge toll on the education that students receive and working conditions for ALL SPS building staff - every building, every grade level.

Every parent I know, with more than one student in SPS, can easily tell you the difference in education between the older sibling and the younger sibling.

Anonymous said...

David, I think that is true that parents could end it, but while parents were initially very teacher focused, now that the numbers have come out and progress has stalled the tide has turned considerably. It is all the parents around me are talking about, and things are changing. it is very hard for most parents to stomach refusal to even talk about a 14% raise (plus probable COLA from the state- so likely 18% raise. 18%! That is incredible, and they won't even speak to the district? While we all just hang in the wind? Even if Hf is right, those numbers are still excellent, worth at least a meeting.). Parents are still fairly supportive; we love our teachers. But I don't think that will hold into next week as ramshackle care plans start to fall apart. I don't think the bargaining teams are looking at parents really, though, and I think you are also right that parents don't really know how to organize. But if they did- I don't think it would be completely on SEA's side, and less so every passing day.

I do think the SEA bargaining team wanted a strike. I don't think Nyland did. He did not engage early enough. I blame him for that. But now we are in the crisis and it is SEA who is acting in bad faith, which is significantly worse, and they know it.

I was at the picket lines the first day, but now I feel duped. And the teachers there were all still talking about getting more recess, which has been done since Sunday. Someone is taking advantage of all this misinformation and haze. It is hard for me to square the teachers at my school I know and love with those people on the bargaining team playing games with hundreds of thousands of people.

North Parent

Anonymous said...

"
I've been acquainted with four Board members, and not one of them seemed to have a handle on the district's budget.


So how do these folks evaluate the superintendent?

Would it not be the superintendent's job to make all aspects of the budget clear to the Board members?

Over the last 10 years, it really does not appear that the Board as a voting group is particularly better informed on many other non-budget issues on which they vote.

Inquiring Mind

n said...

North Parent, why put the onus on teachers and SEA? When the nurses and the trash collectors strike, the public gets government to comply. Why are teachers different? Every mayor dreads a sanitation strike because in the end, they are forced to negotiate a good deal. In SPS, maintenance workers negotiate a good deal - one that often makes teachers into custodial workers. The nurses stuck in out in California and negotiated a good deal for themselves - thanks to Rosemary DeMauro. Teachers work every bit as hard and the work is constant and around-the-clock and around-the-year. And if you want teachers to continue meeting those demands instead of changing careers after the district has put in five-to-ten years training them, then respect them and trust that they deserve to be treated as equals to nurses, maintenance workers, and trash collectors.

Maybe we are finally after more than just catching up. I stand by what I said above: money is not my issue. But, I stand in solidarity with SEA. As a group and after so many years of being behind, we have earned the right to do more than catch up.

Anonymous said...

They have been offered a good deal. I was all for giving teachers a raise. I walked with teachers Wednesday. Times are better. teachers should get more! But what's on offer is more- a lot more. To completely snub it while children and families suffer is reprehensible.

North Parent

n said...

BTW, I'm older and probably won't even see the benefits being negotiated. But if you want excellent teachers in Seattle - teachers that don't just get their experience here and then move to a district that pays them commensurate with their cost of living - then support us now and show us that you understand the value we bring to each and every neighborhood. Your child's education is only as good as the teachers who provide it. Instead of complaining that we have some poor teachers, pay them well and give them time to plan and teach and then you have the right to demand the best teachers you can get. And if you don't get the best, raise hell with the superintendent, the board, and the principal. Seattle is a great place to live but teachers have to be able to afford to live here.

n said...

To completely snub it while children and families suffer is reprehensible.
What's on the table is "catching up." Children and families are doing or continuing to do what they do every summer. I don't consider that "suffering" and I hope you don't either. Not really.

veteran sub said...

I expect there's a good reason why the SEA isn't sitting there negotiating right now, but they are falling down on communicating that. Last I talked to someone on the bargaining team, he said the district was still pushing multiple items that had already been rejected as non-starters earlier in the summer. That may still be the case. But yeah, the SEA/bargaining team really should communicate that.

n said...

Inquiring Mind: Where's Charlie? That was his cue. I'd love to hear his thoughts on all this.

GarfieldMom said...

North Parent, I find it really hard to believe you supported teachers so strongly that you walked with them on Wednesday but 24hours later you have completely changed your mind about that support. I think you're here to try to make it look like parents' support is wavering, which isn't the case.

Anyone else noticing this sudden influx of posters clearly new to the conversation here?

Anonymous said...

"The irony is, SEA takes a $100 out of my check per month. No choice in the matter at all. The amount now being argued over. SEA gets about half a million a year from our dues. I expect better from them. I didn't expect to have to spend my mid-winter break days cleaning garbage up in September as my "community service" so that tax-payers don't think I am striking just to get an extra vacation day."

This bugs me, too. Especially given the number of release positions our dues cover. Maybe that's why the WEASO support staff is now grumbling about not having their own contract. Here's from their facebook page:

"Our union colleagues in Oregon are having to sue the Oregon Education Association for its failure to comply with an arbitrator's ruling. It is a sad day when an educators' union fails to live by union values, the collective bargaining agreement, and to comply with a binding arbitration decision."

Losing Faith

Anonymous said...

Different teacher,

I was a part of a group of SEA members who were invited to observe bargaining on July 28th from 2-6 pm. When we got there, the district team was “in caucus”. After about 30 minutes, they returned to the room. They rejected the SEA proposal that they had been discussing, and the district team member who was speaking to the proposal talked for about 20 minutes about a school district in Maryland that she had visited. She really liked how they did things. She did not offer a counter proposal based on her Maryland observations. I guess she just wanted to share. The district then said that they had nothing else for the day. It was 3:00. I had child care arranged until 6:30. I have a colleague who attended other bargaining sessions during the summer, and this is similar to what he saw.

Elementary Woman

n said...

I agree with everything you said but please don't lose faith. That's our most important tactic. We know we will defy the SPS/SEA averages and get it done this time. We just will get it done!

Anonymous said...

I guess if they live in Leave it to Beaverland with a stay at home parent and no plans or infinite disposable income to spend on emergency childcare and children who are not actually anxious about starting school it is just like summer. For the rest of us, yes, actually, this is suffering. Maybe that is still worth it, but I am pretty offended at the idea that this is just an extra week/month/semester of happy fun summer vacation the bargaining teams are giving us. Please be respectful of our sacrifice as you ask us for more.

Sorry, I am just really sick of hearing about how this is just a little inconvenient or no big deal if we actually love teachers. I love teachers, and this is a huge deal. Yes, "suffering." Not summer.

-sleeper

Anonymous said...

I am really relieved to hear some alternative voices express their concerns and dissent and the last time I checked a history text (not endorsed by Gates) that is the fountain of democracy.

And this fountain has a great deal of water. Why has no one spoken about the other members of this team that comprises education. The IA's, the Secretary's, the Lunch Ladies, the Security, the Custodians, the Attendance Clerks and the Substitutes that are all part of a school?

I find it interesting that none of these people are making any income and their financial security is dependent upon the outcome of which no one is asking their opinion.

Seattle is a city that does not do well with dissent nor conflict and when you differ on the status quo you see what results, name calling or as I call it card throwing with whatever "ist" suits.

I do find it odd that Charlie Mas the caller of lawlessness on the district is silent. I guess priorities matter and this is not a priority.

I suspected that the breaking point would be the 72 hour mark the conventional one associated with most contracts. What will go beyond this is that the schools dynamics will be divided in ways that will take quite awhile to repair.

I am not sure if this is very much becoming he said/she said but it seems to be turning in that direction.

So whatever side of the pickets you are on remember that these are the people with whom you are entrusting your children or are people with whom you are going to work. So watch your words and realize it that to disagree is to agree that we have the right in which to do so and that is all that matters. As to the why that frankly is irrelevant

-- SPS ignored staff

veteran sub said...

Ignored Staff: Last I checked, those people you cite HAVE been part of this. I've heard office staffers at the union meetings. Their wages are part of this. IAs have been part of this all along. I'm a sub--we're ABSOLUTELY a part of this.

Anonymous said...

Doing what we've done all summer? Hardly. During the summer we had family vacations, educational camps, and tried new activities. It was enriching. Strike days, however, result in minimally supervised kids while I work from home, so the kids primarily play video games. Their brains will be turned to mush by the time school starts. That ought to be fun for teachers.

n said...

Sleeper, please don't "love" me. I'm a professional who spends hours and hours and lots of my own money to teach your children. I don't do it for love. I know the old saw is that teachers teach out of love. I remember hearing that over and over while at the UW. I never believed it. I teach because I have a love of learning myself. I teach because I'm a Renaissance sort of woman who loves to share her curiosity about things. Nothing thrills me more than seeing my kids become independent thinkers who are exposed to ideas and who love to learn.

Did you choose your doctor because you "love" him or her? Your hairdresser? Your grocery store? Your babysitter? Hopefully, you chose those who provided professional services do a good job. I wanted to stop being loved by ten years into the profession. That's when someone much longer in than me put my mind at rest by telling me that I'm a teacher, not a parent. It is your job to love them. It is my job to teach them.

I came into teaching as an older already-established-in-the-workforce woman. I made less money as a first-year teacher than I did at any clerk's or managerial job I ever had. But the passion for letting loose my creative juices and sparking children's love of learning made it worthwhile. And I loved my independence which is long gone these days.

The first thing I want from you is respect and support. The last thing I want is love.

Anonymous said...

Fine. Support. I support. I was just copying the signs I see on strike. Calling this extended summer is still offensive.

-sleeper

n said...

@anonymous (btw, you're supposed to have a two-word name posted at the end of your post)

If you actually can afford to take the whole summer for family vacations and summer camps, then you are lucky. You might try starting up a neighborhood tag team. You might look into programs at boys and girls clubs. There are options out there. And I'm sorry you are inconvenienced.

Ah, why is it I suddenly feel like a babysitter again?

Melissa Westbrook said...

Thank you, Seattle Citizen. That's the most coherent explanation so far about the money.

Ignored Staff, I'm sorry you missed the news. Charlie moved away months ago and while he does chime in sometime, it is not always easy for him. Please do not assign a motive where there is none.

I appreciate this is hard on everyone. But the teachers are not fighting just over money for themselves - they have fought (and won) for recess, for testing (still working on that one), race/equity teams at each school (I believe they won that as well). And more money for subs.

That said, I don't get the messaging and something needs to change, stat. The lack of social media presence is troubling.

Patrick said...

If it was extended summer, I could have taken my kid on a fun and educational trip, instead of hanging around town wondering if there will be school next day. And losing the chance for such a trip during whatever days are used to make up the time.

However, notwithstanding that minor inconvenience, I support and respect our teachers, and if it takes a multiweek strike to get them the best possible contract, so be it.

n said...

I try to pride myself on staying out of the sarcasm but I'm starting to fail so I will sleep on what you've all said. I believe we all want the best for kids. Sometimes it takes its toll on all of us. Put the pressure on the District because in the final analysis, they are the new elite and they are the reason your kids will or will not receive the best education possible - if that is really what is important to you.

Anonymous said...

Anyone else noticing this sudden influx of posters clearly new to the conversation here?

Maybe because some parents have had enough. We support our teachers, but there is not an unlimited reservoir of support. We already start later than many school systems, and the original Sept. 9 start was late as it was. We want our kids back in school. Our kids want to be back in school.

This is about more than being "inconvenienced." High school students take national exams - SAT, PSAT, AP, etc. - that are given on fixed dates. Fewer days in school mean students will be less prepared. Days tacked on to the end of the year will be meaningless. The time has been lost. Two weeks?! That is not a minor inconvenience.

n said...

Quickly, Patrict - I didn't say "extended" summer but you do manage to continue working while finding a way to handle the summer childcare. I give you credit for being able to handle this very important and worthwhile effort on the part of educators. Put the pressure on the District and not on us. If anything, this blog continues to make visible the failures and turf building on the district side. If exposing those things did anything at all, it should galvanize all parents to finally fully and vociferously support the people who are trying to change it. Go after administration. You must if we are to make the gains that win for children, teachers and parents.

n said...

@anonymous
Tell the district exactly that. Get them to seriously bargain on behalf of the teachers and students and get them back in school.

Transparency Please said...



"I've been acquainted with four Board members, and not one of them seemed to have a handle on the district's budget."

No surprise. There are serious issues surrounding transparency.

Anonymous said...

There seems to have been no progress on anything over the summer, or was it just that I wasn't paying attention? I would absolutely love to see some kind of accounting of what was going on and who was actually treating the negotiations like an urgent issue. Of course, I have my assumptions, but I am willing to be proven wrong. Surely as a public agency SPS owes all of us a fair and accurate timeline of how we got to where we are today.

In the absence of a report, which I will not hold my breath on, it is my feeling that SPS is the only side of the table that could possibly gain by negotiating in bad faith, cynically waiting until the last minute, brinksmanship, whatever it is you want to call it. The teachers don't gain by it, as we've heard in many of these comments -- the risk is all on their end as parents begin to face the reality of a protracted shutdown. The longer this goes on the more this is true. I don't know enough about SEA to love or hate them, but I have talked to my children's teachers on the picket line (including one who was on the SEA negotiating team) and it is clear to me that they feel that SPS left them no choice but to strike and that the district offered very little honest explanation for bizarre negotiating behavior like adding that last-minute demand about an extra 30 minutes of instruction.

I'm very distressed AND inconvenienced by the fact of my kids not being in school. However, the teachers have my support for as long as they need it.

Different North Parent

veteran sub said...

Different North Parent asked, "There seems to have been no progress on anything over the summer, or was it just that I wasn't paying attention?"

Actually, yeah, the story from the bargaining team has been that the district was a mess all summer and got very little done. They waited until literally the last day of negotiations to drop this whole plan to extend the school day on us. The story from people on the bargaining team--without any particular malice--is that the district showed a lot of disarray and disorganization all along. I'd be more reluctant to believe that if it only came from one or two SEA leaders. The bargaining team is 38 people from across the district & across different careers, and they're all on the same page.

I can't speak to anything that has gone down in the last 24 hours.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Veteran sub, that helps put it into perspective for me.

It would be nice if our local media was asking tougher questions about things like this.

Different North Parent

Patrick said...

Inquiring mind "So how do these folks evaluate the superintendent?"

Thanks for the best laugh since Melissa's "Easy peasy, let me get my wand."

n said...

I wonder if we elected our superintendent instead of appointing him, he'd be more participatory in ending this thing? He doesn't really have anything to lose, does he? So if it goes on forever and we still lose, you'll all be mad at us for a very long time. No one will have gained and the overpaid-underperforming-admin will have won. What a wonderful scenario that will be. You'll have a boatload of happy teachers in your classrooms then - not.

If it were me, I'd start sending emails every day to the boss and tell him to stand up and do more for his teachers and kids.

Go to bed, n!

Anonymous said...

There will always be anti-union people in a large teachers union, there are a lot in the general public. They're just venting their anger at the concept of collective bargaining.

I think if a teacher dislikes unions they should consider working at private schools, or charters, if they move to state which allows them.

grateful parent

Elem teacher said...

I don't like not having a say in my own salary negotiations. Why is the union not asking me if I would be happy with a measly 4 % less than what they feel is fair? All the union did regarding contract was to send an e- mail asking if Inepuld be willing to give up my morning prep time. If there are any SEA reading this, I'm fine with the 14 % the district is offering. I don't need 18 %. I want a contract now. And I want more voice in my union. Why not send out another e- mail to your members actually asking what we want?

Lynn said...

GarfieldMom,

Anyone else noticing this sudden influx of posters clearly new to the conversation here?

Yes

GarfieldMom said...

If you want some idea of the bargaining process and progress since May, you can read SEA update emails that went out over that time. Go to the SEA website, click on Bargaining.

Don't miss updates 9 and 11 that document two HUGE issues that were only brought to the table in mid-August by SPS. Coming in with a major change like lengthening the school day when you know you are less than two weeks from the end of the current contract is not a good way to ensure you get an agreement by the start of school.

And update #5 documents the failure of the district SPED team to show up for a meeting where both sides had agreed to present proposals on SPED. Read that one for sure if you are wondering where the sense of being disrespected by the district comes from.

You can also see who is on the bargaining team if you've been wondering.

Anonymous said...

HF/Seattle Citizen – I’ve been reviewing the TRI contract language and believe it agrees with what you and our school’s staff union leaders have stated - the district raise is calculated only on the base and then added to the prior year TRI base for the upcoming year.

“Base pay” from the state averages 75.23% of total salary (72.23%-78.1% depending where on the pay scale). In line with Seattle Citizen’s observation, if SPS offers a 2.0% increase the net pay increase is actually 1.5% (minor variances depending upon where on the pay scale) as it’s “on base pay”.

The 2015-2016 WA State pay scale shows a 3.0% increase to base pay (http://www.k12.wa.us/safs/PUB/PER/SalAllocSchedule.pdf versus http://www.k12.wa.us/safs/PUB/PER/K-12SalAllocSchedCIS2015-16.pdf). Calculations from http://leap.leg.wa.gov/leap/budget/leapdocs/2015L2.pdf confirm the district’s 2016-2017 COLA at 1.8%. This same document from the state (3rd page, 14 lines down) shows the starting “derived base salary” contribution from the state as being $229 more than the base on the district salary schedule – not sure why.

Thus, if approximately 75% of our salary (the state portion) is raised 3% then the state COLA net raise to Seattle teachers is actually about 2.25% this school year, and in turn 75% of the following year state’s 1.8% COLA means a state-based 1.35% net increase then.

As the SPS increase (TRI) is 2.0% of the base it nets to about 1.5% this year (75% +/- pay scale location variance) and in turn the 3.2% next year nets to about 2.4%.
The net increase of the district’s 1st year offer is 2.25% + 1.5% = 3.75% (not 5% total as in the district’s handout photographed at the West Seattle Blog https://twitter.com/westseattleblog/status/642101775944712194). Furthermore the net increase of this means the district’s 2nd year offer is 1.35% + 2.4% = 3.75% (not 5%). The compound effect is a 7.64% raise over 2 years (not 10% as listed/previously stated).

3rd year is tricky as nobody knows what the state may do, but using the district’s logic the 4% certificated increase (classified a touch less… why???) contributes a 3% net raise that year with a net compounded 3-year raise of 10.87% (not 14%). Will be more if the state doesn’t cancel the COLA yet again, and if I recall correctly the 1.8% is a temporary one-year boost only and so theoretically we could go backwards 3rd year with a 1.35% net reduction from the 10.87% (unlikely with McCleary fallout).

Mathematically the net salary annual increase % formula appears to be approximately (≈0.75* state COLA %) + (≈0.75 * SPS Offer %).

The non-TOTAL district listed percentages are technically appropriate even though the traditional conventions are misleading/confusing (ex. we know a $100 calculator costs $109.60 due to sales tax but we don’t accuse the store of misleading with a $100 price tag, we know if we “earn” $100 that we’ll get a check for less due to SS/Medicare taxes, etc.).

Definitely open to more feedback/clarification so those who know please beat through this and correct if any errors. Building on HF, Seattle Citizen and a read of the legalese appears to document that the district is incorrectly overstating the raises by over 3.1% by inappropriately totaling them.

John

Anonymous said...

Time to take on researching the overall budget… a “sniff test” tells me the district cost estimates for the proposals don’t smell right either and are also dramatically overstated. We really need equity teams/equity focuses, school counselors, school psychologists, nurses, less testing and more appropriate/relevant for the little we do (how long to get those "faster" Smarter Balanced results), IA’s, etc., to reach the district strategic plan goals (http://seattleschools.org/district/strategic_plan) much more than we need more “senior” JSC staff.

Because of press coverage we’ve been spending too much time on pay (I’m now guilty too – knew those #s didn’t seem right and wanted to figure it out).

John

Anonymous said...

Well interesting as now there is an upset that new voices are on the blog expressing their opinions and wanting to have a voice. Why is that troubling? Is that not okay? As long as its civil and polite I see no reason to not join the fray. Been to the Seattle Times or the Stranger Slog the exchanges that transpire there is well disturbing to say the least but also quite demonstrative to show a larger disparate voice to the issue.

Again this is a democracy and there will always be divided views in which to respect and to disagree with. It is the manner in which we choose to disagree that is the most telling about one.

And I am curious as Veteran Sub as said yes the IA's the Subs, the extended staff are a part of the contracts and have/can attended the meetings.. but they are utterly ignored or voiceless when it comes to anyone actually well other than you speaking on the behalf. I found your posts discussing quite poignantly and honestly about your income and your job situation. Irony that the same "n" person here who scolded and reprimanded you is here utterly doing the same to anyone who dissents from the norm or the script.

And that is what this dialog has seemingly become to the casual observer. Scolding, reprimanding, and then a few such as this John above who spent time actually doing the data, others who have asked questions about larger issues and been scolded and reprimanded. Funny for Teachers to respond by saying "why are people talking about stuff they don't know anything about" That one needs to be framed on my wall.

So as a member of the ignored and invisible I have no Facebook club to join, I have no media attention, I have no strike benefits, or free snacks I have no income. I still have rent to pay, food I have to eat, and well bills.

Do I support the strike? I have no idea as I have not spoken to anyone. I have been called names, derided her and received the Seattle scold more times in the last 2 days than normal. Seattle has never done well with those who don't tow the company line and this is a company town in every sense of the word.

I support those who are in it for the bigger picture and try to be respectful as they have lofty goals but when it becomes I got mine I need mine and this is about me..well you lost me for certain. Funny that "n" in the earlier exchange was quite clear about that Veteran Sub and you were much more about the they. I respect your view and those from Teachers who simply cannot see this as more than worries for their jobs, their income. I see families on both sides of the struggle but what I have found interesting is watching this unfold and much like the district the divisions are much like the city itself, divided by the ship canal.

I don't see much long range community building to come from this. That is just my opinion and I am entitled to one.

- SPS Ignored Staff

Anonymous said...

John is correct. All of the pay increases we're hearing about are calculated according to base salary. Base salary is about 75% of total salary. The remaining quarter is TRI pay. Thus, a 4% increase is really a 3% increase.

Here is something to chew over: South Whidbey Education Association settled for 5% each year for two years. The last I heard (correct me if I'm wrong) the SEA proposed a two-year contract, with raises of 5% and 5.5%, which is .5% higher than Whidbey.

David Edelman

Curious said...

I'm a parent and would love to believe what David Edelman writes about my community being "great and powerful, if they but realized it." Ok: I'll bite. Tell me what to do to exercise my great power. Write an email to the super? Go down to the district offices and wave a sign around? I'm furious, and completely serious. I keep my kids in public schools because I believe in them, but I do not feel as though I have much power to change anything, beyond voting for school board members and writing angry letters to various stakeholders. Help me. I will do whatever it takes to end this strike and reach a reasonable agreement so Seattle's kids can get back to class.

Anonymous said...

To follow up on my previous post, I think we should be aware that our contributions to health care coverage have increased over the last five years (again, correct me if I'm wrong). This contributes to our having lost ground in pay since COLAs were suspended.

I do not want my union to settle for less than South Whidbey received. That's my bottom line.

David Edelman

Anonymous said...

Curious,

You are less powerful if you work alone to try to influence the district. Your individual power increases if you work with other people.

I can't tell parents how to organize. They have to figure that out together. They have to use their talents, ingenuity, creativity, connections, and energy. In fact, that's what the FB group "Soup for Teachers" and its affiliates are doing.

If I were a parent in Seattle, I would join a group and help organize the effort to pressure the district. Organizing always starts with small circles of people. Then those circles expand, and activist organizations make connections and alliances in ever-expanding networks. You gain power as you go. At a certain critical mass, the affiliations of organized groups can make coordinated, visible campaigns that bring media attention, interrupt people's normal way of thinking and doing things, and force urgency on the people you're trying to change.

These are just principles of organizing. There is more to it, of course. How does this look ultimately? I don't know, and it would be a mistake for me to suggest, for example, that parents should organize a massive sit-in at JSCEE that completely shuts down the district. Parents have to figure out what is going to work for them. During the "Floe campaign," I saw what parents could do. I remain convinced of their power.

David Edelman

InGoodFaith said...

Please, no matter which "side" of this issue you support, ask both SPS and SEA to return to the bargaining table. Demand that both groups sit and work at it until this is done. A strike can continue, if need be, and all bargaining team members can and should return to the table, in good faith! No fingers pointing, no baseless claims of who was late to which meeting. We are at day 3 of a strike and day 3 of no bargaining. SEA and SPS sit down and get this done!

InGoodFaith

Anonymous said...

Parents do have power. Drop children off at district office and/or nearby school and go to work.

Tresanos said...

Thank you Favid Edelman! I have admired you for years as a grest teacher of my Ingraham kid. Admire you even more now.

Ingraham parent

Anonymous said...

If the state has not funded its 1080 hours for high school mandate, the schools should take a cue from how the legislature operates. If you don't like something, ignore it, and wait for the courts to try to catch up with you. Keep the high school at 1000 hours until the state funds it, if Dorn complains, take him to court for mandating unfunded hours.

-NNNCr

Anonymous said...

@InGoodFaith

100%. Anger will really start to grow from parents over the next week. Right or (more likely) wrong, at least half of that anger will be focused on SEA - I'm sure the district knows this and is likely counting on this in part, but that still doesn't make it go away.

I suspect that the majority of the goodwill teachers have will evaporate by next Friday, so SEA members will need to start preparing on how to handle angry people protesting - hopefully not accosting - your own protesting. You'll largely be on your own as time also marches on, so be strong.

The ones who suffer the most in the short-term from a strike are the parents. Kids eventually suffer (I was a student during the last strike) as the day-by-day "is there school tomorrow?" grinds everyone down. It's hard to see past those two things as a parent, even though this is really about the long-term sufferers to date and those that'll suffer without an improved contract: the SEA members, especially the teachers.

Parent of 2 in SPS

Anonymous said...

Why not a one year temporary contract and get school started on Monday? Come back next summer and work it out, and give it the time and due diligence. The federal gov does temporary fixes all the time. The legislature worked in June to avoid a state shutdown.

-NNNCr

Anonymous said...

Count me in as another parent whose anger and frustration is weighted much more heavily towards the teacher union than the district. The offer on the table seems more than fair. As far as I can tell, they want to be the highest paid teachers in the state for providing the least amount of instruction. They just look greedy.

Frustrated Northgate Parent

Anonymous said...

When will these days be made up? Winter break? Midwinter break? Summer? The school year is already scheduled to end after the first day of summer. Come the start of school, shortened breaks and lost days off will try students and teachers alike. Teachers, enjoy this sunny day and the goodwill while it lasts. Parents have every right to be upset that their children are not in school learning.

Anonymous said...

The conversation here and in the press is really focused on compensation. I am angry about compensation. I worry that Seattle will become a training ground for teachers. They will live here while they are in their 20’s and when they are ready to buy a house, they’ll take their well-honed teaching skills to Everett or Tacoma. I worry about the special needs kids (including my own), whose OT’s, PT’s, speech therapists and psychologists have unmanageable caseloads. SPS has no caseload cap for these people. Every surrounding district does. So we lose them, too. I want my colleagues in the office to have a reasonable workload and overtime pay. I want IA’s to be given the respect of more money and PD opportunities. I want all schools to be looking at how we are contributing to the school-to-prison pipeline by the use of disproportionate discipline tactics. I want teachers to have fair evaluations. And I don’t want kids to have a longer school day unless there is a clear plan for that time. All of these wants are why I’m on the picket line, not just for an extra $100 a month.

PS, I may be a new voice lately, but I've been reading this blog since 2007.

Elementary Woman

Curious said...

I think that pushing the year out further into the summer is not very realistic. People make plans. Some kids are already scheduled to participate in summer activities, visit family, etc. as soon as the school year was originally slated to end. These kids are going to leave early, and it will be harder for the kids who are there to take the end of the year seriously. And someone else made an excellent point that many, many kids who are not in school right now are spending lots of time in front of televisions and video game monitors. The longer this strike goes on, the tougher it is going to be for these kids to transition to "school-readiness," and the more difficult it will be to keep kids engaged in school until the very end of the year.

UGH

Anonymous said...

Elementary Woman, I agree 100%, and I'm a parent. I do think SEA needs to do better messenging though because those on the other side will, as a matter of strategy, peddle the "greedy teachers it's all about pay" story line. And parents will get more and more frustrated as the strike drags on. So messenging is extremely important. I'd also say that whether accurate or not the media (see seattle times today) is portraying this as the district having made a proposal and the union waiting for the district to come up with new ideas rather than responding to the proposal. If that isn't correct then SEA has to get the correct story out. If that IS correct then the SEA has to get back to the table and respond to the proposal. In my experience in negotiations parties will not negotiate with themselves. Parents are going to get very unhappy if they think - as the district is saying - that the district is willing to negotiate and the teachers are not.

Lawyer Mom

Anonymous said...

Are there years in which teachers got neither state COLAs nor district-funded pay scale increases? How many of the last ten? And if you also factor in the step increases built into the pay structure, what percent of teachers would have had no increase of any sort? My sense is that between the three types of increases, most see their paychecks increase each year--is that accurate? Probably not always enough to keep up with inflation, but better than the increases many others get. It's a luxury to have those step increases built in. I know a lot of people whose annual raise is maxed out at COLA, and even that is lucky to get. To get a real raise, you need a promotion. And health care costs have gone up for everyone--higher employee contributions, higher copays, higher deductibles, etc.

That said, I agree with Elementary Woman. Those other issues are the reason for my support on the picket line. I think SEA would be wise to quickly agree to the new salary offer, then fight tooth and nail on the other issues. Don't accept a longer instructional day unless the district wants to go back and add to the salary offer. Don't accept the uncapped caseload, unfair evaluation, etc. Parents can rally behind you much more easily when you're fighting for something for our kids, rather than when it's perceived as primarily about the already-increased-but-we-want-more money.

HF

teacher said...

So this isn't even about $100 if the raise is only on 75 % of out income! This is about $40. The district has already agreed to caseload caps and discipline policies are set by individual schools, not the distract. Those other issues are distraction. This is about salary and all of this is about making ten dollars more wr week. Really, SEA? Really?

dan dempsey said...

Elementary woman wrote:
" I am angry about compensation. I worry that Seattle will become a training ground for teachers. They will live here while they are in their 20’s and when they are ready to buy a house, they’ll take their well-honed teaching skills to Everett or Tacoma." ... well put "Training Ground for Teachers".

This is exactly what happened beginning in the mid-1980s ... the State had approved and put in place the statewide salary schedule for teachers and any place was financially way better than the Seattle-Bellevue area for teachers.

Then came the allowing of TRI money to stop the teacher exodus.
This why Ross Hunter went to great detail on explaining how "McCleary", with full funding of the entire salary of teachers by the state, will need to carefully determine Teacher salaries based on a distict's location. Seattle teachers cannot be receiving Pullman, WA salaries.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Election of superintendent? Charlie always endorsed that one.

John, if you would put all that info into an easy-to-read chart, I'd be so glad to put it up. It truly matters that parents and the public get it. (No matter how they take it.)

David brings up a good point. The district says that the teachers are among the highest paid in the state. Yes, they are compared to say, Pasco, where the average house price is $163K and in Seattle, it's north of $500K. The issue of paying teachers more to be in more expensive cities is an issue all over the country. It plays directly to the HALA report where we have decisions to make about who get to actually LIVE in Seattle and who works there (but has to commute in because of housing costs).

Nyland is better paid than the Governor.

Yes, better messaging from SEA.

Want to do something? Use social media. Tell your friends on Facebook that you support the teachers b/c it is NOT just about money. It's about recess, testing, race/equity, support staff. All things teachers are fighting about FOR kids.

Use Twitter and, for right now, use #SPSstrike. Teachers use: #ITeachBecause and tell your story.

Lastly, teachers, I hear your frustration and everyone is entitled to their opinion. That said, I gently point out that you hurt your group's cause at this point. The time to really act on that frustration is not in the midst of a strike but when you vote for new leadership.

Anonymous said...

Teacher,

I'm really not following your logic or you math. If SPS is stonewalling an SEA request for a very little raise, then this is not about SEA making unreasonable demands. If I follow your line of reasoning, it seems all the easier for the SPS bargaining team to offer the teachers a reasonable counter-offer. Negotiation is a two-way street.

Different North Parent

Anonymous said...

Huzzah, HF. I could get behind that. I'm also a lawyer, and SEA's refusal to talk is what is angering me the most, though all the salary obfuscation is a close second. "Stomp my foot and pout until you give in" is the tactic my elementary kid uses, not to great effect. Parties who are negotiating have to keep talking. The time for "cooling off" periods was before the strike started. Not talking while parents are out here twisting in the wind is galling. Accept the salary offer, and keep talking about the rest.

If we are wrong, and SEA really still is bargaining and making proposals- please let us know. I am on the side of whoever is actually working to get children back in school. That is whoever is at the table right now. It really, really does not matter what happened this summer. There is a crisis now. I've been around a long time and don't trust the district either, but I can't know what nobody tells me.

Also, I think it makes a lot of sense that a bunch of Seattle parents would suddenly find themselves keenly interested in education issues this week, to the point of posting on blogs, don't you all? New voices are to be expected. And welcomed.

-sleeper

Anonymous said...

Elementary mom... HUGS

I had a very similar and the sole positive encounter with well maybe you? But on the bus yesterday. She was talking to a friend on the cell phone and talking about the strike and saying everything you said. Here she was explaining this big picture without yelling and getting it right. She used "our" vs "mine" and I thought I have to say something so we got off at the same stop and spoke briefly.

And yet here we were strangers, living in the "south" on Rainier hugging. I have been called or inferred I am racist as I am not going to join a FB page and tweet ## that have nothing to do with the strike. Odd that it is private and cannot see any of it unless you join. Really is that a way to encourage a dialog and exchange.

Then we have people saying who are these "voices" yes well here we are and we have something to say.. and Lawyer mom added to that and makes valuable contribution despite being a Lawyer!!! Who knew.. well first time for everything.. and yes we can joke here and that is okay too. Or not in Seattle. I don't know anymore. I am exhausted from the endless scolding versus conversing.

Perhaps that might be why negotiations are not going along it seems to be at this point finger pointing blame seeking. Going day one to get an injunction was odd and also quite divisive and not a way to facilitate a dialog.

But then again you can toss out the cards, the words and not apologize or even acquiesce when your impressions are incorrect about the person or you did not understand their "humor" or way of expressing themselves.

Again if someone says something which you don't agree or understand try asking versus scolding reprimanding which is bullying. And irony that every school wall discusses that issue.

And I just want to remind many that I can respect the Teachers, the issues and the debate but the neglect of others that comprise a school should also merit a discussion. Not thanks now back to our regular programming. That too almost seems patronizing and condescending.

I just went back to look at the original dialog between "n" and the "veteran sub" and here they are not speaking to each other. I bet the Teacher's Lounge when school starts will be interesting one.

- SPS ignored staff

Anonymous said...

Health care isn't cost of living? It better be included in any cost of living index. What's a COLA calculated on, the cost of a case of top ramen noodles?

If the COLA isn't paying for similar health care year on year, it's not a COLA.

-NNNCr

Anonymous said...

Melissa,
Will there be a report on last night's event at City Hall?
--Baile Funk

teacher said...

My point is that the district has agreed or counter-offered reasonably on every point the SEA has made except slaty. Teacher evaluation, btw, has already been agreed upon by SEA and district. Caseload cap should be agreed upon because the district os of erring what SEA asked. The hold out issue is salary and the amount being argued aver comes up to $10 per week.

My point is, I'm sick of all the hugging and solidarity over a measly ten dollars.

I would like to see all of this energy go to a more worthy cause than increasing my salary by ten bucks per week.

I'm hurting THE CAUSE?

What, I'm hurting the cause to get me $40 extra bucks I'm my paycheck? Oh, dear, such a crucial cause to hurt....

Anonymous said...

@ n, I can't really say why it is that you suddenly feel like a babysitter again, since nothing I said had anything to do with that. Maybe that's just how you feel deep down inside? What I did say was that I tried to ensure my kids had an enriching summer. We had a short family vacation (all summer? yeah right!), the kids had a bit of unscheduled time off, and they had some educational camps. Yes, we are fortunate to be able to take a small trip, and to be able to pay for some camps (as opposed to hiring a babysitter, which we do not need or want). It's a financial burden, but we want the kids to continue learning and growing over the summer. But finding the right opportunities takes time and planning, and boys and girls club camps are not what my kids need. They want activities that inspire and challenge them, not what they feel is more like babysitting. That's what I want too, but I haven't found any such camps set up for this week, or next week--and I couldn't afford to risk signing them up anyway, since school might start any day. But yes, it's my problem, not yours. We'll manage. And the brain mush probably won't last forever.

Still, it's pretty ironic that you suggest sending them to these emergency childcare camps in lieu of what should be school, then turn around and complain that you feel like a babysitter. I would never consider the camps a substitute for school, so it's funny that you do. Maybe I have a mistaken notion of what actually takes place at school? Maybe you're more of a babysitter than either of us likes to admit? I hold out hope that's not the case.

HF

veteran sub said...

Ignored Staff: I didn't come to this blog looking for any fights. Online personality conflicts only lead to big derails.


I fully expect there's a good reason the SEA isn't at the table right now, but I also agree that it's a horrible mistake for them not to communicate what that is.

Anonymous said...

Garfield Mom, I am sorry you find it unbelievable that I would picket with my beloved teachers Wednesday just because they asked(isn't that enough reason?), and then upon finding out more information changed my mind. They were picketing for more recess, equity, less testing, and raises. Now it appears that raises were the only thing out of those actually on the table, so the strike really is just about the money, which nobody actually knows about anyway. I don't think the actual teachers picketing really knew that. Maybe they do now. I don't support the strike anymore. I support my teachers, but they aren't driving this and don't want it. I don't want it either.

North Parent

Melissa Westbrook said...

BF, I did not attend the event at City Hall. If anyone else did and would like to write it up, send it to me at sss.westbrook@gmail.com. I can link to The Stranger's coverage.

Teacher, the testing issue has been finished? I didn't hear that.

Anonymous said...

Veteran Sub,

I used that exchange to validate what I have said all along when this began it will be and I think already is a finger pointing, blame seeking/laying project that will carry on into the buildings for quite some time.

I work in this district and I have experienced first hand the petty nature of many educated professionals who have zero respect for each other during the best of times and this is not the best.

So when you read a great post by Dave Edelman who signs his name and says where he teaches I bet you will be excited to work with someone who is not afraid who stands up and be counted vs the scold "n" who is pretty much picking on everyone one. Although I doubt on subfinder she is "n" too bad!

This is why I don't use my name or say what I do in the district as frankly the abuse I get is not worth it. There is too much posturing and the security of anonymity allows the beast to be free.

When you work in the district as a sub you see and hear it all and your voice matters but have you been told or heard anything? Are they giving you a donut? You will not be compensated or rewarded or respected any differently when back in school.

For the invisible workforce that also comprise a school they have voices and rights and need respect too. They also need to be heard.

- SPS Ignored Staff

Anonymous said...

Teacher,

Could you provide your perspective on how the SPS request for 30 minute longer school day was a reasonable request, coming as it did at the last minute. I'm really trying to understand your sense that the district is being perfectly reasonable when we've seen and heard so much to the contrary.

I'm still not sure how your math is working out to $10 a week -- if this is all based on percentages of salaries there has got to be some variation, but either way it would be helpful to understand how you arrive at your number. I would love to see some healthy debate between you, who are angry about the strike because you say that the teachers are gaining so little, vs. those who are angry about the strike because they say that the teachers are asking for too much. Seems to be some disagreement on that issue.

Different North Parent

Anonymous said...

I think the answer is that individual teachers gain very little from something that collectively costs the district too much. So it does not appear worth it(to them).

-sleeper

Anonymous said...

Teacher -

Math teacher here. I'm not sure how you arrived at your $100/month figure or the $40/month figure, but both are significantly off from reality. By all accounts, the union and SPS are off by roughly 4-5% in their proposals over pay increases that will be phased in over the next 3 years. As many folks have mentioned, these increases are all based on the base pay provided from the state. If we assume that the average teacher salary in Seattle is roughly 60k, with 45k of that coming in base salary from the state, then that 4-5% difference represents roughly $2000 per year for the average teacher.

From the average teachers' perspective, the district proposal + state COLA adjustment represent a 14% increase in base salary, or raise of $6300 per year, a real raise in salary of 10.5% per year from that original 60k. With the district also proposing a 6.25% increase in school day length, it's easy to see how the districts' proposal feels inadequate to teachers.

One other thought about the proposed 30 minute school day increase: while the district has claimed that the increase will come partially from planning time and won't significantly lengthen the work day of teachers, I suspect that we'll see the district eventually moving towards having having high school teachers teach six 45 minute classes per day, rather than five 50 minute classes. In this scheme, teachers would teach 20 minutes more per day (hence 20 minutes less planning time) and not increase the length of their work day. Unfortunately, this switch likely comes with much more uncontracted workload for teachers, as they end up with 20% more grading, planning and students than before, and potentially more preps as well. Were we to decide that it's valuable to add more class time, something that I actually agree with as a teacher, it's actually far more reasonable to my workload to add 5-10 minutes to existing classes than to cram more classes into the same amount of time, though the former doesn't do much to meet the new 24 credit graduation requirement.

Math Teacherr

monkeypuzzled said...

Anonymous teacher said...
So this isn't even about $100 if the raise is only on 75 % of out income! This is about $40. The district has already agreed to caseload caps and discipline policies are set by individual schools, not the distract. Those other issues are distraction. This is about salary and all of this is about making ten dollars more wr week. Really, SEA? Really?

Has there been an agreement on caseload caps? I thought there hadn't been. This is one of the issues I'm most concerned about.

Anonymous said...

I am a teacher. I think the straw that broke the camel's back is adding 20/30 min of instructional time to our day. If we weren't being asking to work more hours for no more money, we probably wouldn't have even had a strike. I know the district has all this mumbo jumbo about the time, but the reality is if I am spending more time teaching then I need more time prepping. It's not okay to take my current prep time and turn it into teaching time and call it good. I wish the district would take that off the table, negotiate the remaining issues, and we could go back to class. I know it seems to many it is all about the money, but it is not.

Sleeper, as a teacher I just want to say that I do not consider this time an extended summer vacation for kids. This is nothing like summer vacation for me and it is nothing like summer vacation for kids and parents. Most teachers I know would agree and are very grateful to parents who are supporting us despite the hardship.
Teacher Too

n said...

@ n, I can't really say why it is that you suddenly feel like a babysitter again, since nothing I said had anything to do with that. Maybe that's just how you feel deep down inside? . . . Still, it's pretty ironic that you suggest sending them to these emergency childcare camps in lieu of what should be school, then turn around and complain that you feel like a babysitter....Maybe you're more of a babysitter than either of us likes to admit?

I don't think I've attacked anyone and putting yourself in that mode is disappointing since you've been addressing mostly issues. I'm not going to explain why continuing to put teachers on the defensive because of parents' complaints of inconvenience makes teachers into babysitters. That's pretty obvious on its face.

@SPS ignored staff: Veteran Sub and I each laid out our views and were done. I'm not sure what you're really talking about or how you are valuing our interaction. I pretty much say what I think and I don't think I've spent time judging other posters interactions. I'll try to be more aware of that.

I'm glad we have so many new voices. For me it is still disappointing that we find ourselves discussing paychecks, it seems most people want the teachers to accept what is offered rather than asking SPS to ratchet up the small amount some amount some of you think it is. Also, thanks John for putting it together in what appears to be a more accurate formula which does not seem to reflect well on SPS. I wonder that so many posters seem to have missed that message. Or did I misread it?

One item occurred to me as I was reading HF and that was the schools are empty so why shouldn't they be used as community resources allowing parents to open temporary childcare. There are parents out there who do not work. If parents want to support teachers, that would be one way to do it. Lessen the impact on parents and kids. SPS has a huge advantage by keeping schools closed.

Finally, I'm sorry so many of you see this as an SEA problem. Try looking at it through the lens of it being a SPS problem. I will repeat something I posted yesterday: this blog is often all about the abuses, overpaid and underperforming administration at Stanford. Someone above asked what they should do. If every parent that really supports teachers would send an email a day, make a phone call a day, jam the lines and the computers, put signs in your cars that support teachers, put signs in your yards, that would be a visible and effective start. Right now except for soup visits and posting on blogs like this one, you are largely invisible. And as long as Nyland collects "higher than the gov's paycheck," he'll not care very much. Try to make him uncomfortable at the very least. Also, write letters to the editors of our newspapers both online and offline. Get visible in a big way. I don't know where the negotiations are held, but try to put a hundred parents together with signs supporting teachers and meet the SPS group as they enter the building. Make them feel your support for teachers. Get in their faces.

Whoever said that we need to do a better job of electing our SEA leadership so we aren't complaining during contract negotiations is totally correct. Unfortunately, too many of our teachers don't understand or take seriously the value a union can bring not only to the welfare of its teaching ranks but to the kids we teach as well.

n said...

Thanks, Teacher too, planning is the elephant in the room for me. More time, more teaching, but not time to actually prep. I don't understand why more teachers aren't on board for that. More differentiation between elementary and MS/HS might have helped out there.

Looking at our society in general, we are the most productive workers in the world. We have been squeezed for every morsel and minute possible. It has to stop. We need to take lessons from social democracies who are doing it better. The result you get from overworked teachers and rushed-through-the-curriculum-over-tested kids is failing schools. We need time to plan, reasonable class size, and breaks. Go after a legislature that isn't doing its job. Go after an administration that is bloated and way overpaid. And give your teachers support and a well-deserved break.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, teacher too, a lot. I hope the you get a fair contract soon, I really do. I'm sorry the district dawdled this summer, and I'm sorry the SEA is bargaining team is bungling it right now. All my ire (which I admit is considerable) is directed at the bargaining team right now. The teachers I know are caught up too and just hoping for good things for kids and schools and would much rather be working.

monkeypuzzled, here is the SEA counter for SPED workload (lines through SEA proposal). They have agreed to caps. SAEOP is settled. Testing is settled. Everything is settled but money. We could be back to school Monday if SEA would come to the table. Pressure them, and then pressure the district right back.
http://www.seattleschools.org/cms/One.aspx?portalId=627&pageId=1880819

-sleeper

GarfieldMom said...

No, there is no agreement on caseload caps, nor on the extended school day and many other issues.

It looks like the idea that SPS has agreed on every issue except pay comes from SPS. Specifically, if you look at this page, you would conclude that that's the only thing left being negotiated.

SPS-SEA Negotiations Summary

But then if you click on the link for Negotiation Proposals, you can see SOME of the actual proposals being discussed and that they are not all resolved:

Negotiation Proposals

You might think those are all the things on the table, but they aren't. There used to be a link on that page to see the status of all the proposals in one easy table. The link has disappeared sometime between the beginning of the week and today. The page is still there, but without a link to it, how would anyone find it? Perhaps SPS doesn't want it easily found because it doesn't fit the false narrative that the only thing SEA is holding out on is salary. Here is that table:

Proposal Status

(I initially found that page because I wanted to confirm whether SPS was really proposing eliminating Creative Approach Schools. The answer is yes.)

GarfieldMom said...

That first link I gave is the same one sleeper posted. sleeper, even that page doesn't say that caseload caps are agreed on. Under Workload, they list two things still under negotiation (SPED and ESA), and one thing agreed on (SAEOP workload).

Anonymous said...

@SPS ignored staff: Veteran Sub and I each laid out our views and were done. I'm not sure what you're really talking about or how you are valuing our interaction. I pretty much say what I think and I don't think I've spent time judging other posters interactions. I'll try to be more aware of that.

Well I will respond to say that the first interaction to me was very representative of the manner Full Time Teachers take towards contracted/temporary staff - dismissive, disrespectful, condescending and superior. That is my take on that as I have been on the receiving end of that one time too many. And Veteran Sub did a pretty good takedown on what is like to be a sub. Did you apologize or say that while you have had a negative experience you appreciate his perspective no. The no apology nation is alive and well and that exchange is just a model of many I have seen on this blog and other comment forums.

Did I select you out personally? No I don't know you and hope that I frankly never do. But that is the nice thing about the internet we never would know each other in a room of one.

But I took that nasty exchange to provide an illustration of what this is becoming, the I, the Me, the Mine. And the lack of truly understanding that in this huge cornucopia that we call a school we have many personalities, skill sets and people and that the ultimate goal and objective is to do what is right or best for kids. Period.

I have seen more bizarre pissing tests the last decade or so in the schools and it really takes a toll on everyone.

The bizarre witch hunts (of which this blog has been a part of) and other histrionics that I have seen in the past, I think is now an opening of Pandora's box that your exchanges with many have demonstrated to me a negativity that will carry on in the classroom. And that is not a good thing. You say you are a great teacher you want respect not love well here is what I have witnessed in your exchanges.. defensive, angry and hostile. You are very illustrative of the person and teacher I want nothing to do with.

So my point is that I feel that way and I too have said it and my point was made. The teachers here who have the courage to sign their names and elucidate their views I commend and applaud them. I don't have to know them, agree with them, but I can respect them.

So my apologies to you 'n' as I don't know you and this is a stressful time for all of us and in this time we all say and do things that we wish we had not. But again in a democracy I respect your thoughts, agree with many you just said about teaching time and the value of planning so you see we can set an example for the children. And maybe one day Veteran Sub can sub for you and you can see if he is as awesome as he says he is and if not I have no doubt you will tell us so.

Good luck on this for all of us. A community divided is just that.

- SPS ignored staff

Anonymous said...

They haven't agreed on specific caps, but they have agreed TO caps, is my reading, which is the most difficult part.

I am more troubled if they have not actually agreed on teacher evaluation. On the front page it says they have, and then on proposal status it says they have not(is that not updated, or have they just generally agreed to some nothing statement?). I don't think any less that the very next thing that needs to happen is SEA coming to the table, but I do think that is pretty shady.

-sleeper

n said...

An idea for the "what can I do?" question:
Wouldn't it be cool to have a Viewlands parent group carrying pro-education/anti-administration signs when the negotiators meet? Or a Viewlands/Greenlake/Loyal Heights/Ballard HS group? PTAs should be able to muster that kind of action among parents. Coordinate groups from different regions and make sure the negotiators see what is important to parents. And leave "love" off the signs. Reflect only those things that enhance the educational experience for your kids: adequate lunch, breaks, less testing, smaller class size, respect for teachers, pay increases (avoid "adequate" pay), prep time, reasonable hours - whatever you think will increase the educational experience for students. And respected, supported teachers are absolutely part of that.

And we shouldn't be presenting this as a teacher issue but an issue of education in general. Someone said there were signs using the word "love" for teachers. That is so anti what we are trying to achieve. We want status, not love. I've long thought (since Reagan actually defeated PATCO) that we were seeing the decline of the professional class. Our institutional memory is also declining. I'll be interested to see what Seattle Schools look like in twenty years. Rich private schools vs poor public schools? Could be.

I keep thinking about this. But back to my picket line.

n said...

@SPS ignored staff:
Don't think for a moment that I'm not advocating more for certificated staff here. I am. If that offends, so be it. Certs have taken on so much more with so little in return that I am comfortable in my posts. Compared to other districts, Seattle has increased benefit packages for smaller groups and it has been very stingy with its wages, hours and working conditions offers to certs. No group has lost ground the way certs have and the points I made in my response to Veteran Sub stand. They were not personal and they are real.

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.


What shall I point out here about this that Veteran Sub did not address. Anything specific here?

Shall I leave out the due process that has evaluations and yes subs get them without prior knowledge or consent and left in files for 4 years. Subs are banned from buildings without their knowledge and consent and often don't know of it or why as someone saw something said something perhaps..I have no idea.

Subs are not covered under the schools workman's comp program have to go through the State to file which takes months and have no assistance to get disability so you have to go through welfare.

Shall we talk about the Not so good teachers that Veteran sub addressed.. who don't leave lesson plans or seating charts? Or covering multiple classes running around buildings, no keys, no where to secure your belongings. Going to schools and jobs cancelled without notice. There was a lot in the sub negotiations page that I am sure you neglected to read. Because its not about you.

I know of a sub who carries the RCW codes with him to make sure he is protected.

What could I add? You have it so hard you have your respect being challenged. Wow just wow. I thought you were going to picket.. whoops this is day in service. Is this how you are serving your community posting on blogs?

Pick away at me and you are doing nothing more that demonstrating the Seattle scold the infamous I don't agree with you so you are a wrong and fillintheblank name..

I am going to a food bank and to a church for breakfast.. see you there.. oh no I won't.

- SPS Ignored Staff

GarfieldMom said...

n, you really were very dismissive and showed a lot of ignorance in your comments about subs. Laypeople often think teaching is easy -- you know it's not. Now subs are telling you that subbing isn't as easy as you seem to think it is. Give them the benefit of the doubt here, and trust that they know better than you do what it's like to be a sub. Eat some crow and move on.

n said...

Garfield Mom, do you think I never subbed? Do you think I don't use subs? Do you think I don't know that planning for subs takes hours? I have experience both as a sub and evaluating their work after subbing for me. Do you have the same? I'm not as PC as some of you would like. But I rarely post anything I don't know about first hand. Can you say the same?

Ignored Staff: When I subbed, I was expected to have plans at hand for any grade level. And I did. I never walked into a classroom without a day's worth of activities. In fact, because I was a new teacher, I enjoyed putting together plans for each grade level. My first assignment was covering for a first-grade teacher called away at the very last moment due to the death of a parent. I was there two weeks. I had my materials ready. They got me through the first day. I then applied the curricula in the classroom for subsequent days. I did it and never complained because I was told to expect it. Today I leave non-essential teaching activities because as I said your way and my way of teaching is different. If you want more respect, you should have plans ready for those times when teachers haven't been able to leave them.

Workman's comp - you're right. I don't have much knowledge of that. I don't have much knowledge about my own workman's comp because I've never used it. I hope you haven't had to. I did not know about sub evals - not one of our retired teachers who comes back to sub has mentioned them. Do all subs get them? Is this a district thing or a school building thing? Being banned from buildings - we have substitutes that we call regularly because we know them. I personally usually use the sub system because I don't like playing phone tag. I'll take whomever is willing to come. No one is banned from my building as far as I know. Is being banned from a building a regular occurrence? That sounds like a legal question and I don't know the due process laws enough to comment really.

Finally, I was able to get several interviews when I applied for a contracted teaching job based on my sub time in buildings. If you are substitute looking for a job, well I guess you know what to do. If you are retired and or just choosing to be a substitute, then the opportunity to go home at a reasonable time and have the work prepared for you in advance (when that is possible) might be enough. I will stand by my comments that certificated teachers be prioritized this time around. There are huge issues on the table for all certs whether in sped or specialists or regular classroom teachers like me. Garfield Mom may want everything for everybody. Maybe we can get it. Maybe not. But it is time to do for those of us in buildings who have greater needs. I'm sorry to have to say it but that's what I believe.

Finally, I still wish someone would post why we have sub shortages: people not wanting to sub because of working conditions or because the district puts a limit on the numbers. Perhaps you know the answer to that one Garfield Mom.

n said...

One more thing: I would never stand in the way of additional benefits and higher wages for subs. I'm simply standing up for the priorities I believe we have in the district currently. If I sound as if I have little respect for subs, well, I've had a lot of subs that didn't do a very good job so maybe I am a little biased. I know that I try to be absent as little as possible. For me, it generally amounts to a lost day of teaching.