For the first time in 30 years, Seattle educators went on strike for the schools Seattle students deserve and for the working conditions and compensation the teachers deserve. After five days on the picket lines, supported by close to 100 percent of SEA members, parents, families and community, including Seattle City Council, King County Labor Council and the NAACP, the tentative agreement was reached.
This panel of education activists discusses the organizing strategy, the groundswell of support, the gains and compromises made and next steps for educational justice at the Northwest Teachers for Social Justice conference in October, 2015.
I personally know most of the teachers on this panel and have found them to be dedicated, talented and always going the extra mile for their students.
Doug Edelstein teaches history at Nathan Hale High in Seattle. He is a member of the Seattle Education Association (SEA) Board of Directors, an active member of Social Equality Educators (SEE), and served as picket captain for his zone during the SEA strike this fall.
Kayla Barr Graham teaches ELL at Hamilton Middle School in Seattle. She is a SEA representative and was picket captain for her school during the strike. Eliza Rankin is a parent of a 1st grader in the Seattle Public Schools. She is a co-founder and active member of Soup for Teachers, a grass roots movement that supported educators during the SEA strike and will continue their mission by advocating for positive change across the Seattle school district.
Andy Russell is a 4th-grade teacher at Dearborn Park Elementary in Seattle. He served as a member of the SEA bargaining team, is a member of the SEA Board of Directors, and an active member of SEE.
Marian Wagner is a 4th-grade teacher at Salmon Bay K-8 in Seattle and an elementary district lead science teacher. She also served on the SEA bargaining team, is SEA director of Prof. Growth & Evaluation joint committee with SPS, and is a SEE supporter.
Roberta Lindeman – Moderator – Veteran teacher 30 years