On September 4, 2015, the Washington State Supreme Court ruled that charter schools were unconstitutional on the basis that they were not “common” schools. See this post if you happened to miss that story.
Five days after the court ruling, Seattle school teachers went on strike. Yesterday, after about two weeks on the picket lines, the Seattle Education Association suspended its strike and urged teachers to vote to approve the new three year deal. See below for a summary of what the SEA negotiated on behalf of its members:
“Details of the agreement include: annual base salary increases over three years of 3%, 2% and 4.5%; 30 minutes of recess for elementary students; new policies to reduce student testing; unlinking test scores to teacher evaluations; and increasing staff to reduce workloads and provide student services.”
Now take a look at what Jonathan Knapp, president of the SEA, had to say about the merits of the new deal:
“We’ve negotiated a pro-student, pro-parent, pro-educator agreement”
So, are we to believe that by not keeping score and by not holding teachers accountable everybody wins?
It's easy to see how this can be construed as a win for educators, but does anybody see the how this deal is a win for the parents and the students?
And what about the taxpayers - the ones who will have to pony up to pay for the deal? This hardly looks like a win for them. Who represented their interests at the negotiating table?
I guess none of that really matters since, as Phylis Campano, vice president of the SEA put it,
“These issues are about…giving our children what they need.”
Either Mrs. Campano thinks what “our children” need are higher future tax bills and a lower quality education than their parents, or she is quite comfortable with using them as human shields. Who can argue against looking out for the kids after all?
Maybe in three years Washington state will have wised up a bit and reconsidered the constitutionality of charter schools. The added competition would at least have the potential to create a win for serious students, serious parents, serious educators, and taxpayers too.