FACEBOOK: Explaining the issues in the Seattle Teacher’s strike

Abby De Launde, on FB, has support for the SEA because she buys into the idea that the opposition comes from people who hate teachers. 
No one I know blames “the teachers.” The SEA is doing what any labor union should do .. striking to get as much pay as it can for its members.
The issues here, however, are actually not teacher pay. They are on who controls the schools and how the money the schools can get should be used.
For better or worse, the State Legislature is underfunding the schools. As a result, the schools have a certain pot of money to pay for teachers’ salaries. That same pot pays for school supplies, textbooks, computers, outings and pay for non SEA workers including people who serve food, support the buildings, drive buses, etc. Any money going to the Teachers (and Admins also supported by the SEA) has to come from this pot.
To make matters worse, the SEA wants to raise the teachers salaries without allowing any means to evaluate performance. Teachers get hired and promoted, even gaining tenure, almost solely based on seniority. Not even the military has such a system and I am certain you found the competition to be Montessori teacher competitive … even though the salaries were likely much worse than in the SPS. 
Finally, while teacher pay is modest, it is quite a bit better than the pay more highly qualified people can get as adjunct faculty at our community colleges or the UW. I say “more highly qualified” because the competition for these low paid, non tenured jobs, is fierce.
Before I would vote for an increase, I would like to see the teachers buy into more support for their kids … more competition for entry level jobs, better pay as teachers progress in knowledge other than (just) education courses, accepting other experiences as qualification (e.g teaching in the military or industry), requiring teachers to be able to pass tests at the level of the students they teach (e.g. I have been told that few high school teachers can pass the GED!), and a bigger role for parents in determining curriculum. 


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  1. theaveeditor #

    Saun Romano blaming teachers and cops is like asking why you didn’t win a game of chess when you only used the pawns.

    Stephen Schwartz There is a huge difference between blaming indifviduals and blaming the system they work in,

    The cop haters in BLM are terribly wring when they see that problem as being the individual cops. That problem is the occupation of AA communities and the racism ins out society that paints people by skin color. Demonizing the cops gets you nowhere,

    BUT ,there are real problems with how police departments function. Cops are under-educated (few have college degrees) and not rewarded for the management and organization skills they need,

    Stephen Schwartz Stephen Schwartz The same applies to teachers. Here too our system is broken.

    The comparison with the cops is not really fair. While I know mnay on the left who demonize cops as racists, where is such an attitude amking those those whoi criticize teachers? What I do hear, and think has merit, is the lack of respect for teachers as hughly educated people,

    Teachers today are seen as workers .. not very different from retail clerks or perhaps managers at the Saleway.

    When I was a school kid, both grade school and esp. high school teachers were more highly educated than most other adults. It was safe to assume that all my teachgers were literate, reasonably well grounded in what mjght be called the common core, and very well eeducated .. even expert .. in the ocntent they were expected to teach. Yep, my Latin teachers spoke Latin (both Church and Vernacular) and my English teachers were passionately well educared in science fiction and Dickens.

    How did this change? My answer has two key words: Republicans and Liberals.

    The Republicans opposed integration, the liberals pushed forced integration, parents who could do so (including middle class AA) fled the integrated schools. Support for public schools became a liberal do gooder cause.

    The teachers suffered. Wages fell, Teacher prestige disappeared. Well educated people, even English majors who could not find jibs, avoided teaching., Teaching became an assembly line job and .. the unions did what yoiu would expect them to do,

  2. theaveeditor #

    Susan Goding
    MSOC and levy money should not be used for salaries. However, my biggest wish would be that PTAs stop paying for school supplies and lobby for the school to pay for them. That is the only way we will have equity. Some schools in Highline do not have PTAs and some high schools do not have parent booster clubs to fund raise for basic sport supplies either. PTAs need to just stop paying for basic education. They should focus on fund raising for artist or scientist in residence programs or to pay for experiences, not supplies.