Seattle Teachers Union votes to postpone school due to concerns about salary and resources, amid nationwide reports that student achievement scores are dropping.
Union members overwhelmingly voted to authorize a strike before Wednesday’s official student start date.
According to the Seattle Education Association, ninety-five percent of union members approved a strike authorization. This was in a Tuesday vote. According to the union, seventy-five percent of its 6,000 members voted against allowing Seattle’s 50,000 students to start school on time.
The SEA stated in a statement that educators want to be with their students in classrooms and need SPS to provide the support and adult attention that they need.
We’re fired up and ready to go! SEA members made 6,000 picket signs and trained picket captains to prepare for a possible strike. We don’t want to strike but SPS needs to come to an agreement that meets our student needs NOW. Email the school board: https://t.co/YLJw0oGkPf pic.twitter.com/ZC8eAT48tZ
— SeattleEdAssoc (@SeattleEdAssoc) September 6, 2022
The union wants to see an increase in salary and that the district maintains staffing ratios for multilingual students and special education. After months of unsuccessful negotiations between the union & the school district, which claims it is committed to its students as well as its teachers, the strike has been called off.
Problem is, that the strike only ends up hurting students that the union claims they are supporting. It is absurd to advocate for student staffing and resources, then turn around to deny students access to education.
Seattle Public Schools is experiencing academic failure, just like many school districts dealing with COVID-19 closures and policies. The district revealed in February that its achievement testing scores were lower than expected for any district.
According to the SBA data, 54% and 51% respectively of current SPS 4th-graders and 8th-graders met or exceeded math standards. In 11th grade, less than half of the students met or exceeded the standards. More than half of English language arts and reading results students in grades 4, 8, and 11 met or exceeded the standards.
In its statement about scores, the district acknowledged that it was difficult for scores to be compared to previous years due to the fact that the tests were taken in Fall 2021 and not Spring 2021. But anyone who has worked in education knows what this means. This admission is to compensate for the fact the district did not receive the desired scores.
Eight years as a teacher in a classroom. I am familiar with issues regarding pay. I also understand the fact that teachers have a much higher workload than most people realize. Teachers aren’t paid enough for some of this work. Teachers striking are dangerous because, even though you claim to be advocating for students, you actually harm them by keeping them from the classroom.
This was the main reason scores in the country plummeted after COVID. We made sure students were not in the classroom, and thus, prevented them from having the opportunity to receive an education. No matter how great your public school may be, it doesn’t matter what. Children who are not in school will miss out on learning.