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Tipsheet

Seattle Teachers Union to Vote on Strike Authorization

AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast

The Seattle Education Association (SEA) will vote on a strike authorization this weekend if union leaders do not come to an agreement with Seattle Public Schools over learning and teaching conditions.

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SEA represents around 6,000 educators who work for SPS. The teachers’ contracts with the school district expire Wednesday. The school year is scheduled to begin on Sept. 7. 

"After bargaining all summer, SPS has yet to agree to proposals that would hold them accountable to meeting student and educator needs," SEA President Jennifer Matter said in a statement to Seattle-based outlet King 5

King 5 added that the union is bargaining for a contract that “puts in writing the district’s responsibility to do more for all of our students and educators for years to come.”

Reportedly, the school district wrote in a letter to parents that conversations with the union surrounding special education and multilingual education have delayed the process.

A school district spokesperson said SPS's proposals "outline a plan that is aligned to our district's instructional philosophy that puts students first, creates inclusive learning spaces and provides educators with generous compensation, including professional development, career opportunities and benefits."

Townhall covered on Friday how a teacher strike at the Kent School District near Seattle delayed the start of the school year for about 25,000 students. The strike over wages and class sizes canceled school on Thursday on what would have been the first day of the 2022-2023 school year.

And last week, Townhall reported how teachers at Ohio’s largest school district went on strike days before the start of the school year. The Columbus Education Association union, which represents over 4,000 teachers, nurses and other education professionals, went on strike for the first time since 1975 due to a disagreement with the school district over learning and teaching conditions. Students returned to school this week.

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COVID-19 lockdowns and remote learning have made devastating impacts on students, which Townhall has covered. Lower academic performance, absenteeism and mental health challenges have become prevalent among students. A U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study this year found that more than 40 percent of teenagers felt "sad" or "hopeless" during the pandemic. This month, 50,000 students in Los Angeles were absent on the first day of school.

In addition, many school districts are facing a teacher shortage. A recent report from The Salt Lake Tribune explained that the shortage of teachers in Utah is making it “incredibly challenging to operate” and staff are asked to take on extra duties, which leads to higher resignation rates.

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