Local teachers want you to know why they’ll be out tomorrow

Tomorrow, like today, will start with protesting – but this time it has nothing to do with offshore oil drilling. Tomorrow is the day Seattle Public Schools are closing because of their teachers’ one-day walkout.

We first reported the plan two weeks ago; we also reported the plan by Chief Sealth International High School teachers and other staffers to have an “informational” event outside the school 8 am-10 am tomorrow. Now we know that almost every high school in the city – including Sealth and West Seattle High School – will have informational picketing to start the day, with teachers from other schools joining in. Mandy Cook, a teacher at Schmitz Park Elementary, was first to tell us about this, saying she’ll be at WSHS: “As teachers, we want to inform our parents as to why we are not teaching their children that day.” She shared the flyer we’ve embedded above; as it notes, parents, students, and community members are welcome to join in. The morning events will be followed by a march and rally downtown.

P.S. WSHS special-education teacher Jennifer Hall shared her letter to the school’s PTSA board, explaining the walkout. Read it, ahead:

Dear West Seattle High School PTSA Board,

I want to thank every one of you for the extensive time and energy you devote to making West Seattle High School the best school it can be! I also want to invite you, and all West Seattle High School parents to come out on May 19th, to support Seattle education employees as we participate in a state-wide action of “rolling walkouts,” to stand up for the full funding of our public schools.

I realize that some of you may think that our walk out is a frivolous action. Believe me, it is not. Over 85% of the Seattle School District’s education employees voted in favor of this walkout. Many of the people who submitted a ‘yes’ vote would not have done so five years ago – or even one year ago. There comes a time when people consider reality, and decide that they must come together and ACT. The reality is that voters throughout the state have consistently approved initiatives to fund education; to lower class size; to give education employees a cost of living increase, but our state legislature does everything under the sun to avoid adhering to the will of the people. Our class sizes continue to rank 47th in the nation, and the majority of education employees have not had a raise in over six years.

It is important for teachers, parents, students, administrators, and all other school employees to stand together, and to support each other as we all advocate for our schools to be the best they can be, with fair and equitable treatment for all stake-holders; rigorous and challenging educational programs for all of our students; transition programs and support services for students who need them. This is why Seattle education employees are joining with other education employees across the state, and this is why I am asking you to please consider coming to West Seattle High School on May 19th, yourselves, if you can spare the time. Please also consider joining us for a march from the Seattle Center to Westlake Mall, where we will have a rally with speakers. …

The district has scheduled a makeup day for June 16th, which will now be this year’s last day of school.

3 Replies to "Local teachers want you to know why they'll be out tomorrow"

  • joel May 18, 2015 (2:13 pm)

    before we increases taxes to give free pre school we should fund what’s already in place with schools and make that function appropriately.

  • The king May 18, 2015 (4:11 pm)

    Good luck, if the tunnel runs into any more problems you should expect no COLA for the rest of the decade. I worked for the Bellevue and the Edmonds school districts, both were seemingly always looking for ways to cut money for proposed budgets. I qualified for food stamps when I worked at both places. The public school system is an easy target for elected officials to take money from. The lottery $ was supposed to take care of this years ago.

  • Mike May 18, 2015 (8:45 pm)

    The King, I don’t know how long ago you worked for Bellevue School District, but they are one of the most heavily funded districts in the nation and provide infant on up care ( 2mo – 5 yr for a fee) that integrates with the districts early learning programs. Mostly due to the fact that district includes the highest population density in the nation of Millionaires and Billionaires, who’s estate taxes fund it. Maybe we need to disperse estate tax funds into a general pool and divy up funds by enrollment numbers. Teachers in Eastern WA get hosed on budgets.

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