Teachers shouldn’t disrupt classroom time to walk out on their jobs and protest for political gain.
LOCAL teachers unions that are voting to walk off the job, throwing family schedules for a loop, should follow the example of the union in Arlington and Anacortes.
There, the union scheduled its walkout during scheduled teacher training so students’ academic schedules were not disrupted. The teachers had their protest and sent their message of disgruntlement to the Legislature.
Other unions that are choosing to schedule walkouts during school hours with short notice are using their students as pawns. Families have to rejigger schedules and find day care on short notice. And the teachers suffer no risk — school districts forced to cancel school will just add another day on to the end of the school year.
At least 11 local teachers unions, including the Lake Washington School District, have voted in favor of the one-day protests that started Wednesday. As many as 40,000 students so far will be affected. More unions, including the Seattle Education Association, may join the protest.
Most Read Opinion Stories
- Seattle Times editorial board endorsements: Election 2020 presidential, national and Washington state races
- A tale of two temperaments
- The Times recommends: Vote yes for King County charter amendments 1, 2, 3, 4 and 7
- What will come of the wreckage of a divided America? It's in our hands
- Even during a pandemic, harassment is a thing
State schools chief Randy Dorn, who is not supportive of the unions’ approach, questions why teachers who think that standardized tests disrupt student learning would be willing to disrupt learning to protest. He notes that both the House- and Senate-passed budgets are increasing funding for public schools and giving teachers raises. He recently proposed a more generous education spending plan as well.
By any account, the Legislature is poised to make a major new investment in K-12 education.
Doing so in a way that improves education has been the No. 1 priority for lawmakers as they strive to meet the challenge of the state Supreme Court’s McCleary ruling requiring the state to fully fund basic education. They also are faced with Initiative 1351, the teachers union-sponsored initiative to reduce class sizes from kindergarten through high school. In November, Voters narrowly approved the measure, which would cost $6 billion over the next four years. It has no funding source.
Neither the House nor Senate budgets would fully fund I-1351 — nor did Gov. Jay Inslee’s proposed budget fully fund it either.
Teachers union officials say they are protesting because they want lawmakers to increase teacher pay, not require test scores to be used in teacher evaluations and to have I-1351 fully implemented. They say they are especially disappointed in the Senate-passed budget, which has a raise but is not as generous to teachers as the House budget.
With the legislative session ending this weekend, the governor already called for a special session to begin Wednesday.
Lawmakers need to get to work on a compromise that does better by the state’s students. And teachers need to stay at work to do the same.