Teachers in Seattle have voted overwhelmingly to approve a new contract with Seattle Public Schools, which means classes will be held as scheduled tomorrow and in the months beyond, the Seattle Education Association announced tonight.
The agreement had three components. All were ratified with large margins.
“Today was a great day for unity in Seattle on behalf of Seattle’s school children. SEA’s members have redefined what it means to advocate for children. We have powerful, unified, resolute members who will take their passion for doing what is right for children to Olympia,” said Jonathan Knapp, SEA president.
“From day one of this bargain, it’s been about putting our students first,” said Michael Tamayo, an elementary teacher and member of the SEA Bargaining Team.
“We got many new things in our contract that will benefit students,” said Shelly Hurley, a special education teacher and member of the SEA Bargaining Team.
According to a press release sent out by the Washington Education Association and SEA, negotiations with district administrators produced a contract which includes:
- Guaranteed recess for students
- Caseload limits
- Pay raises
- Racial equity committees at 30 schools
- Testing reforms and improvements in how teachers are evaluated (test scores will no longer be part of teacher evaluations in Seattle)
The team at NPI congratulates SEA on having successfully bargained for and won a fair contract. The gains secured by SEA will benefit teachers, parents, and students alike over the next three years, as well as the community as a whole.
In going on strike earlier this month, Seattle teachers demonstrated their resolve to fight for better public schools. That’s the kind of courage we’d like to see from all of our state legislators. Too many recent legislative sessions have ended with the adoption of underwhelming, mediocre budgets that have left our chronic school funding crisis unaddressed. Real progress has sadly been rare and elusive.
It’s time the Legislature learned how to become proficient at fulfilling our state’s paramount duty instead of raising procrastination to an art form.
Lawmakers in both houses can expect to be hearing soon from parents in and out of Seattle who have been freshly recruited into activism as a result of the strike. Newly-formed groups like Washington’s Paramount Duty plan to channel their energies into grassroots lobbying now that school has resumed and teachers have won a fair contract. This is exactly what our state needs: more people organizing and mobilizing for progressive change to end our school funding crisis.