A Day Without Women action shows the importance of women in public schools

 

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Women have always been a valuable and integral part of the economy, and women’s paid work is becoming increasingly important to family well-being. In 2015, 42 percent of mothers in the United States were breadwinners, and an additional 22.4 percent were co-breadwinners, making between 25 percent and 49 percent of household earnings. The women’s strike offers an opportunity to reflect on how important women’s labor is to the country and remind Americans of what remains to be done to accurately value the work that women do to sustain the nation’s families and economy.

A Day in the US Economy Without Women: Center for American Progress

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A Day Without Women action shows the importance of teachers in public schools

How exactly would a day without women affect the economy? According to the Center for American Progress’ calculations based on the labor share of the gross domestic product, or GDP, and women’s relative pay and hours of work, women’s labor contributes $7.6 trillion to the nation’s GDP each year. In one year, women working for pay in the United States earn more than Japan’s entire GDP of $5.2 trillion. If all paid working women in the United States took a day off, it would cost the country almost $21 billion in terms of GDP. Moreover, women contribute many millions of dollars to their state’s GDP each day, making their work crucial to the health of their local economies as well.

A Day in the US Economy Without Women: Center for American Progress

On March 8th, in cities and townships around the country, women will be doing what they can to show unity and demand equality in all areas of their lives.

Per the A Day Without a Woman website:

In the same spirit of love and liberation that inspired the Women’s March, we join together in making March 8th A Day Without a Woman, recognizing the enormous value that women of all backgrounds add to our socio-economic system–while receiving lower wages and experiencing greater inequities, vulnerability to discrimination, sexual harassment, and job insecurity. We recognize that trans and gender nonconforming people face heightened levels of discrimination, social oppression and political targeting. We believe in gender justice.

Anyone, anywhere, can join by making March 8th A Day Without a Woman, in one or all of the following ways:

  1. Women take the day off, from paid and unpaid labor
  2. Avoid shopping for one day (with exceptions for small, women- and minority-owned businesses).
  3. Wear RED in solidarity with A Day Without A Woman

In parts of the country, due to the participation of teachers, most of whom are women, schools will be closed and in preschools, accommodations will be made for parents who are not participating in this day of peaceful action.

Sixteen schools will be closed in Alexandria, Virginia and the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools district superintendent has called for a teacher work-day to accommodate those teachers who want to participate in activities on March 8th.

The New School, a university in New York, has provided options for instructors who decide to join in the day of action.

In some areas of the country where teachers are concerned they will lose their jobs if they participate in a rally or march. the teachers have chosen instead to wear red in solidarity. As one teacher stated in a Huffington Post article:

“I’d likely lose my job if I just didn’t show up,” said Rachel Wright of Salt Lake City. “So, I will wear red, not spend money and incorporate a lesson about Women’s History Month.” 

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  Even if women’s paid work was valued more accurately, this still would not include the other ways in which women contribute to the economy. This is because economic measures such as GDP do not include unpaid labor, which is mostly taken on by women. Women in the United States spend 150 percent more time on housework than men and more than twice the time men spend on caregiving. This unpaid labor includes child care, caretaking, and cooking along with a variety of other tasks that are vital to the economy.

Although many women who care for their families do not receive a paycheck for doing this work, their labor is valuable and should be included in GDP. Economist Nancy Folbre notes the irony that “the measure we call gross domestic product excludes the value of most domestic work.” If a woman did not do that unpaid work, the family would have to hire someone and pay them a wage, contributing to GDP. Since unpaid work is not included in GDP measures, it could be said that the nation is consistently and significantly underestimating GDP. Using a conservative assumption, a 2015 report by McKinsey Global Institute estimates that women’s unpaid work amounts to about $10 trillion per year, or about 13 percent of global GDP. Additionally, a paper from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis found that incorporating unpaid domestic work into U.S. GDP would have raised it 26 percent in 2010.

A Day in the US Economy Without Women: Center for American Progress

 

I will leave you with this conversation between Amy Goodman with Democracy Now and Linda Sarsour, one of the organizers of the event.

 

 

Dora Taylor

 

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#BlackLivesMatterAtSchool: Hundreds of professors across the country support Seattle educators in their day of action

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Originally posted at I Am an Educator.

Solidarity with #BlackLivesMatterAtSchool: Hundreds of professors across the country support Seattle educators in their day of action

Over 200 scholars and professors nationwide sign statement in support of the Seattle teachers’ October 19,, 2016 action to make Black Students’ Lives Matter in the district. The support for making Black Lives Matter in our classrooms has been widespread, yet some around the nation have also responded with messages of hate and fear.  Dr. Wayne Au, Associate Professor in the School of Educational Studies at the University of Washington Bothell and an editor for the social justice teaching publication, Rethinking Schools, put out a call to professors and scholars to publicly tell the Seattle Public Schools and the Seattle School Board that many experts in the field of education and beyond support Seattle teachers. Below is the statement and the list of 212 names and affiliations as of October 17, 2016.

We, the undersigned professors and scholars, publicly express our support for and solidarity with teachers of Seattle Public Schools and their October 19, 2016 action in recognition of making Black Student Lives Matter in our schools. We hope that these teachers are continually supported by the district, the school board, their union, and parents in their struggle for racial justice in Seattle schools.

Name & Affiliation (for informational purposes only)

  1. Curtis Acosta, Education for Liberation Network & University of Arizona South
  2. Alma Flor Ada, Ph. D., Professor Emerita, School of Education, University of San Francisco
  3. Annie Adamian, Assistant Professor, California State University, Chico
  4. Jennifer D. Adams, Associate Professor Science Ed and Earth and Environmental Sciences, CUNY
  5. Tara L. Affolter, Assistant Professor, Middlebury College
  6. Jean Aguilar-Valdez, Assistant Professor, Graduate School of Education, Portland State University
  7. Lauren Anderson, Associate Professor of Education, Connecticut College
  8. Subini Annamma, Assistant Professor, Special Education, University of Kansas
  9. Zandrea Ambrose, Associate Professor of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh
  10. Nancy Ares, Associate Professor, University of Rochester, Rochester, NY
  11. Michael W. Apple, John Bascom Professor of Curriculum and Instruction and Educational Policy Studies, University of Wisconsin, Madison
  12. Awo Okaikor Aryee-Price, Teacher Educator–Montclair State University; EdD student at Rutgers Graduate School of Education
  13. Rick Ayers, Asst. Prof of Education, U of San Francisco.
  14. William Ayers, Distinguished Professor of Education (retired), University of Illinois Chicago
  15. Wayne Au, Associate Professor, School of Educational Studies, University of Washington Bothell
  16. Jeff Bale, Associate Professor of Language and Literacy Education, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto
  17. Megan Bang, Associate Professor, learning Sciences and Human Development, Secondary Teacher Education
  18. Lesley Bartlett, Professor, University of Wisconsin-Madison
  19. Teddi Beam-Conroy, Senior Lecturer and Director of the Elementary Teacher Preparation Program, University of Washington
  20. Lee Anne Bell, Professor Emerita, Barnard College
  21. John Benner PhC, University of Washington, College of Education
  22. Jeremy Benson, Assistant Professor, Department of Educational Studies, Rhode Island College
  23. Dan Berger, Assistant professor, School of Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences, University of Washington Bothell
  24. Margarita Bianco, associate professor, School of Education and Human Development, University of Colorado Denver
  25. Anne Blanchard, PhD, Senior Instructor, Western Washington University.
  26. Whitney G. Blankenship, Assistant Professor of Educational Studies & History, Rhode Island College.
  27. Aaron Bodle, Assistant Professor of Social Studies Education, James Madison University
  28. Joshua Bornstein, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Educational Leadership, Felician University.
  29. Samuel Brower, Clinical Assistant Professor, University of Houston
  30. Anthony Brown, Associate Professor, University of Texas Austin
  31. Kristen Buras, Associate Professor, Georgia State University
  32. Dolores Calderon, Associate Professor, Fairhaven College of Interdisciplinary Studies, Western Washington university
  33. Timothy G. Cashman Associate professor, social studies education, University of Texas at El Paso
  34. Keith C. Catone, Principal Associate, Annenberg Institute for School Reform at Brown University
  35. Charusheela, Assistant professor, School of Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences, University of Washington Bothell
  36. Minerva S. Chávez, Ph. D., Director, Single Subject Credential Program, Associate Professor, Department of Secondary Education, California State University, Fullerton
  37. Linda Christensen, Director Oregon Writing Project at Lewis & Clark College.
  38. Christian W. Chun, Assistant Professor of Culture, Identity and Language Learning, University of Massachusetts Boston
  39. Carrie Cifka-Herrera Ph.D. University California Santa Cruz
  40. Ross Collin, Associate Professor of English Education, Virginia Commonwealth University
  41. Rebekah Cordova, PhD, College of Education, University of Florida
  42. Chris Crowley, Assistant Professor of Teacher Education, Wayne State University
  43. Cindy Cruz, Associate Professor of Education, UC Santa Cruz
  44. Mary Jane Curry, University of Rochester
  45. Karam Dana, Assistant Professor, School of Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences, University of Washington Bothell
  46. Chela Delgado, adjunct faculty in San Francisco State University Educational Leadership graduate program
  47. Robert L. Dahlgren, Associate Professor, Department of Curriculum & Instruction, SUNY Fredonia
  48. Noah De Lissovoy, Associate Professor of Curriculum and Instruction, University of Texas at Austin
  49. Betsy DeMulder, Professor, College of Education and Human Development, George Mason University
  50. Robin DiAngelo, Adjunct Faculty, University of Washington School of Social Work.
  51. Maurice E. Dolberry, PhD. Lecturer, School of Educational Studies, University of Washington-Bothell
  52. Michael J. Dumas, Assistant Professor, Graduate School of Education, University of California, Berkeley.
  53. Jody Early, Associate Professor, School of Nursing and Health Studies, University of Washington Bothell
  54. Kimberly Early, adjunct faculty, Education department at Highline College & Applied Behavioral Science department at Seattle Central
  55. Education for Liberation
  56. Kathy Emery, PhD, Lecturer at San Francisco State University
  57. Joseph J Ferrare, Assistant Professor, University of Kentucky
  58. Michelle Fine, Professor, City University of New York Graduate Center
  59. Liza Finkel, Associate Professor of Teacher Education, Lewis & Clark College Graduate School of Education and Counseling
  60. Kara S. Finnigan, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Education Policy, Warner School of Education, University of Rochester
  61. Ryan Flessner, Associate Professor of Teacher Education, Butler University
  62. Susana Flores, PhD Assistant Professor, Curriculum, Supervision and Educational Leadership at Central Washington University
  63. Kristen B. French, Associate Professor & Director, Center for Education, Equity and Diversity, Woodring College of Education, Western Washington University
  64. Victoria Frye, Associate Medical Professor, City University of New York School of Medicine
  65. Derek R. Ford, Assistant Professor of Education Studies, DePauw University
  66. Jill Freidberg, part time lecturer, Media and Communication Studies, University of Washington Bothell.
  67. James A. Gambrell, Assistant Professor of Practice, Graduate School of Education, Portland State University
  68. Arline García, Spanish Instructor, Highline College
  69. Mónica G. GarcíaAssistant Professor Secondary Education, California State University Northridge
  70. Brian Gibbs Assistant Professor of Education University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  71. David Goldstein, Senior Lecturer, Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences, University of Washington Bothell.
  72. Julie Gorlewski, Associate Professor, Virginia Commonwealth University
  73. Alexandro Jose Gradilla, Associate Professor, Chicana/o Studies, CSU Fullerton.
  74. Sandy Grande, Professor of Education and Director of the center for the comparative study of race and ethnicity, Connecticut College
  75. Allison Green, English Department, Highline College
  76. Kiersten Greene, Assistant Professor of Literacy Education, State University of New York at New Paltz
  77. Susan Gregson, Assistant Professor, College of Education, University of Cincinnati
  78. Martha Groom, Professor, IAS, University of Washington Bothell
  79. Rico Gutstein, University of Illinois at Chicago, Department of Curriculum and Instruction
  80. Alyssa Hadley Dunn, Assistant Professor of Teacher Education, Michigan State University
  81. Amy Hagopian at University of Washington School of Public Health.
  82. Jessica James Hale, Doctoral Research Fellow, Mathematics Education, Georgia State University Elizabeth Hanson, ESL Professor, Shoreline Community
  83. May Hara, Assistant Professor, College of Education, Framingham State University
  84. Nicholas Hartlep, Assistant Professor of Urban Education, Metropolitan State University, St. Paul, MN
  85. Jill Heiney-Smith, Instructor in Teacher Education, Director of Field Placements, Seattle Pacific University
  86. Mark Helmsing, Coordinator of Social Studies Education, University of Wyoming
  87. Kevin Lawrence Henry, Jr., Assistant Professor, Department of Educational Policy Studies & Practice, College of Education, University of Arizona.
  88. Erica Hernandez-Scott, Master in Teaching Faculty, Evergreen State College
  89. Josh Iddings, Assistant Professor of English, Rhetoric, and Humanistic Studies, Virginia Military Institute
  90. Ann M. Ishimaru, Assistant Professor, University of Washington
  91. Dimpal Jain, Assistant Professor, California State University, Northridge
  92. Brian Jones, City University of New York, Graduate Center
  93. Denisha Jones, Assistant Professor, College of Arts and Sciences, Trinity Washington University
  94. Beth Kalikoff, Associate Professor, Univ. of Washington Seattle
  95. Richard Kahn, Core Faculty in Education, Antioch University Los Angeles
  96. Daniel Katz, Chair, Department of Educational Studies, Seton Hall University
  97. Mary Klehr, University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Education
  98. Courtney Koestler, Director of the OHIO Center for Equity in Math and Science, Ohio University
  99. Jill Koyama, Associate Professor, Educational Policy Studies and Practice, University of Arizona
  100. Chris Knaus, Associate Professor, University of Washington Tacoma
  101. Matthew Knoester, Associate Professor, University of Evansville
  102. Rita Kohli, Assistant Professor, Graduate School of Education, University of California, Riverside
  103. Ron Krabill, Associate Professor, School of Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences, University of Washington Bothell
  104. Patricia Krueger-Henney, Assistant Professor, College of Education and Human Development, University of Massachusetts Boston.
  105. Saili Kulkarni College of Education Assistant Professor Cal State Dominguez Hills
  106. Scott Kurashige, Professor, School of Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences, University of Washington Bothell
  107. Gloria Ladson-Billings Kellner Family Distinguished Chair in Urban Education UW-Madison
  108. Carrie Lanza, MSW and PhD, adjunct faculty, University of Washington Bothell
  109. Douglas Larkin, Associate Professor, Secondary and Special Education, Montclair State University
  110. Alyson L. Lavigne, Associate Professor, College of Education, Roosevelt university
  111. Clifford Lee, Associate Professor, Saint Mary’s College of California
  112. Kari Lerum, Associate Professor, Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies, University of Washington
  113. Pauline Lipman, Professor, Educational Policy Studies, University of Illinois-Chicago
  114. Katrina Liu, Assistant Professor of Teacher Education, University of Nevada Las Vegas
  115. Lisa W. Loutzenheiser, Associate Professor, Faculty of Education, University of British Columbia
  116. David Low, Assistant professor of literacy education, California State University Fresno
  117. John Lupinacci, Assistant Professor, Department of Teaching & Learning, Washington State University
  118. Wendy Luttrell, Professor, Urban Education & Critical Social Psychology, Sociology, CUNY Graduate Center
  119. Aurolyn Luykx, Assoc. Professor of Anthropology & Education, University of Texas at El Paso.
  120. Tomás Alberto Madrigal, Ph.D., Tacoma Pierce County Health Department
  121. Jan Maher, Senior Scholar, Institute for Ethics in Public Life, State University of NY at Plattsburgh
  122. Curry Malott, Associate Professor, West Chester University of Pennsylvania
  123. Gerardo Mancilla, Ph.D., Director of Education Administration and Leadership, School of Education Faculty, Edgewood College
  124. Roxana Marachi, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Education, San Jose State University
  125. Fernando Marhuenda, PhD, Professor in Teaching and Curriculum at the University of Valencia, in Spain
  126. Tyson Marsh, Associate Professor, Seattle University
  127. Carlos Martínez-Cano, PhD Candidate, University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education
  128. Edwin Mayorga, Assistant Professor, Educational Studies, Swarthmore College
  129. Kate McCoy, Associate Professor of Educational Foundations, SUNY New Paltz
  130. Cynthia McDermott.EdD., Professor and Regional Director, Antioch University Los Angeles
  131. Jacqueline T. McDonnough, Ph.D., Associate Professor Science Education, School of Education, Virginia Commonwealth University
  132. Kathleen McInerney, Professor, School of Education, Saint Xavier University
  133. Deborah Meier, MacArthur fellow, NYU fellow
  134. José Alfredo Menjivar, Doctoral Student, CUNY, Graduate Center and Humanities Alliance Fellow, LaGuardia Community College
  135. Paul Chamness Miller, Professor of International Liberal Arts, Akita International University
  136. Jed Murr, Full-Time Lecturer, Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences, University of Washington Bothell
  137. Bill Muth, Associate Professor, Adult Learning and Literacy, Virginia Commonwealth University
  138. Kate Napolitan, Teaching Associate, University of Washington Seattle
  139. Jason M. Naranjo Assistant Professor, Special Education University of Washington Bothell
  140. Pedro E. Nava, PhD, Assistant Professor, School of Education, Mills College
  141. Sonia Nieto, Professor Emerita, University of Massachusetts Amherst
  142. Tammy Oberg De La Garza, Associate Professor, College of Education, Roosevelt University
  143. Gilda L. Ochoa, Professor of Sociology and Chicana/o-Latina/o Studies, Pomona College
  144. Margo Okazawa-Rey Professor Emerita, San Francisco State University
  145. Susan Opotow, PhD Professor, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, City University of New York
  146. Joy Oslund, Coordinator of directed teaching, assistant professor, Madonna University, Livonia, MI
  147. Sandra L. Osorio, Assistant Professor, School of Teaching and Learning, Illinois State University
  148. Carrie Palmer, WSU doctoral student/adjunct faculty at Linn Benton Community College
  149. Django Paris, associate professor, department of teacher education, Michigan State University
  150. Hillary Parkhouse, Assistant Professor of Teaching and Learning, School of Education, Virginia Commonwealth University
  151. Patricia Perez, Professor, California State University Fullerton
  152. Emery Petchauer, Associate Professor. College of Ed. Michigan State University
  153. Bree Picower Associate Professor Montclair State University
  154. Farima Pour-Khorshid, Teacher Educator, University of San Francisco and PhD Candidate at University of California, Santa Cruz
  155. Shameka Powell, Assistant Professor of Educational Studies, Department of Education, Tufts University
  156. Rebecca M Price, Associate Professor, UW Bothell
  157. Sarah A. Robert, Associate Professor, University at Buffalo (SUNY)
  158. Mitchell Robinson, Associate Professor and Chair of Music Education, Michigan State University
  159. Rosalie M. Romano, Associate Professor Emerita, Western Washington University
  160. Ricardo D. Rosa, PhD., Assistant Professor, Educational Leadership & Policy Studies,, University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth
  161. Dennis L. Rudnick, Associate Director of Multicultural Education and Research, IUPUI
  162. Lilliana Patricia Saldaña, Associate Professor, Mexican American Studies, University of Texas San Antonio
  163. Jen Sandler, Lecturer, Department of Anthropology, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
  164. Jeff Sapp, professor of education, California State University Dominguez Hills
  165. Alexandra Schindel, Asst Professor, University at Buffalo
  166. Ann Schulte, Professor of Education, CSU Chico
  167. Simone Schweber, Goodman Professor of Education, UW-Madison
  168. Déana Scipio, Postdoctoral fellow, ERC & Chèche Konnen Center at TERC
  169. Yolanda Sealey-Ruiz, Associate Professor, English Education, Teachers College, Columbia University
  170. Doug Selwyn, Professor of Education, State University of New York
  171. Julie Shayne, Senior Lecturer, University of Washington Bothell
  172. Sarah Shear, Assistant Professor of Social Studies Education, Penn State Altoona
  173. Mira Shimabukuro, Lecturer, School of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences, UW Bothell
  174. Janelle Silva, Assistant Professor, School of IAS, University of Washington Bothell
  175. Carol Simmons. Retired educator, Seattle Public Schools, Seattle University Professor, Seattle Community College, Western State University, City University Professor.
  176. Dana Simone, Instructor, Foundational Studies in Education, West Chester University of Pennsylvania
  177. George Sirrakos, Assistant Professor of Secondary Education, Kutztown University of Pennsylvania
  178. Christine Sleeter, Professor Emerita, California State University Monterey Bay
  179. Timothy D. Slekar, Dean, College of Education, Edgewood College, Madison, WI
  180. Beth Sondel, Assistant Professor, Department of Instruction and Learning, University of Pittsburgh
  181. Debbie Sonu, Associate Professor of Education, City University of New York
  182. Mariana Souto-Manning, Associate Professor, Department of Curriculum & Teaching, Teachers College Columbia
  183. Jeremy Stoddard, Associate Professor, College of William & Mary
  184. David Stovall, Professor, University of Illinois Chicago
  185. Rolf Straubhaar, Assistant Research Scientist, University of Georgia.
  186. Katie Strom, Assistant Prof Educational Leadership, Cal State Univ East Bay
  187. Katy Swalwell, Assistant Professor, School of Education, Iowa State University
  188. Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, Assistant Professor, Dept of African American Studies, Princeton University
  189. Monica Taylor, Associate Professor, Secondary and Special Education, Montclair State University
  190. Cathryn Teasley, Assistant Professor, University of A Coruña (Spain)
  191. Adai Tefera, School of Education, Virginia Commonwealth University
  192. Amoshaun Toft, Assistant Professor, School of IAS, University of Washington Bothell
  193. Sara Tolbert, Assistant professor, College of Education, University of Arizona
  194. Maria Torre, the City University of New York Graduate Center
  195. Diane Torres-Velasquez, Associate Professor, University of New Mexico
  196. Victoria Trinder, Clinical Assistant Professor, College of Education, University of Illinois at Chicago
  197. Eve Tuck, Associate Professor of Critical Race and Indigenous Studies in Education, OISE, University of Toronto
  198. Carrie Tzou, Associate Professor, University of Washington Bothell
  199. Angela Valenzuela, professor of Educational Administration, University of Texas at Austin
  200. Manka Varghese, Associate Professor, University of Washington College of Education
  201. Julian Vasquez-Heilig, Professor, California State University Sacramento
  202. Michael Vavrus, Professor, Interdisciplinary Studies (Education, Political Economy, History), The Evergreen State College
  203. Verónica Vélez, Assistant Professor and Director, Education and Social Justice Minor and Program, Western Washington University
  204. Maiyoua Vang, Associate Professor, College of Education, California State University, Sacramento
  205. Michael Viola, Assistant Professor, Saint Mary’s College of California
  206. Donna Vukelich Selva, Edgewood College, Madison WI
  207. Camille Walsh, JD, PhD, Assistant Professor, University of Washington Bothell
  208. Lois Weiner, Professor, Director, Urban Education and Teacher Unionism Policy Project New Jersey City University
  209. Melissa Weiner, Associate Professor of Sociology, College of the Holy Cross
  210. Michael Wickert, Professor of English an Education, Southwestern College, Chula Vista, CA
  211. Gabe Winer, English/ESOL Department Co-chair Berkeley City College
  212. Ken Zeichner Boeing Professor of Teacher Education, University of Washington Seattle
  213. Network for Public Education

The Network for Public Education Action and Seattle Education endorse Barbara A. Madsen for the Supreme Court of the State of Washington

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WA State Supreme Court Judge Barbara Madsen

 

The Network for Public Education Action is proud to announce its support for Barbara A. Madsen for the Supreme Court of the State of Washington. Madsen was first elected to the Washington State Supreme Court in 1992, and she has been re-elected every four years since then.

Barbara Madsen was unanimously elected Chief Justice twice by her peers. Yet, this election there is a strong movement to defeat her. That movement has drawn huge contributions from charter school supporters because Madsen authored the court’s 6-3 decision that found that charter schools were not entitled to public monies because they were directed by private boards instead of representatives elected by the community. Stand for Children, Reed Hastings and other proponents of charters have contributed to the campaign to defeat her and support her opponent, Republican Greg Zempel.

Although it is unusual for the Network for Public Education Action to endorse a judicial candidate, we believe that in this case an endorsement is warranted.

According to NPE Action Board President, Diane Ravitch, “Madsen is a judge of great integrity who cares deeply about justice and equity. As an organization devoted to strengthening and improving our nation’s public schools, we are grateful for Judge Madsen’s defense of the right of every child in Washington to an ample public education.”

Madsen will face her opponent, Zempel, on November 8.

A must watch: The Call to Education Justice Conference, Dr. Yohuro Williams spells it out

No introduction is needed.

Dr. Yohuru Williams is Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs and Professor of History at Fairfield University. He is the author of Teaching US History Beyond the Textbook (2008) and Black Politics/White Power: Civil Rights, Black Power and Black Panthers in New Haven (2008) and co-editor of In Search of the Black Panther Party (2006) and Liberated Territory: Toward A Local History of the Black Panther Party (2009).

Opt-Out Bus Spring Tour in Seattle

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Welcome the Opt Out Bus when it comes to your neighborhood!

Thursday March 31 at 2:20 PM at  Garfield High School

Monday April 4 at 3:10 PM at Nathan Hale High School

Tuesday April 5 after schools at Franklin High School

Wednesday April 6 at 4:00 PM at the Seattle School Board Meeting

A press conference will be held at the Stanford Center at 4pm on April 6th

As the spring high-stakes, Common Core tests begin (the SBAC), the Opt Out Bus will be touring Seattle schools to provide families with information on their rights to opt out of standardized testing.

The first stop on the Opt Out Bus Tour will be at Garfield High School, on Thursday March 31st.  The opt out bus will come to rally the Garfield community, raise awareness, and hand out information about the right to opt out of standardized testing.  There will be lots of signs, and photo friendly opportunities.  Participants will write messages about their opinion of high-stakes standardized testing on the side of the Opt Out Bus.

Why the Opt Out Bus Tour?

The average American public school student now takes 112 standardized tests in their K-12 career.  Standardized tests are robbing our kids of valuable instructional time.  The high-stakes attached to those tests are being used to punish, instead of nurture, our students.  In 2013, teachers at Garfield refused to administer the MAP test and ignited a movement around the country. Last year, some 60,000 students opted out of standardized testing in Washington State. Over 90% of all juniors at Garfield opted out of the common core SBAC test, and 100% of juniors at Nathan Hale did the same.  A growing number of schools around Seattle are experiencing unprecedented numbers of parents opting their students out of standardized testing, especially the new common core SBAC exams. Parent Carolyn Leith said, “I’m opting my daughters out of SBAC testing because these test are robbing our children of valuable class time.  My children are developing many skills–such as collaboration, creativity, and problem solving–that can’t be measured by this test.”

The Seattle Opt Out organization is partnering with other education and community groups to sponsor the Opt Out Bus Tour—which will feature small rallies and information sharing at schools around Seattle. Parent opt out leader Anastaisa Samuelsen said, “Our newly formed Seattle Opt Out group is raising parent’s awareness of the impact of standardized testing around the District.  We have helped organized regional forums around Seattle where many parents have shared heartbreaking stories about the undue stress testing brings, and the dislike of school their children are developing.  We are very concerned about this.”

The Opt Out Bus tour is sponsored by:

For more information, contact:

  • Anastasia Samuelsen, Garfield High School parent, Seattle Opt Out, anastasia606@gmail.com, 206-552-5556
  • Seattle Opt out: facebook.com/pages/Seattle-Opt-Out/430265387124998

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Submitted by Dora Taylor

 

 

 

 

Join us in Olympia this Friday, February 19th, to stop the passage of charter school House Bill 2367

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From:

WASHINGTON VOTERS FOR PUBLIC EDUCATION

JOIN US IN OLYMPIA, THIS FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 19TH, TO STOP THE PASSAGE OF HOUSE BILL 2367—POSSIBLY THE MOST HARMFUL EDUCATION BILL OF THE LAST DECADE!

WE NEED YOUR HELP!

Please do one or more of the following:

1) Join us in Olympia to testify and protest against HB 2367 on Friday, February 19, at 1:00 PM. (Please look into starting or joining a carpool.)

2) Bring your fellow parents, friends, neighbors or anyone else who wants to protect our public schools and insure that public education dollars aren’t diverted into private business accounts. 3) Sign up to testify, online, or in Olympia, as early as possible, prior to the hearing.

4) Make signs, hold signs and distribute signs to other parents, students and taxpayers.

5) Bring your own kids AND as many public school kids as you can, particularly if they like making signs, holding up signs and might want to testify on behalf of their school, and their fellow students, against this legislation.

6) Contact your legislators and urge them to Vote Against House Bill 2367 or any similar “charter fix bill.”

(Here’s one possible message: How could the legislature NOT fully fund our public schools for more than 4 years since the Supreme Court’s McCleary decision, ordering you to do so? AND how could you NOW push HB 2367, a bill that will FURTHER defund our schools and give our tax dollars to charters—that are unconstitutional in our state—and after 25 years have provided no evidence that they do a “better job” than our public schools?) Questions or more information? Please visit Washington Voters For Public Education online.

Website: WashingtonVotersForPublicEducation.com Phone: 425-296-8130

Email: info@washingtonvotersforpubliceducation.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/WashingtonVotersForPublicEducation

Twitter: https://twitter.com/WashVotPubEduc

SOME QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS ABOUT HOUSE BILL 2367

Q: Why do parents, taxpayers and voters need to come to Olympia on Friday, February 19th?

A: To protest against House Bill 2367, or simply HB 2367.

Q: What is House Bill 2367? A: House Bill 2367 is the State House Version of a very bad State Senate Bill that passed that chamber in January.

Q: What would happen if House Bill 2367 passes and become law?

A: House Bill 2367 would take existing public school funds and hand them over to private businesses that manage and operate charters. It would also open the door to many more charters in our state, further draining our already underfunded public schools.

Q: What would be bad about House Bill 2367 becoming law?

A: If House Bill 2367 became law, the consequences would be serious and widespread. It would likely have a very negative impact upon every school district in Washington and might either force even more cuts in our schools and/or significant increases in property taxes, which would increase the housing costs of both renters and owners.

Q: Didn’t our state supreme court declare charters unconstitutional? How can charters operate in our state if they are against the law?

A: House Bill 2367 attempts an “end run” around our the recent supreme court ruling. It seeks to find new ways to use public funds for these businesses known as charters. If HB 2367 were to pass, it would undoubtedly end up in court again, costing all taxpayers even more time and money, further depleting desperately needed school funds even further.

Q: Beyond defunding our public schools, what else is wrong with legalizing charters?

A: In addition to further decreasing the funds for public schools, there are other important reasons for strongly opposing charters, and the bill that would legalize them, HB 2367. In addition to reducing public school funding, here are just five more of the many reasons why people oppose charters:

  1. Charters are unaccountable to any elected body for how they operate and spend our tax dollars.
  2. Charters have an extensive record of widespread corruption in every state where they’ve been allowed to operate.
  3. Unlike public schools, charters use our tax dollars for marketing, sales and advertising, in an effort to draw students from local, neighborhood schools and convince parents that their “product” is “superior” to public education.
  4. There are few, if any, controls or guidelines on how charters pay their employees. They often pay their executives as much as $350,000 to $550,000 per year while paying their teachers—some of whom only have five weeks (5 weeks) of “teacher training” and no state teaching certification—as little as $19,000 annually.
  5. Like any new business, once charters take hold in a state, they always try to expand as rapidly as possible, using taxpayer dollars to hire paid lobbyists and distribute “campaign contributions” in an effort to gain support from legislators.

Q: Why is it important for us to be in Olympia, this Friday, February 19th?

A: We need to be in Olympia to present a show of force on behalf of parents, students, taxpayers, educators and every other resident of Washington who believes in fully funding our public schools and not allowing our already underfunded schools to be further underfunded by bills like HB 2367!

Q: Why do we need to produce a Big Crowd?

A: Right now, legislators are under the misguided impression that very few, if any, Washington voters care about the full funding of our schools. Many legislators also believe that there is little opposition to bills like HB 2367 that would take money from our public schools and deposit in the private accounts of charters. We need to send them a direct message that there is widespread opposition to this and similar bills and that there will be consequences for them on Election Day if they vote against the needs of our public schools.

Q: But can’t we make our opposition to HB 2367 clear without actually coming to Olympia?

A: Yes, but the backers of HB 2367 will undoubtedly be there in very large numbers. Like it or not, visual shows of support have great power—both for the legislators who see such crowds AND for the media that will transmit images and impressions to the general public. If we fail to show up, or only show up in small, scattered numbers, the odds of HB 2367 passing are significantly better. If we really want to stop HB 2367—or any legislation like it—it is imperative that every single one of us come to Olympia, and bring everyone that we can.

Q: Are there any other reasons why showing up in person is better than just calling or emailing our legislators and governor?

A: Nothing makes as powerful and definitive a statement as a very, very large contingent of parents, students, taxpayers and other state residents, packing the hearing room, offices and hallways of the state legislature, making their demands known to their elected officials. It’s up to us to let our legislators—and Governor Jay Inslee—-know, particularly in an election year, that we consider the defeat of HB 2367 to be absolutely crucial and that we consider this bill a real threat to our already underfinanced public schools.

Our presence at the state capitol in large numbers sends a clear message to our legislators and governor that we’re assertive, aware and active—and we expect them to honor and respect our demands for fully funded public schools and no diversion of taxpayer funds to charters. A large crowd of spirited, articulate, and determined taxpayers, students and parents will put steel in the spine of our legislators and vastly raise the odds that they’ll do the right thing and veto this legislation, particularly if our presence makes clear that we represent the majority opinion in this state. If too few of us show up, it will send a message—fair or not—that the majority might rest with the backers of HB 2367, who are well-funded, well-organized and will undoubtedly be out in very large numbers.

Q: What about my kids? Should I bring them too?

A: Yes! Absolutely. Please bring your children, especially if they are K-12 students. Bringing them to Olympia on this day is an education in itself; they should be taught about this issue, how our government works, and how we can influence our elected officials to do the right thing. The proponents of HB 2367 are experts in knowing how to bring kids to tell their story and to use the presence of school aged children to push their side of the story. We need to balance their attempts to “spin” the narrative and make sure that our kids—and our need for fully funded public schools—carries the day. Also, if your child is willing and able, we strongly encourage she or he signing up to read their statement during the committee hearing for HB 2367. The legislators need to hear that the majority of kids want full funding for our schools and are opposed to any attempts to divert their parent’s hard-earned tax dollars into private hands that are actively working against our public schools.

Questions or more information?

Please visit Washington Voters For Public Education online.

Website: WashingtonVotersForPublicEducation.com Phone: 425-296-8130

Email: info@washingtonvotersforpubliceducation.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/WashingtonVotersForPublicEducation

Twitter: https://twitter.com/WashVotPubEduc

Garfield’s Black Student Union responds to rumored white supremacists march in Seattle

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Fueled by statements of hatred and bigotry spewed by Donald Trump and echoed by others including the mainstream press who consider it infotainment for the masses, some folks who want desperately to feel they’re better than anyone else, have decided to come out of the closet with their ignorance and stupidity.

In Seattle, some hate group, who no one is familiar with, posted they were planning a march and rally today in Ballard and Capitol Hill. So far, as of 7:00 PM this evening, there is no news that these events took place.

But, in response to the rumor, the Garfield High School Black Student Union issued a statement on their Facebook page. It reads as follows:

It has been brought to the attention of the Garfield High School Black Student Union that a “White Power March” organized by a Neo-Nazi skinhead group will be held today, December 6th, in Ballard, WA and the Capitol Hill area. This march serves as another reminder of the constant injustices done to black and brown people in America, and that we definitely do not live in a “post-racial society”. It represents a greater system that creates a culture of fear, trauma, and oppression. Let’s not forget “white power” exists in our governments, justice and education systems. Their power is rooted in the pain, suffering, and death of our ancestors, which they still continue to benefit from today.


As black youth, our goal is to fight against these systems that continue to terrorize our people and communities. We believe that through activism and education we can create our own power–a power that is strong enough to fight the systems that were built to suppress us. We stand to bring power to Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Sandra Bland, John Crawford III, Tanisha Anderson and the countless others who’ve lost their lives to “white power”. We encourage you to join us in denouncing these childish and disgusting displays of “white power” and to celebrate the resilience and strength of black power.


‪#‎defendseattle‬

 

 

“Corporatized” the movie: Coming to your neighborhood soon…if you can help

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From the Busy Boy Productions website:

Filmmakers Jack Paar and Ron Halpern are creating a film that will blow the lid off of the corruption that is behind the corporate takeover of public education.

In 2014, Jack Paar attended a rally for teachers, parents, and students in Washington, D.C. with his wife, an elementary school teacher. Jack says, “Before the rally in D.C., I didn’t really know that big business was taking over our public schools, nor did I understand why it was problematic. I know that there are others who don’t understand the real problems with our public education system because big business is really good at blaming it all on the teachers. However, it’s not the teachers who are to blame. It’s the fault of greedy politicians like Scott Walker, Chris Christie, Andrew Cuomo, and Arne Duncan, who are owned by greedy, big business: Pearson Learning, Gates Foundation, Walton Family, Eli Broad, Koch Brothers, and Bradley Foundation. To them your children are simply a dollar sign. So, we’ve decided to create a film that will reach a diverse audience and provide them with hard facts and heartfelt messages from dedicated teachers, parents, and students.”

“Corporatized” pulls back the curtain on the charade to reveal how big business is doing a devastating disservice to our public school students, and how they are dismantling and destroying the teaching profession in the name of profit.

Each year, over $600 billion of taxpayer money is used to fund the U.S. public education system. In today’s era of privatization, it was only a matter of time before corporate education reformers figured out a way to get at that money.

They didn’t just steal it. These savvy, corporate raiders are too smart for that. What they’ve done is create an elaborate scheme to funnel that money in their direction. The testing mania, brought on by No Child Left Behind, is part of their scheme. Sounds legit, and looks legit to the layman. But, the devastation this is causing to public education may be terminal… if we don’t take measures to stop it.

Schools are losing their funding. Teachers are losing their jobs. Parents are wondering what happened to the public school system in which they grew up. Children are being reduced to a measly test score. The once engaging, well-rounded education experience is being replaced by the mundane task of learning how to fill in the correct bubble.

If there is any hope of defeating these corporate “deformers”, we must all do our part to save our public schools from privatization. We may not have the money that these corporations do, but we can raise our collective voice to be heard. Students and teachers are people, my friends! In “Corporatized” we’ll reveal how they are fighting back.

“Corporatized” shines a light on the hypocrisy, shortsightedness, ineffectiveness, and greed of the corporate education reformers. We need your help to complete it, and get it noticed. Please help by donating and sharing our campaign.

Release Date: 2016
Studio: BusyBoy Productions
Director: Jack Paar
Genre: Documentary
MPAA Rating: Not Rated Yet

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JACK PAAR

Director/Producer/Cinematographer

Jack Paar, Director and Producer for BusyBoy Productions, has been in the entertainment business since 1967. He started as a child actor when he was three months old in a television series produced by Aaron Spelling, “The Guns of Will Sonnet”. As a child actor he worked in several big feature films, TV commercials, and television shows such as “Oh God “, “Baretta”, “Emergency”, “Kojak”, “Rockford Files”. At the age of five he became a member of the Screen Actors Guild.

Jack later moved to the production side of the business working on major feature films such as Blade, The Mummy, Scorpion King and television shows like the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers on FOX television. He also had the opportunity to collaborate with world classmusic acts such as; Ringo Starr, Anita Baker, Donna Summer, The Counting Crows, Maroon 5, Slash, Grand Funk Railroad, Willie Nelson, and Edgar Winter.

Following his success, Jack formed BusyBoy Productions. He has expanded his scope to include reality television, advertising, distribution, artist development, and music production. In the last ten years he has been involved in television production projects for Discovery Channel, A&E, Animal Planet, VH1, where he has been producing several reality TV shows.

With more than 25 years of experience in the film business and music industries, Jack has created a wide range of productions for some of the country’s most prestigious brands including Best Buy, ReMax, Cummins, McDonalds, Starkey Labs, and CSM. He understands and can quickly distill highly technical information into effective, engaging video productions.

Notable awards include two 2015 Telly Award TV Broadcast Commercial, Best Documentary at the 2011 Twin Cities Black Film Festival, Best Documentary at the 2010 New York International Film Festival, National win taking 12 out of 16 awards at the 2009 24 Hour Film Festival, 2009 Golden Pollie Award, and Best Director/Art Direction at the 2010 48 Hour Film Festival.

ron at dakotaRon Halpern

Director/Producer/Cinematographer

Ron grew up in New York and New Jersey and attended NYU’s FilmSchool.  Upon graduation Ron moved out to Hollywood to get his career started. While there Ron had the opportunity to work on Films, TV shows, Music Videos and Commercials.  Some of the more noteworthy projects he worked on were the films, Robocop, Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure and The Wonder Years. He also worked on hit videos for ZZ Top’s “Rough Boy” and Whitesnake’s “Here I Go Again”.

While in LA, Halpern started a Production Company and was involved in creating videos to promote the original American Gladiators and several films produced by the Goldwyn Studios. He also shot celebrity interviews for Showtime for 3 years that were used to help promote their latest films.

After 13 years in CA, Ron moved to Minneapolis and continued to work in production. He shot and directed many award winning commercials and also shot several cable shows, Bathroom Renovation for the DIY network, Monsterquest for the History Channel and Last Comic Standing MN for NBC.

Ron was the Director of Photography for the feature length documentary, Funkytown, which followed 5 Minnesota bands around as they pursued their musical dreams. Most recently Halpern shot and edited the documentary, Legends of Ska. It has played around the world to enthusiastic audiences selling out screenings at the British Film Institute and the Grammy Theater in Los Angeles.  This past summer it was seen at the American Film Institute theater in D.C. and Lincoln Center in NYC.  “Legends of Ska” was recently awarded “Best Documentary” at the Jamaican Film Festival.

Seattle Parents: Good news! I just found over $400,000 in unspent Amplify dollars!

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It’s been a wild week since “25 or something” Seattle Public Schools were blindsided with staff cuts. After the initial shock, parents came up with surprising ways to push back and work together.

A new group formed, called Kids Not Cuts, with the goal of advocating for ALL schools facing staff cuts. This was a revolutionary new approach to parent organizing in Seattle.

Traditionally, during staff “reassignment” periods, the district allows individual schools to raise money to offset staff cuts. This allows wealthy schools to mitigate painful staff reductions, while poorer schools get to struggle with less resources.

This time parents said: NO MORE.

Another group of parents dubbed T.R.A.P. – Teacher Retention Advocate Parents – staged a spoof bake sale in front of district headquarters. The goal was to draw attention to the absurdity of trying to fund basic education with bake sales and carwashes. (Full disclosure: I helped organize the bake sale.)

Throughout the week, the district has been steadfast in its refusal to reconsider its plan or release any information to prove these cuts to school staff was a decision of last resort.

So, here’s a little good news for a frustrating week: I just found $433,160 in unspent Amplify money!

Back in June, a split vote by the Seattle School Board prevented the district from spending an additional $433,160 to make Amplify a district wide assessment. (You can read the board discussion here: SeattlePublicSchoolsBoardPart2)

It gets better.

Amplify is losing money, laying off workers, and looking for a buyer. Basically, the board dogged a bullet back in June. If ever there was a time for the district NOT to spend scarce education dollars on a product that may not be around tomorrow, it would be now.

This discovery brings up a bunch of questions. Here are two.

  • Why can’t this money be used to offset some of the staff cuts?
  • What other money might be hiding on a spread sheet somewhere at the John Stanford Center which could be used to keep teachers in the classrooms?

Parents want to know.

-Carolyn Leith

*Follow Seattle Opt Out on Facebook for more information on the cost of testing and opt out options.

It’s unanimous, Seattle teachers vote to strike and this is why

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Seattle Education Association members at Benaroya Hall in Seattle at 7:30 PM on September 3, 2015 after teachers vote to strike.

Today, I went to the Strike Captain meeting of the Seattle Education Association (SEA, the union that represents Seattle’s teachers and educational support staff) and I can tell you that our educators are fired up and prepared to strike, if necessary, to win a contract that helps us achieve the education system that Seattle deserves.

bargining team
The Seattle Education Association bargaining team.

The SEA has been bargaining with the Seattle School District over a new contract all summer. We are now in the final days before school starts and the union and the school district are very far away from reaching an agreement. Thousands of educators will be gathering for general membership meeting on Thursday, September 3rd to either vote to ratify an agreement or to go on strike—but given the disorganized and disrespectful manner in which the Seattle school district conducted itself, I don’t expect that there will be an agreement by the time of our meeting.

It didn’t have to come to this, but the district waited until the last days of summer to respond to any of the proposals put forward by educators or put forward any serious proposals of their own. The proposals from the District, as you will read below, will do almost nothing to support Seattle’s educators or students, and in some cases would do great harm.

In contrast, the bargaining team for the educators has never in my time as a teacher put forward such a visionary set of proposals to advocate for the type of reforms that would dramatically improve our schools.

IMG_1996The union is advocating for a decrease in the use of high-stakes testing. This would include forming a joint committee with the union and the district to accept or reject any standardized testing beyond the federally mandated tests and getting rid of the “Student Growth Rating” that ties tested subject teacher’s evaluations to standardized tests scores. The Seattle School District has inundated our school with dozens of tests that students have to take in their lives as K-12 students, and it’s past time that we reclaim our classrooms for teaching rather than test prep.

Parents at a Seattle Public School board meeting demanding adequate lunch and recess time.

The union is also fighting for equitable and ample recess across the school district. Many schools in Seattle—predominantly the schools that serve low-income and students of color—have only 15 min of recess, and the union is insisting that every school have a minimum of 45 minutes. This union demand was an outgrowth of the coalition of parents from around Seattle that formed last school year called “Lunch and Recess Matter” who have been fighting for student’s right to have enough time to play and eat.

IMG_1933-2Moreover, our union wants to implement “race and equity teams” at each work site that could identify structural inequities and institutional racism and make recommendations about how to address those issues. The Seattle Public Schools have been shown to suspend African American students some 4 times higher than their white peers. The School Seattle district should be impressed by the leadership from educators in addressing these injustices in the schools, but instead they have rejected this proposal.

In addition, our union is asking for case load caps for our schools counselors and psychologists so that they can provide the individual attention that all students deserve. At many schools, including Garfield High School where I teach, counselors have hundreds of students on their caseloads and can’t possibly provide them social and emotional supports. At my son’s elementary school this year, the principal had to stop all spending on school supplies like paper and pencils in order to use those funds to save our counselor position. These issues are especially connecting with parents around Seattle and are sure to generate a lot of community support if we do end up striking.

As of today educators are asking for a 6 percent raise each year for the life of the three year contract—a minimal increase given the fact that we have not Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) in 6 years, while the district has received some $40 million in new monies from the state this year and has approximately $50 million in its reserves. The cost of living has skyrocketed in Seattle and it is becoming increasingly impossible for Seattle’s educators to afford to live in the city where they work. Several other school districts around Washington state pay educators more than they do in Seattle, even though the Seattle’s cost of living is by far the most expensive. This is unacceptable and the Seattle School district needs to compensate educators fairly.

Our bargaining team has done the important work of putting forward proposals that actually meet the needs of Seattle’s families, teachers, and educational support staff. Our members are energized and willing to go on strike, as their participation in the one-day strike action against the State Legislatures’ failure to adequately fund education demonstrated. The SEA leadership has indicated that they are willing to go on strike in a way they never have before in my time as a Seattle teacher.

It appears that the Seattle School district has a clear choice: accept our proposals for a just contract that improves education for Seattle’s students, or reject our proposal and trigger a strike.

Now it’s time to support our teachers.

Submitted by Dora Taylor

Post Script:

A little known fact: The teachers on the SEA bargaining team are not paid for the hours they spend in meetings as they did this entire summer.

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Teachers at Franklin High School in Seattle.
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Teachers at the Seattle Education Association meeting held on September 3, 2015.

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A group holds signs along a Northgate I-5 overpass in Seattle, as school district administrators and members of the Seattle Education Association (SEA) meet Thurs., Aug., 20 2015, for final contract negotiations, prior to the SEA’s general membership meeting set for Monday.
A group of teachers and supporters hold signs along a Northgate I-5 overpass in Seattle, as school district administrators and members of the Seattle Education Association (SEA) met Thurs., Aug., 20 2015, for final contract negotiations.

Civil Rights and Community Groups Demand End to High Stakes Testing and Moratorium on Charter Schools

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This letter was issued on July 7, 2015.

“We respectfully disagree that the proliferation of high stakes assessments and top-down interventions are needed in order to improve our schools.  We live in the communities where these schools exist.  What, from our vantage point, happens because of these tests is not improvement.  It’s destruction.”

Nearly 200 Civil Rights, Community Groups Send Letter to Senate Demanding Fair & Equitable Reforms to ESEA Reauthorization

This week, the Journey for Justice Alliance—a coalition of parents, students, teachers, and community and civil rights organizations—along with 175 other national and local grassroots, youth, and civil rights organizations, sent a letter to Senators Mitch McConnell and Harry Reid demanding that high stakes tested be removed from the civil rights provisions within the Elementary & Secondary Education Act (ESEA) reauthorization bill currently being debated in Congress. Instead, the groups are calling for an end to school closures and privatization and investment in sustainable community schools with well-balanced assessments and challenging and varied curriculum.

In the letter, the groups state: “We respectfully disagree that the proliferation of high stakes assessments and top-down interventions are needed in order to improve our schools.  We live in the communities where these schools exist.  What, from our vantage point, happens because of these tests is not improvement.  It’s destruction.”

The letter continues: “High stakes standardized tests have been proven to harm Black and Brown children, adults, schools and communities. Curriculum is narrowed. Their results purport to show that our children are failures. They also claim to show that our schools are failures, leading to closures or wholesale dismissal of staff.  Children in low-income communities lose important relationships with caring adults when this happens. Other good schools are destabilized as they receive hundreds of children from closed schools. Large proportions of Black teachers lose their jobs in this process, because it is Black teachers who are often drawn to commit their skills and energies to Black children.  Standardized testing, whether intentionally or not, has negatively impacted the Black middle class, because they are the teachers, lunchroom workers, teacher aides, counselors, security staff and custodians who are fired when schools close.”

“The organizations that join us in this letter represent thousands of students who have peacefully walked out of school to protest discriminatory practices, the tens of thousands of parents who have protested school closings and demanded equity.  These are the people who know that they don’t have the choice of a strong neighborhood school. They know that we deserve better,” said Jitu Brown, the director of the Journey for Justice Alliance.

The groups reaffirm four primary ESEA demands established in a letter sent by the Alliance to Reclaim Our Schools (AROS)—a signatory on this week’s letter—to House and Senate leadership in March. Those demands include:

  • $1 billion in funding to increase the number of sustainable community schools, which provide an array of wrap around services and after school programs and engaging, relevant, challenging curriculum while supporting quality teaching and transformative parent & community engagement;
  • $500 million for restorative justice coordinators and training to promote positive approached to discipline;
  • Full resourcing of Title I of the ESEA, including $20 billion in funding this year for schools that serve the most low income students, building to the 40% increase in funding for poor schools originally envisioned in the legislation;
  • A moratorium on the federal Charter Schools Program.

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Journey for Justice (J4J) is an alliance of grassroots community, youth, and parent-led organizations demanding community-driven alternatives to the privatization of and dismantling of public schools systems and organizing in our neighborhoods, in our cities, and nationally, for an equitable and just education system.

National Resolution on High-Stakes Testing

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This resolution is modeled on a resolution passed by more than 819 Texas school boards in 2012 representing 80% of the districts and endorsed by 88% of the students. It was written by Advancement Project;Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund; FairTest; Forum for Education and Democracy; MecklenburgACTS; Deborah Meier; NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc.; National Education Association; New York Performance Standards Consortium; Tracy Novick; Parents Across America; Parents United for Responsible Education – Chicago; Diane Ravitch; Race to Nowhere; Time Out From Testing; andUnited Church of Christ Justice and Witness Ministries.

Organizations and individuals are encouraged to publicly endorse this resolution. Organizations can modify it as needed for their local circumstances while also endorsing this national version.

National Resolution on High-Stakes Testing

WHEREAS, our nation’s future well-being relies on a high-quality public education system that prepares all students for college, careers, citizenship and lifelong learning, and strengthens the nation’s social and economic well-being; and

WHEREAS, our nation’s school systems have been spending growing amounts of time, money and energy on high-stakes standardized testing, in which student performance on standardized tests is used to make major decisions affecting individual students, educators and schools; and

WHEREAS, the over-reliance on high-stakes standardized testing in state and federal accountability systems is undermining educational quality and equity in U.S. public schools by hampering educators’ efforts to focus on the broad range of learning experiences that promote the innovation, creativity, problem solving, collaboration, communication, critical thinking and deep subject-matter knowledge that will allow students to thrive in a democracy and an increasingly global society and economy; and

WHEREAS, it is widely recognized that standardized testing is an inadequate and often unreliable measure of both student learning and educator effectiveness; and

WHEREAS, the over-emphasis on standardized testing has caused considerable collateral damage in too many schools, including narrowing the curriculum, teaching to the test, reducing love of learning, pushing students out of school, driving excellent teachers out of the profession, and undermining school climate; and

WHEREAS, high-stakes standardized testing has negative effects for students from all backgrounds, and especially for low-income students, English language learners, children of color, and those with disabilities; and

WHEREAS, the culture and structure of the systems in which students learn must change in order to foster engaging school experiences that promote joy in learning, depth of thought and breadth of knowledge for students; therefore be it

RESOLVED, that [your organization name] calls on the governor, state legislature and state education boards and administrators to reexamine public school accountability systems in this state, and to develop a system based on multiple forms of assessment which does not require extensive standardized testing, more accurately reflects the broad range of student learning, and is used to support students and improve schools; and

RESOLVED, that [your organization name] calls on the U.S. Congress and Administration to overhaul the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, currently known as the “No Child Left Behind Act,” reduce the testing mandates, promote multiple forms of evidence of student learning and school quality in accountability, and not mandate any fixed role for the use of student test scores in evaluating educators.

To sign this resolution, go to Time Out from Testing.