Seattle schools were closed for a second day Thursday as more than 5,000 teachers walked off the job after months of talks with district officials failed.
PASCO, WA- Friday the Pasco teachers started their day marching at the Pasco School District Building early this morning and continued their march to Memorial Park for a Teacher’s Rally.
The district has offered the union $62 million in wage hikes, staff increases for special education and 30 minutes of added instructional time after two years, according to Howard, the school district spokeswoman. “If they can get some traction and are taken seriously as professionals, it will give hope to the rest of the 3 million other educators in the country”, National Education Association President Lily Eskelsen Garcia, said. The district hasn’t yet said whether school will be canceled Monday.
“The Seattle School Board’s last proposal called for making teachers work an additional 20 minutes every day and to pay a typical teacher approximately 63 cents for that time”, he said.
Rich Wood, a spokesman for the Washington Education Association, said the strikes were mainly about local issues not tied to the larger state debate about education funding. “This is tough on us, but I don’t want the teachers to fold”.
Wages and affordability have dominated the political landscape in Seattle recently.
Though not the sole reason behind the strike, pay is a major contention point between Seattle’s teachers and its administration. “I think they were offered a pretty good pay raise”, Bradley said.
Strikes by public employees are illegal in Washington state and Franklin County Superior Court Judge Alex Ekstrom granted a preliminary injunction to the district on September 4, ordering the teachers back to work.
“We are trying our best to decrease those costs”, she said. English teacher Rosa Powers told me many of her students are talking about restorative justice, a system of overcoming conflict that acknowledges racism as a force in education, as well as the fact that victims and aggressors will have to co-exist for the rest of the school year. They have received raises from the district over that period, although their health-insurance costs have gone up, too.
The recent ruling of Washington’s court has caused the educators’ strike, school members have explained.
“I’m ready to go on day one”, says McClure Middle School teacher Mary Whisenhunt.
A video posted online shows a man blocking Seattle Schools Superintendent Larry Nyland from leaving one of the schools Thursday.
“They are full, so, yeah, it’s hard”, Bradley said.
“Absolutely in support of our union – they have been absolutely phenomenal”, teacher Donna Rodenberg said.