Thank you to all those who came to City Hall today to support my resolution designating this week as Seattle Educators Week! With the unanimous passage of this legislation, the City Council calls on the school district to negotiate in good faith, and for the Washington State Legislature to fully fund education. See below for the full text of the legislation.
A RESOLUTION designating the week of September 14, 2015 through September 18, 2015 “Seattle Educators Week” in recognition and support of the Seattle Education Association whose members are on strike for a fair contract.
WHEREAS, The teachers and other educators in Seattle, who collectively make up the Seattle Education Association, are the most experienced in determining the needs of Seattle’s education system, and deserve to be recognized for their important work with an excellent contract; and
WHEREAS, The Preamble to Article IX of the Washington Constitution states, “It is the paramount duty of the state to make ample provision for the education of all children residing within its borders, without distinction or preference on account of race, color, caste, or sex”; and
WHEREAS, The Washington State Legislature has failed to uphold this “paramount duty” in the Washington State Constitution, and the Washington State Supreme Court has held the Legislature in contempt for its failure to comply with the school funding order announced in the Court’s McCleary decision; and
WHEREAS, Seattle wants our dedicated teachers at each school to be paid fairly and to be integral parts of the academic and social decision making processes;
WHEREAS, Although Seattle and state voters overwhelmingly supported Initiative 1351 in 2014, advocating full funding of education, for the last six years, the state Legislature has suspended voter-approved cost-of-living adjustments for school employees, leaving average teacher pay in Washington State at 42nd in the nation; and
WHEREAS, The administration of Seattle Public Schools has proposed to make teachers work additional hours each week without pay, in a profession dominated by women workers; and
WHEREAS, The Seattle Education Association is bargaining for far more than pay and hours, demanding contractual language to address racial bias, caseload caps for Educational Staff Associates who are currently unable to give students the support they need, and a limit to high stakes testing; and
WHEREAS, Educators, students and parents have worked courageously to improve the education system in Seattle, using boycotts and risking suspension to achieve reasonable testing standards and to reduce class sizes; and
WHEREAS, Seattle educators and their union, the Seattle Education Association, defended their students by organizing a one-day strike Tuesday, May 19, 2015, as part of a state wide movement of rolling school strikes organized by the Washington Education Association to demand full funding for education from the state legislature; and
WHEREAS, Through the struggle of this contract negotiation, the Seattle Education Association has won a minimum of 30 minutes of recess time for all elementary schools, providing more equitable time for essential exercise and healthy play for elementary students across the city; and
WHEREAS, The Seattle Education Association has put themselves on the line, to go on strike to win a contract that fully values students and educators; and
WHEREAS, The Martin Luther King County Labor Council passed a resolution to support the Seattle Education Association in their strike; and
WHEREAS, The Seattle City Council wishes to express its support for the brave educators of Seattle who have tirelessly stood up for our young people and are fighting for the schools our students deserve; NOW, THEREFORE,
BE IT RESOLVED BY THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF SEATTLE, THAT:
Section 1. The Seattle City Council designates the week of September 14, 2015 through September 18, 2015 “Seattle Educators Week” in recognition and support of the Seattle Education Association whose members are on strike.
Section 2. The Seattle City Council requests the Seattle School District continue negotiating in good faith with the Seattle Education Association, and help bring the strike to a speedy conclusion.
Section 3. The Seattle City Council requests that Governor Inslee and the Washington State Legislature take the necessary actions to fully fund education throughout the state.