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Category Archives: Collective Bargaining

Now is the time to fully fund Washington’s public schools

Now is the time.

Next week, the 2015 Legislature convenes in Olympia — and it’s our best chance to win increased funding for public education, including educator compensation and smaller class sizes.

As educators, we are facing an opportunity that comes along once in a generation. For the first time, perhaps ever, we have a confluence of factors driving new investment into education, factors driven in large part by us – the members of the WEA. Together, we must keep driving to ensure that our state makes significant progress toward fully funding the quality education Washington students deserve. Consider:

  • The Supreme Court has issued a contempt order for the Legislature to increase K-12 funding.
  • I-1351 passed and smaller class sizes for all students (and more support staff) are now the will of the voters. In a democracy, that matters and we can’t let legislators and others pretend it doesn’t.
  • By law, the Legislature has to restore the voter-mandated cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for educators this year.

It sounds good, but even with the courts, the voters and the law on the side of kids and educators, we need to make sure our voice is heard when legislators make budget and other decisions about education, including higher education.

We are advocating for:

  • Competitive professional compensation, including salaries, health insurance and retirement benefits
  • Smaller class sizes approved by voters via Initiative 1351
  • Resumption of the voter-mandated COLA
  • Solid funding for higher education to ensure college students receive degrees, not debt

You can read WEA’s full set of legislative priorities for ensuring all students have the opportunity for success in school. The priorities were approved by the elected WEA board of directors in November.

You can expect us to call on you throughout the legislative session, and, when appropriate, in your local bargain. We will ask you to take action to ensure that all our students, regardless of ZIP code, have the opportunity for more one-on-one attention to learn from caring, qualified and committed educators.

WEA represents 83,000 current and retired public school employees, and we’re proud to be the strongest advocates for the needs of Washington’s public schools and students, both K-12 and higher education. We are strong because we are united and our members stand up for our students, ourselves and public education.

Teacher evaluation bill rises again

Over the weekend, a bill mandating the use of state test scores in teacher evaluations resurfaced in Olympia. The state Senate killed earlier legislation, but now it’s back under a different bill number: House Bill 2800. Email your legislators and tell them in clear terms why you oppose the mandated use of state test scoresContinue Reading

Weekend COLA update from Olympia

It’s time to restore the educator COLA, says Evergreen School District teacher Barb Pieske. For regular email updates, subscribe to OurVoice by clicking here or texting OurVoice to 41411. On Monday and Tuesday next week, more than 100 school employees from across Washington will be in Olympia lobbying legislators for smaller class sizes and restoring educator cost-of-living adjustmentsContinue Reading

Focus on the real barriers to opportunity

Teachers from Tacoma and Franklin Pierce testified in Olympia about fully funding schools and providing the support children and families need. WEA members testified Monday against a Senate bill that unfairly – and unrealistically – suggests that closing the opportunity gap is entirely the responsibility of public school employees. The legislation, Senate Bill 6063, failsContinue Reading

COLA isn’t the only educator compensation bill in Olympia

Julia Apple, a teacher in the Evergreen School District, makes the case for restoring the educator COLA. Although voters approved Initiative 732 by 63 percent, the Legislature has suspended the salary cost-of-living adjustments for school employees for nearly six years straight. Restoring the educator COLA is the fair thing to do. House Bill 2422 is the COLAContinue Reading

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