If you've got a daughter entering high school tomorrow (sort of) as do I, then you too must have watched the district teachers hold your daughter's education together in the face of district malfeasance and school board toadies. I agree, the legislature is a big problem for education in Washington state. However, the district central administration is necrotic to the core. They squander the money that they DO possess on "consultants" and "studies" because their generous salaries apparently don't qualify them to make decisions. They make the poor curriculum decisions. They are the people who bully teachers who try to make a difference. So, I have to respectfully disagree. The legislature is a problem but the district administration has to take responsibility.
To note:

- there are likely to be striking teachers at most schools. Give them a honk and thumbs up or stop and tell them you support them. (This may be more likely in the afternoon than morning.)

- tell your friends, neighbors and co-workers why YOU support teachers - they need to hear your personal story of what you have seen in your child's classroom and school. Teachers who are undersupported (where are those counselors, nurses, sped aides, etc.).

- the Board has now cancelled all their meetings but what was on the agenda for tomorrow's meeting? Raises for all the staff at district headquarters. And did you know the district took $39M from the Capital budget for this year and moved it to the General Fund? Yup. The district loves to cry poor.

- also, you will hear charter school supporters saying the Governor should call the Legislature in Special Session to fund charters since the Supreme Court (correctly) ruled the law illegal under our constitution. That's for 1,000 students in new schools open for three weeks. (I understand it is sudden and disrupting and I have sympathy).

BUT, what about the million public school students who have waited for decades to see their schools fully-funded (our state does not fund to even the national average)?

Also, a group of parents have started Soup for Teachers to support the teachers during the strike. Find them at Facebook.

I write the Seattle Schools Community Forum blog and it's a good place to keep up on the latest news -
Rodney Tom. Tim Sheldon.
Wonderful post. Thorough, researched and compelling. Thank you Jen.
Spend your day phoning & emailing & writing every State Rep and every Star Senator.

We said FUND EDUCATION and Smaller Class Sizes and we MEANT IT!
Speaking as a Seattle Public School teacher, the decision to strike weighs heavy on me. I was there at Benaroya Hall when the SEA members voted unanimously to strike should a Tentative Agreement not be reached by the start of school. One of my colleagues is on the bargaining team, and I've watched all summer as she's been beaten down and discouraged by the utter contempt of the District, and then buoyed up by the overwhelming support of our SEA community.

The support of parents is invaluable. Thank you. And send your daughter to school--we need all the sign-holders we can get!!! (And what a powerful lesson in civics!)
Soups for Teachers appreciates you and your honest insight.
Thank you, from a Seattle public school teacher. The support of our families means the most.
yeah nice one Jen. Appreciate the reportage. Fills in the gaps missing in most of the bigger media outlets... and Nyland.
100% for the strike. The people responsible for teaching our children and shaping the future via that task are generally and broadly paid and valued far too little. My questions is this: If we get the funding we deserve, is the district's administration competent enough to effect the proper changes needed, or are they simply a dysfunctional culture representing the detritus of a long-broken system that needs massive reform to get back on its feet? I fear the latter. The leadership at the local school level on-up seems horribly out of touch with real needs and horribly self-absorbed with the machinations of the system itself. Shocking really. Please call your legislator. The kids need you.
Old story; big business from Weyerhouser, Boeing, to Microsoft and Amazon, chiseling their way out of paying all kinds of taxes, thanks to the legislature giving them breaks over decades, which would help fund education. Then they whine about poorly trained workers, and bring in foreign workers on the cheap. Add the blood thirsty drive to bust unions, and this state, which could be a model for educating kids, which has so much money generated by the giant corporations, is not much better than some place down in the southeast US.
Good article. Thanks.

I don't think the school district & school board understand quite how much anger they have stirred up against themselves with these actions. Parents are furious, and I don't hear many of them blaming the teachers for this strike.

To be clear, the legislature not fully funding education in our state is part of the problem. However, the Seattle School District has themselves to blame for this current mess. SPS was given SEA's proposals months ago, but couldn't be bothered to address them until last week. They came to the August 24 bargaining meeting with NO proposals at all - after showing up three hours late, saying they'd be back in two hours with a response to SEA's requests, and then not returning for 7 1/2 hours, again with nothing. After having 100 days to participate in bargaining with SEA, they threw out the 30 minutes more a day with an insultingly negligible pay increase AND have suggested making all Wednesday's half-days.

A meeting was scheduled in June to discuss Special Ed. SPS didn't show, and didn't tell anyone they wouldn't be there. Their counter-proposals are weak, insulting, and show exactly how little real regard the District seems to have for our kids and those on the front lines of their education. Only now, when time was suddenly short, was SPS suddenly "willing" to meet day or night.

My experience, particularly over the past year in dealing with SPS for our own school issues, has made me shockingly aware that SPS is mired is a long history of mismanagement, incompetence, lack of accountability, and more attention paid to maintaining their own bureaucracy than doing what it right for our kids, teachers and school staff.

Seattle Educators would be happy to work with SPS to mitigate what we're losing due to the legislatures failings, but the District has treated our teachers and school incredibly arrogant and incompetently in this process.

It's definitely important to write your legislators and tell them they'd better fund education fully, but SPS needs to hear loud and clear that they will not get away with acting as if they do not need to respectfully and honestly negotiate a contract with SEA.
Washington is not only one of the most regressively-taxed states in the country, it is THE most regressively-taxed. And America as a whole is a regressive cowboy nation, with no respect for education or anything else that underpins civilization.
I can't help myself because I am a teacher (not striking-different district) but our school system is not "literally criminal" The case was a civil case. If you write about our court system, you ought to know the difference.
Blaming the Legislature for not funding education is definitely the first step, or the first several, but also make sure to think about the total amount of money needed to fund education. The McCleary decision, if executed in full, with capital budget for building upwards of 2000 new classrooms, extra budget increases for training and hiring teachers for that many new classrooms, staff for running the increased administrative costs of 2000 new classrooms, etc, could cost upwards of $8 billion over the next 3 biennium (six years). That kind of money is, sadly, not showing up in our albeit optimistic budget forecasts. It is inequitable and ridiculous to continue to raise property taxes. Sales tax is declining, partly because of our shift to a service-based economy rather than a goods-based economy, which will only continue.

Part of the problem is the Legislature cannot magic money out of nowhere, as much as each elected representative running for re-election would like you to believe. Washington's tax structure as it is cannot sustain that kind of funding. The state, if it is going to be able to provide the amount and quality of services we continually demand from it, needs new, stable, consistent income, not dependent on sales tax and sin taxes. If Washingtonians want to get any of the things they say they want on a ballot, they will also need to reconsider their age-old fear and hatred of all new taxes, period.
Hi, hist_ed @16. I believe the author was using "literally criminal" as a rhetorical device, meaning "outside the bounds of the law," and not, as you suggest, meaning "a criminal act covered under the RCW 9A."
I can't help myself, because I'm reading about an uneducated teacher, but the term "literally" can be used for emphasis or strong feeling to mean virtually, eg:

in effect : virtually

If you are a teacher claiming to lecture people on the internet, you ought to know the difference.
@19: Just because people habitually misuse "literally" doesn't give credence to the incorrect usage.
I watched all the teachers March out of my local high school at the end of their "work day" yesterday, all together as a show of unity. Then they all moved their cars off the parking lot. But THEN some 80% of the, parked on the street, snuck right back in through the back door, and resumed prepping and planning for our kids.
I'm glad those folks teach my kid. And I'm grateful that they've stuck it out here in Seattle despite an insanely dismissive admin, skyrocketing housing costs, and about a decade without a COLA.

C'Mon SPS, you've got tens of millions of new $ this year. What are you gonna do with it? Close, then reopen a bunch of neighborhood schools? Just pay our teachers!
Best article out there on the strike, and I agree with @14. I have a kiddo in the district, and my SO was supposed to start her first day of teaching today. She was so excited to start teaching her adorable little 6-year old's, many of them from bad situations, how to read. To lay the foundation for them to be productive members of society.

Two things have amazed me most about my experience as a parent:
1. I/we are asked to pay out of pocket for all the amenities - gym class, library, art class, music class - that we took for granted in the old days.

2. I have lived in Seattle, 'the most educated city in America,' for 17 years. In that time, I've watched the spinning wheel of an incompetent and/or corrupt school district hierarchy leaving in disgrace, then a rigorous search for replacements, a fresh new face at superintendent, and promises of turning over a new leaf. Then the wheel spins around, and that batch shows itself to be another colossal disappointment. I really don't get it. I mean, what the fuck?
#17, true that. Income tax is where the political might of WEA and all the teacher unions need to push for to solve McCleary funding problem.
School Board Member Sue Peters [4th District] was the lone Member to vote against the School Board's resolution to take action against SEA members in response to the strike. The resolution states:

"Board Action is required because the attached resolution (Resolution No. 2015/16-5) authorizes the Superintendent to take necessary actions in the event of a strike or work stoppage, including the closing or limiting of access to school buildings, facilities, and properties; seeking assistance from proper authorities if health or safety issues arise; suspending regular legislative meetings of the Board...and taking legal action to address any strike or concerted activity."

Good on Member Peters. Good luck with your lawsuit Larry. The rest of all y'all might want to start planning ahead to find a new activity for Wednesday evenings.

Just sayin'!
Why would you run a school district the size of Seattle with five elected people? They should have a congress of people with one from each school zone voting on all issues.

Either the decision making process is broken, or the four board members represent the will of the people, which I highly doubt.

c. colloq. Used to indicate that some (freq. conventional) metaphorical or hyperbolical expression is to be taken in the strongest admissible sense: ‘virtually, as good as’; (also) ‘completely, utterly, absolutely’.

The author's usage was correct.
I don't live in Seattle but I support the teachers 100%. I also blame our legislators for most of the shit hitting the fan. Our indolent legislators are a major problem across just about every subject, not just education funding.

Frankly, I'm about to head to the mountains and live off the grid just so my taxes don't fund the salaries of these morons in Olympia.
I see "Cursive Nyland" did not sign the latest update to parents on September 10, and his tone has completely changed from upbeat to finger pointing. This is indeed an interesting study in literature, as well as politics, and the impact a single article can make. I hope it's more than just dropping the cursive signature on the emails and more toward making sure every single school in Seattle has an equity team to help ensure students of color are learning at the same rate as their peers, and the disproportionate discipline these same students face is addressed. The school board has acknowledge the "school to prison pipeline" yet they are clearly not prepared to do anything about it.
Thank you for your support of our strike! The Stranger's coverage has meant a lot to those of us on the picket lines, especially considering the Times' predictably myopic support of the Seattle Public Schools (SPS) administration.

However, while your history of our Legislature's malfeasance and call for a state income tax (hurray!) is important and welcome, I respectfully request that you and other Stranger writers please give some of your journalistic energies to investigating SPS. We are striking against SPS, not the Legislature. It has become common-place to criticize SPS administrators for their mismanagement, but to truly understand (and support!) our strike, the details and scope of the history of this mismanagement are necessary. The Stranger could perform a vital public service by investigating and reporting on this awful history.

For example:
- Why is inequity so severe in this wealthy city's schools? Why and how has SPS built such an effective school-to-prison pipeline? Why has SPS continued to dictate models of pedagogy, discipline, and funding that exacerbate inequalities across our city's neighborhood schools?
- Why did SPS just add another Director to direct the existing Directors, at the John Stanford Center? Is it possible that SPS can't find funding for schools and teachers because they have already allotted over 2 million dollars in salaries to the Superintendent and his cabinet?
- Why is SPS in bed with Pearson Education, the corporation contracted to provide our tests, textbooks, student information database, and other "services" (not to mention WA state teacher certification testing, but that's another story...)? What are the consequences of this monopolistic relationship? How much of SPS' punitive testing model is motivated by large sums of money instead of serving the best interests our students and communities?

There are plenty of SPS stories to give context to this strike and the further work necessary to ensure the best possible schools for our students and their communities.

Thank you again!
Thank you for this article! My sister is a teacher in the Seattle Public School District. She loves her job, her students and her colleagues.
I hope this strike forces the state to put the interests of the children before their own selfish interests (pockets).

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