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Teacher strikes against the Legislature continue – and grow

IMG_2189More than 1,000 Marysville and Oak Harbor teachers staged one-day strikes Friday to protest the Legislature’s failure to pass – or even propose — a budget that fully funds public education.

And nearly 2,000 educators in the Evergreen School District near Vancouver confirmed they will walk out against the Legislature on May 13.

Educators in Oak Harbor and Marysville spent May Day wearing red and picketing with signs that said, “On Strike Against the Legislature.”

“I’m here because I believe it’s important we stand up for our students and the future of public education,” said Paula McLaughlin, a Marysville teacher on the picket line. “The Legislature is in contempt of court over school funding, and we need to hold them accountable. Quality public education is a constitutional right!”

IMG_2195Even though a special legislative session began Wednesday, Legislators left Olympia Thursday afternoon after making no progress on a budget deal.

Teachers in at least 24 school districts have voted to stage one-day strikes against the Legislature, and considering the lack of urgency and progress in Olympia, the list is likely to grow.

After six years with no educator COLA and five years with no increase in health care funding, it’s time for the Legislature to fund competitive, professional pay and benefits for school employees.

Neither the House nor the Senate budget provides anything near the 11 percent pay raise legislators are likely to get. In fact, because the Senate budget only funds a minimal COLA and no increase in health care, many educators would take home less money next year.

IMG_2177Current budget plans fail to fully fund Initiative 1351’s smaller K-12 class sizes, which means they increase class sizes in grades 4-12 and in high-poverty schools.

“We need smaller class sizes. Then you can have a relationship with your students and see where they need help,” said Sherri Taliaferro, a middle-school teacher in Marysville.

Here is the current list of teachers striking against the Legislature:

  1. Lakewood (April 22)
  2. Stanwood-Camano (April 22)
  3. Arlington (April 22)
  4. Bellingham (April 24)
  5. Blaine (April 24)
  6. Conway (April 24)
  7. Ferndale (April 24)
  8. Mount Vernon (April 24)
  9. Anacortes (April 24)
  10. Sedro Woolley (April 29)
  11. Bainbridge Island (April 30)
  12. Burlington-Edison (April 30)
  13. Marysville (May 1)
  14. Oak Harbor (May 1)
  15. Lake Washington (May 6)
  16. Northshore (May 6)
  17. South Whidbey (May 6)
  18. Central Kitsap (May 7)
  19. Granite Falls (May 8)
  20. Shoreline (May 11)
  21. Evergreen/Clark County (May 13)
  22. North Kitsap (May 18)
  23. Sequim (TBD)
  24. Peninsula (TBD)

 

Senate budget goes backwards on educator pay, shortchanges class sizes

A day after more than 400 WEA members lobbied for education funding in Olympia, the Senate released a budget plan that goes backwards on educator pay and health benefits and ignores the need to reduce class sizes in grades 4-12. Here’s WEA’s news release about the Senate budget: Senate budget fails on teacher pay, smallerContinue Reading

On TV and at rallies, educators tell lawmakers it’s TIME to fund our schools

It’s TIME for the Legislature to fully fund our kids’ education. That’s the message behind a new WEA TV ad that began airing Monday – and the message at nine recent education rallies that drew nearly 3,000 educators and supporters across the state. The TV ad highlights the state’s obligation to fund a quality educationContinue Reading

The truth about ESSB 5748: State test scores tied to teacher evaluations

Help defeat ESSB 5748 — email your legislators! Earlier in March, the state Senate approved Engrossed Substitute Senate Bill 5748, which mandates the use of state test scores in teacher evaluations. WEA members staunchly oppose this bill and any proposal that mandates test scores in teacher evaluations. The Senate’s own bill report shows WEA’s leadContinue Reading

Here are the answers to your WEA legislative town hall questions

Register for your local education town hall meeting! Thousands of educators from around the state participated in WEA’s first-ever legislative tele town hall last week. We received many excellent questions about what’s happening in the state Legislature around education issues. WEA President Kim Mead and Governmental Relations Director Rod Regan answered many of those questions,Continue Reading

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