Even if the Seattle Educators Association votes on the tentative agreement as a fair deal, the community support around our educators and students needs to continue for real change.
- Keep the pressure on state officials. Why is a state with a positive trade balance with China 47th in the U.S. for education funding? Demand serious results out of these McCleary work groups. Increase calls for Governor Inslee to call a special session. Pressure your legislators to get out of contempt. Don’t ever, ever forget that funding education is the state’s paramount duty, enshrined in our constitution. We can’t bakesale our way out of this.
- Work to end PTA funding inequality. Why do students with wealthy PTA supporters get music, library books, and more staff while schools across the opportunity gap are locked out? If your school’s PTA raises hundreds of thousands of dollars, you have a moral responsibility to share those funds with under-funded schools in our district. The de-facto privatization of our most affluent schools who overcome this funding gap through wealthy backers has no place in a progressive city with an eye for the public good. Suggestions like donating a percentage of funds raised or creating a ceiling where funds in excess go into a pool for underfunded schools should be explored district-wide.
- Think long and hard about the makeup of our school board. Do you want to retain a board who moved to take legal action on educators before the strike deadline and one lone dissenter voted WITH our teachers? Get educated on who’s running. Put time into a campaign that will back educators. There have been calls made to recall the current board. Bottom line: our votes got them there and our responsibility doesn’t end with the ballot.
- Turns out the teachers really love the support. It’s going to be a strange start to the year, and they need to know you’ve got their back. Remember to write thank-yous to your teachers. Work in collaborative, respectful partnership around your student’s development. Volunteer. Bring in coffee. Take flowers. Buy a gas card for a teacher with a 45 minute commute.
- Consider opting your student out of standardized testing. Standardized tests are a great moneymaker for the companies dictating curriculum. I’d love for my students to use the library for reading and learning rather than excessive testing. We have the right to opt our children out. At some point, enough students may opt out of the tests that administering them won’t be worth the time and money.
- Keep up the witness at the administrative offices at JSCEE. Play-ins, parent pickets, and vigils. If every time the board, superintendent, and the 100 top-paid employees in the district (whose collective pay rose by $1,400,000 from 2012-13 to 2014-15)* walked past a group of parents in red, they’d remember who they are serving.
- Equity matters. Be the village. Promises around ratios for special education, caseloads for nurses and therapists, and equity committees must be honored. Stay connected with parents and schools across the city to broadly advocate for equitable treatment and hold the district accountable for its promises.
*Numbers from SPS budget hobbyist Meg Diaz, shared in a post by David Edelman in the Facebook group Soup for Teachers on 09/11/15.