Statement from NEA President on Washington Educators’ Strike

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Eskelsen García: “proud that Seattle educators are standing up for the schools students deserve”

"As educators, student success is at the center of everything we do, and I’m proud that Seattle educators are standing up for the schools students deserve.”

NEA President Lily Eskelsen García provided the following statement regarding the more than 5,000 Seattle educators striking on the first day of school:

“There is no stronger voice or advocate for Seattle students than Seattle educators. Since May, educators and their representatives have worked diligently for an agreement with the Seattle School Board that centers on student success. Unfortunately, the School Board has failed to address issues raised by educators, such as ensuring opportunity for every student, regardless of zip code; providing the one-on-one attention that students need; and creating more time for students to learn with less focus on harmful standardized tests. As educators, student success is at the center of everything we do, and I’m proud that Seattle educators are standing up for the schools students deserve.”

Yesterday, parents of Seattle students authored an op-ed supporting the strike for the schools their students deserve.

Negotiations on an agreement that centers on student success have been ongoing since May including hours of talks through Labor Day weekend and until 6 p.m. Tuesday night. According to the NEA, major unresolved issues haven’t changed:

  • Student opportunity gap: Every student, regardless of zip code, deserves the opportunity to succeed. This means providing adequate resources to all schools so students have more one-on-one attention, inviting classrooms, and fair discipline policies.
  • Reasonable testing: Too much standardized testing is stealing time away from classroom learning.
  • One-on-one attention: Current workloads mean many students aren’t getting the one-on-one attention they need from teachers and counselors.
  • Planning for student success: The Board’s proposal strips educators of the time they use to plan lessons before and after class.
  • Measure success by learning, not testing: Every educator should enter the classroom ready to reach, teach and inspire. Educators should be evaluated fairly and consistently, and the focus should be on providing the support students and educators need to be successful.
  • Attracting and keeping educators that ensure student success: Seattle needs to attract and keep caring, qualified educators in one of the most expensive cities in the United States. Seattle educators have gone six years with no state cost-of-living allowance (COLA) and five years without a state increase in funding for educator health care.

Today’s action marks the first contract-related strike by Seattle educators since 1985. Seattle is Washington’s largest school district.

Follow NEA on Twitter at @NEAmedia

Contact: Richard Allen Smith, NEA Communications
202.716.6461 cell, rasmith(at)nea(dot)org

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The National Education Association is the nation’s largest professional employee organization, representing nearly 3 million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators and students preparing to become teachers. Learn more at http://www.nea.org.

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