Seattle teachers on strike

After failed negotiations, Seattle teachers formed a picket line today. The first day of school has been canceled for all of the district’s 53,000 students. The National Education Association shared that teachers are also going on strike in southeast Washington in Pasco while the state legislature struggles to increase funding for education due to a state supreme court order that sanctions the state $100,000 every day that the lawmakers failed to “adequately pay to educate the state’s 1 million school children.”

The Seattle School Board has voted to take legal action against the striking teachers. The strike in Seattle is the first in 30 years. Read more here.

Register for regular NEA education updates here.

Step up the oversight

Fun facts for our new school year:

  • Classrooms are busy.
  • School buses are back on the road.
  • Ohio legislators still have not enacted tougher charter school regulations.

OEA Vice President Scott DiMauro spoke publicly about this issue just as we were getting ready to welcome our students. House Bill 2 was tabled just before summer recess.  The bill includes widespread reform for charter schools. It holds sponsors accountable for the schools’ successes and failures. It requires sponsors to monitor each school’s progress and provide technical assistance, including ensuring each has a plan to improve performance. Some legislators and officials want more fiscal transparency as well and some have called for key accounting changes to make it easier to monitor how the schools’ tax dollars are spent.

DiMauro said: “We’re troubled that the opportunity was lost to start a new school year with an improved system, and hope that members of the House will act swiftly to pass the Senate bill and resist pressure from some who profit from the current system to water down the legislation. Given the scandal around the Ohio Department of Education’s failure to enact charter sponsor ratings in a clean and lawful way, the urgency for action is greater than ever.”


Left behind no more

The people have spoken:

  • 216,000 emails
  • 15,000 phone calls to Congress
  • 32,000 tweets
  • 26,000 petition signers

The result: The U.S. Senate voted 81-17 on July 16 to pass the bipartisan Every Child Achieves Act.

Among other things, it provides more opportunity for all students, and reduces the high-stakes associated with standardized tests. The NEA declared that it “returns decision-making to the people who know the names of the students they educate — a paradigm shift from No Child Left Behind that will help restore the original focus on providing opportunities for all students, especially those most in need.”

The House of Representatives passed its own version (voting 218-213), the Student Success Act. The House tweaked it with help from educators, with an amendment to protect schools from being punished when parents choose to opt their children out of standardized tests.

Now members from the Senate and the House will meet in conference to hammer out a final bill that, if approved by both chambers, will then be sent to the White House. You can read more here and here.