Sorry, Seattle Public Schools families, you’ll have to wait a little longer to go back to school this year. As if it wasn’t enough that you haven’t had a normal school year since 2018-19, the Seattle Education Association is going to keep you and your kids in limbo once again.
According to the Seattle Education Association’s bargaining team, their proposals seek to strengthen school communities and:
- Create the framework for successful inclusion of students in Special Education and Multilingual Education by ensuring adequate supports,
- Seek long-needed, sustainable solutions to growing workloads, class sizes, and caseloads, and
- Focus on living wages for all classified and certificated SPS educators.
It’s worth noting that Seattle Public Schools is the largest and wealthiest school district in the state of Washington with an annual budget of $1.12 billion at $21,300 per student according to data and research compiled by Washington Policy Center’s Liv Finne Finne-Public-education-spending-Where-does-the-money-go.pdf (washingtonpolicy.org)
SPS teacher salaries have been steadily increasing each year and teacher salaries are now just under $125,000 per year, including benefits.
Even Democrat State Senator Reuven Carlyle begged SEA not to have an “adult fight” after all our children have been through in recent years and the additional funding given to public schools despite the drop in enrollment due in large part to the failures of our government schools.
“Enrollment has fallen from 55,303 in 2019 to 50,535 now. Total SPS budget has grown 39% since 2015 to $1,011,204,091. (state funds increased 56% while local levy dollars decreased). Average salary including benefits has grown 31% to $131,155 from $99,911.”
In a video over the weekend, a SPS elementary teacher refers to students as “our children” and how they, the teachers, know what is best for “their kids.” It’s important for parents to take note of this: not once did they ask YOU for your input on how this would impact YOUR children. Because the fact is, they are still YOUR children, yet the schools don’t see it this way and it’s important for parents to realize this.
This year, the Washington state legislature voted time and time again for more funding for various government school programs, increasing the state education budget. And yet, when I talk to parents around the state they continue to be frustrated by the push for non-academic programs in government schools and the lack of academic learning and achievement students are receiving. Parents continue to unenroll their students from failing government schools in favor of home school, private school and other creative education options.
What’s the end game here?
There is no end to this. These radical left teachers’ unions will continue to use their political power to control not just your school district, but also our politicians and our legislative process. Our children are the ones who are hurt the most in this process, especially students in minority and low-income communities. It is possible for the teachers to continue working and to go back to school while still working to reach a deal with the school district. But that’s not what they’re doing, which makes it really difficult to believe that this is “all about the kids.”
What can be done?
We are excited to work again with Representative Jim Walsh on HB-1633 which would give families who apply, a $10,000 scholarship to use for home school, private school or other education they find suitable for their student. This bill would be a great step in giving families school choice. The bill will have a new number next session, and we will work hard with Rep Walsh to get this bill a hearing and move it forward in the 2023 session.
*By Julie Barrett, Founder, Conservative Ladies of Washington