No teachers strike, but School Board says historic education reform will receive no funding

September 2, 2010

This afternoon at 4:30, Seattle's teachers will vote on a historic contract with the District.  For the first time since collective bargaining came to public education, the concept of teacher performance will become part of a collective bargaining agreement. Until now, considerations of teacher performance and merit pay have been anathema to union negotiators.

But requiring more of teachers is an idea sweeping across the nation, as the public recognizes that schools have to improve and that the key to student learning is the quality of the teacher in classroom.  As observed by Seattle teacher Chris Eide at last night's Seattle School board meeting:  "Student achievement is the true measure of the value of a teacher."

Seattle Superintendent Maria Goodloe-Johnson and Seattle School Board members deserve credit for this negotiating this ground-breaking contract, reached after four months of difficult and arduous negotiations.

The new agreement puts school principals back in the center of the process for evaluating teachers (as recommended by our Education Reform Plan). Excellent teachers will be rewarded with bonuses of from $3,400 to $5,400, and those willing to teach in the most challenging schools will receive additional rewards. All teachers will receive a pay increase of 1% in the second and third years of this agreement, but no increase this year.

Unfortunately, School Board members are providing no funding for the agreement.  Apparently they plan to ask voters this fall for a special tax increase to pay for rewarding good teachers in public schools.

This is disappointing.  The signal policy improvement for Seattle school children is left unfunded.  School Board members have placed their most important education reform at the bottom of their funding priorities.

The people of Seattle are generous in funding public schools.  The School Board is spending $566 million in the current budget to educate 45,000 children.  School Board members have ample resources to make this new reform work - they don’t need another increase in the tax burden to begin improving the education of Seattle’s children.


Vision Versus Reality and False Economy

watch the links above and then tell me:

how many of us, watching what is possible and then comparing it to the reality of what our kids get at school, are crying inside because the system as it is now, is killing our kids hearts and souls?

And no, I dont want our school system privatised and corporatised, and no, the teachers are not crappy and failing our kids...  its like this because free market capitalists look on people as units of economic production and kids as widgets and want the biggest ROI on the smallest possible 'investment'/cost... and they dont want to spend on real, whole child, whole life education... which is kinda crazy because as any new product developer will tell you, its a false economy... what you scimp on at the beginning on design, planning and production, you'll pay extra for at the end in terms of product failure and underperformance and customer dissatisfaction...   but I gues that's an acceptable risk/loss when you're only looking for short term gains...

I want this in public education for every child in the US and the rest of the world...

How are we going to make that happen?

Both Sides Claim Victory

It is interesting to read here that the Washington Policy Center regards this contract as a victory for Education Reform and a step forward in using measures of student learning to evaluate teachers. At the same time, those who believe that student test scores are a poor measure of teachers' work are also claiming victory, saying that they have turned back that proposal.

What a perfect negotiation and agreement - both sides claim victory!

supplemental levy

And they certainly are not managing the money that they already have very well. Witness the unprecedented audits. 20 findings in financial and accountability aspects. Financial statements untrustworthy. State and federal laws routinely broken, abysmal record-keeping. 

Withholding millions in Title 1 and LAP dollars to redistribute unevenly at their discretion. Board members approving contracts for $800K and $730K that they haven't read. Superintendent violating ethics policy and spending $7,000 of public funds on a private party (breaking laws and stated policies). 

Dorothy Neville

see some parents are taking action. 

and many parents will be working to defeat the levy

Parents within SPS are sick and tired of big business and vulture philanthropists controlling the education of our kids.  

We're sick and tired of Broad Foundation plants running our district - incompetently on so many levels, as verified by the State Auditor:

We're sick and tired of giving the school board money and finding that none of it goes into our kids' classrooms...

We're sick and tired of the education "deform" agenda being implemented without our involvement.... when's the last time someone asked us what we wanted for our kids... damn arrogance that the Washington Policy Center thinks it can issue such claptrap as this, as though its the authority on what's best for the biggest stakeholders in this equation - we parents and our kids...

And this whole standardised testing thing, tied to teacher and school evaluation and merit pay... that's all claptrap too...

see these two reports:

Washington Policy Center - get out of our childrens' lives; we want you and your  freemarket cronies to stop trying to suck the lifeblood out of the last quasi public institution...

And contrary to the view of jailed junk bond king Mike Milken, of the Milken Foundation (vulture philanthropists dabbling in ed defom), the purpose of education DEFINITELY IS NOT to turn out the next generation of workers and consumers...

Sahila ChangeBringer

Parents Across America