Judge Negates Teacher Rights, Orders Teachers Back To Work

King County Superior Court Judge Andrea Darvas ruled Thursday morning that Kent teachers must return to work on Tuesday, September 8th, with classes to resume on Wednesday.   Details will be forthcoming. 

KEA members will meet at 2:30 pm today at Green River Community College to talk about the decision, and decide our next steps.  

KSD Attorney C huck Lind requested that the judge strip parents and community members of their First Amendment rights to free speech and assembly.  Judge Darvis denied the request, saying that the District may not limit parents’ free speech rights, and that teachers and parents can continue to picket.  A growing coalition of Kent parents are forming to show their anger with the District.  Mr. Lind’s attempt to silence them will no doubt.


98 Responses to “Judge Negates Teacher Rights, Orders Teachers Back To Work”

  1. KSD Employee Says:

    Well, finally the parents are feeling the same disrespect Kent teachers have been getting for the last 10 years from the administration. We appreciate your support and welcome you to the Club of the Disillusioned.

    It is important to remember that when you fight for the rights of the children, you will constantly have naysayers and backstabbers. They are truly the uninformed.

    • Confused Parent Says:

      Can someone explain the email that was sent by the district last night, which I have pasted below?

      “First Day of School-Wednesday, September 9

      Students are to report to school on Wednesday, September 9 for the first day of classes. Please check with your school for start times.

      Note: In order to make up the six missed days of school,
      there will be changes to the 2009-10 school calendar.
      Please know that we will inform you of the
      adjusted calendar as soon as possible.

      For more information on current developments,
      please visit the Kent School District website:

      Thank you for your support of the Kent School District.”

      Has something transpired that hasn’t been reported? I have been under the impression that there would be a vote by teachers on Monday to decide whether or not to abide by the injuction and that the magic date would be Tuesday regardless. Is the district jumping the gun?

  2. Evanna Johnson Says:

    Is there a place that parents can get signs and picket this weekend? unfortunately I have to work today and tomorrow and I can’t get out there. I walked Tuesday and Wednesday without signs so no biggie.
    I still support your cause!!!

  3. Lech Walesa Says:

    Geez, wow! Free Speech rights? Prone to hyperbole much? Could you be more dramatic? Sucks to be told your breaking the law, huh?. Gotta believe the teachers have every right to exercise their free speech rights before and after work. Your employer has every right to set down comportment rules while in their employ.
    How about for once just state facts?

    • Kent Resident Says:

      Read the complaint and the order. Yes, he was trying to limit free speech. The judge even addressed it this way. Sorry, it would be easy to excuse it as hyperbole, but unfortunately, it’s not. How sad! Also, during the hearing yesterday, Mr. Lind asked that community members not be allowed to participate with the teachers. What right does the school district have to ask this?

    • Working Hard for YOUR KIDS Says:

      I’ve been looking for the law. Sounds like you have it. What RCW (Revised Code of Washington) is that? I want to read it so I can make a better decision for Monday. Thanks. I’ll look for your answer here.

      • kenteducationassociation Says:

        Not quite sure what you are referring to. Please be more specific.

      • Working Hard for YOUR KIDS Says:

        What does this mean? We’ve got an opinion from the AG that is not legislation and not law. What law did the judge base her opinion on? Washington Law is based on the Revised Code of Washington, right?

        I received this from the AGO.

        Dear Mr. XXXXXX:

        (1) If you would like to review the RCWs related to collective bargaining for educational employees, please see RCW 41.59. Here is the link to the RCW on the web: http://apps.leg.wa.gov/RCW/default.aspx?cite=41.59.

        (2) If your request for an RCW is related strictly to the legal conclusion in 2006 No. 3, we are unable to point you to a specific RCW. We cannot provide any better explanation for our legal conclusion than what is contained in the text of the opinion.

        (3) You ask whether “the decision” is binding on all teachers at all times. If by the decision, you mean the legal conclusion in AGO 2006 No. 3, I can only reiterate what I stated toward the end of my previous message: “It is a legal analysis . . . entitled to such weight as the courts choose to give it. It is guidance to government officials and the public who may rely on it, at least until a court should hold otherwise.” Our decision is not a law. It is an opinion about what the law is. To the extent the courts agree, it is binding throughout the state.

        IF I’m a public employee like firemen, police officers, and ferry worker, then I definately want more money.

  4. TiredOfGreedyUnions Says:

    The judge spoke up for our children’s rights!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • GNN Says:

      How is it greedy to ask for smaller class sizes so YOUR children can get more one on one time with the teacher?

    • Kent Mom of 2 Says:

      Yeah, the right to a mediocre education. That’s the best theyll get in overcrowded classrooms. Great job!

    • Anonymous Says:

      your child also has a right to get the best education they deserve so they dont grow up to be as uneducated as the administrators at KSD

    • Anonymous Says:

      The judge’s ruling did nothing to solve the issues…my kids will still be in large classes and I am sure with too many teacher admin. meetings (both mean the teachers are still overworked). There won’t be much in the way of pay parity (still lower than most peers) and the Administrators of KSD will be the highest paid.
      We need keep contacting 1) the state (Gregoire), 2) Dr. Vargas and 3) KSD Board of Directors – they have had several years to solve these issues and have not fixed these known problems.

      (on a side note, in seeing how classes have been shuffled around – there are many more split classes now – which is not good – and I noticed the numbers are usually just below one proposed threshold of getting “an extra adult” for a hour or two….is KSD Admin. doing “smoke and mirrors” with the numbers?)

  5. David Says:

    How is it that Lisa Brackin-Johnson was “not surprised by (the) ruling,”? If someone thinks something is lawful, that person would be surprised when a judge rules it is unlawful.

    Does that mean she knowingly led the Kent teachers into an unlawful strike? When she claimed it was legal to strike, what was that claim based on, if not an expectation of legal vindication? Will the KEA now appeal to the ruling?

    Or am I missing something?

    I appreciate what Becky Hanks has said, “We know our teachers are law-abiding citizens and we expect to see them on the first day of school,” she said.

    Despite being yelled at and mocked by some of the teachers, this lady takes the high road by maintaining a high expectation for all teachers. Now it’s time for the teachers to rise to the occassion and the KEA to sit back and evaluate itself.

    • future national board certified teacher Says:

      If I abided by this ruling I would not be doing my job as a teacher. I don’t just deliver knowledge; I deliver democracy. Failing to stand up for the rights of minority and economically disadvantaged kids would mean that I should retire now. The best way to battle the achievement gap: small classes where teachers and kids can get to know each other. Each knows that the other is working as hard as possible to achieve success.

      Continue to teach gigantic classes and kids continue to fail. Big picture, people! The big picture view of this of an awareness that if I battle for kids’ rights to learn I am fighting for civil rights, not just kids. I fight for the future, not immediate gratification.

  6. Alex Says:

    Unions do not help good employees….if you are a good worker a union is NOT needed…Unions were for back in the day in the 20’s and 30’s…I agree class size should not be in the crazy numbers it is now. More teachers need to be hired…so that means that a pay raise would not be possible…so here it is hire more teachers and forget about pay raise for this year and there fore class size would be a down…I know the union heads will not like my message but it is what I believe as a former union memeber

    • kenteducationassociation Says:

      Unions are the mechanism by which workers are able to assert themselves to fix injustice in the workplace. Unions are the ones who ended child labor, 12 hour workdays with no breaks, that demanded safety precautions to protect the workers, etc. Unions are not perfect, like government agencies or businesses, because they are only as good as they actions of their members.

      I am one of the “union heads” you refer to. Besides this blog, I also am a coordinator during the strike for picketing at 11 schools in the District. I served as an elected official in the KEA until June. I am named as a defendant in the injunction order, which means I would conceivably be subject to fines or imprisonment if the members decide to defy the injunction when we meet at 6 pm on Monday. I am not paid six figures to take on these responsibilities or these risks. I am a teacher who has worked in this District for over 10 years. I student taught here. I was a substitute teacher here. I have worked in the elementary, middle, and high school levels here. I have worked with the high-needs kids of the K-M strand and the high performers of the Kentwood strand. My colleagues that are working with me right now in the union office are also Kent teachers. Most of the WEA staff that has been brought in are former teachers. Our union is not full of Jimmy Hoffa mobster types.

      The “pay raise” is a proposal on the table, not a tentative agreement. It really isn’t a pay raise, it is simply offering us more pay if we do additional work outside of the normal school day. The District could at any time withdraw its pay proposal and use the money to fund a realistic class size proposal. Our members might go for that. At least that would be bargaining.

    • Classified Employee Says:

      I really take offense to the comment “Unions do not help good employees….if you are a good worker a union is NOT needed”. I am a good worker in the district as are most of my coworkers and nearly all of the teachers in KEA. I know that for a fact because I see the effort everyone puts into educating and helping children (whether at the school or at the district offices). The teachers are lucky to have a union that is supportive and willing to help them improve what is lacking in the district!

    • teacher Says:

      Unfortunately, in our district the union is needed. We have fabulous teachers in this district. “Good Employees” as you call them. Many of these good employees have been railroaded by this district. I have seen my partner teachers be treated with disrespect and “punished” by the district. This district controls its employees with fear and has gotten away with it for years. We have administrators that have breached contract provisions, broken Washington state labor laws and have used revenge as a way to get back at people. Not all administrators, not a lot of them, but it has been done. I have seen it personally and been a target myself. Without the support of my union, these administrators were not allowed to treat people the way they did. This district has bred the “dictatorship” way of thinking in some administrators and as a result many “good employees” have been tossed aside, left the district or trampled on.

  7. Henry Says:

    Dear All,

    I am very disappointed with the Kent School District and thier blatent disregard for what is right. Vargas is a puppet to the Board which obviously has accumulated too much power. I don’t think that I can recover from the lying and misrepresentation that has occurred during the last year.


  8. anonymous Says:

    So let’s deal with it like adults. Being “unavailable” for negotiations, waiting to make a decision on the judge’s ruling until 6pm on Monday….this is just playing games and is childish. The union is spreading rumors that are not based in fact and is not being responsible. I used to support the teachers but the union has ruined my opinion of them.

    • kenteducationassociation Says:

      We were not “unavailable” for negotiations, we were in court, by order of a judge.

      We are waiting until Monday to decide so our members can see if the District will change its actions and try to bargain or not. Teachers will then make a decision based upon reason, not the emotion of the initial reaction. Consider 6 pm a deadline for the District to offer something acceptable.

      The childish thing is to keep our bargaining team in the mediation for 51 hours straight without a word while the District lawyer worked to finalize their injunction paperwork, and then come out claiming that you have, “always bargained in good faith.”

      Which rumors are we spreading? Any rumors that are on the picket line we are working to quickly squash with facts. We have a procedure in place for members to write down their questions, rumors, concerns, or ideas each day on the picket line that we review as a group in our picket captain’s meeting each evening. I’ve heard some great rumors that I’m not posting without specific facts to back it up.

      I’d say considering jail time or fines as an option because you believe you have an ethical obligation to improve education in this District for your students is pretty much an adult thing to do.

    • Kent HS Teacher Says:

      In reading the KSD’s petition to the court, I noted that the School Board authorized such action on August 26th. This was prior to the strike vote. How had harm been caused at that point? In an unprecedented move, we went on strike “early” so as to give the district addtional time to actually bargain with us. Yet, they were already thinking of trying to force us back into the classroom with a court order. How can they be said to have been bargaining in good faith? I think waiting until Monday to make a decision is actually the most reasonable and adult thing to do, rather than acting impulsively on the emotion of the situation as we may have done yesterday.

    • HS Teacher Says:

      It’s important that we remember that bargaining started back in APRIL and the district used nuisance tactics until we were FORCED to strike if we want any chance of reducing class sizes. That is the issue that most teachers are concerned about. Heck use the 8.5 million dollars that would come from our “raise” and get more teachers so that class sizes CAN be reduced. The district is trying to manipulate us back to work without having to come up with a contract. I would call THAT “playing games and childish” along with irresponsible. THEY are the reason school is being delayed. If they offered us something reasonable to begin with we wouldn’t have this issue.

    • teachersarenottheenemy Says:

      Oh Anonymous…you are so wrong on this one.

  9. Randy Brown Says:

    Keep the faith. In 1995 I was teaching in Fife and we had the then longest strike in Washington history (before Marysville got that dubious title). We also were ordered back to work and refused. Ours ended with arbitration–we won, the district lied about the money they had. I returned a few years ago and teach in a private high school. My average class size is 17 with one meeting a week. Hang in there, you are in my thoughts.

  10. Just a bit annoyed Says:

    How has a request for better classroom conditions and better working relationships become a call to action against everyone who is not the “one voice” of KEA? I have never met such righteous anger that has been coupled with such blind hatred for the other side. I have seen the anger toward the KSD and then seen it targeted toward colleagues that have done nothing wrong other than to voice their opinion against a union. This union seems to not have one voice but many, with many problems and many points of contention. Put your anger away and look at who you should be supporting.

    • kenteducationassociation Says:

      Amen. As I’ve said before, emotions are running high. It’s tough for KEA to get its message out when only a few of us are volunteering our time to keep our blog and website running and to find other ways to get our info out there, while KSD is spending taxpayer money to post its attacks and distortions using a full time PR staff. Organizing 1,800 members who up until 6 months ago barely knew each other or were unaware of each other’s issues has been tough. The District has created the perfect storm by its distortions in the media, forcing us to the picket line where we are only becoming more united, and now bullying us through this injunction. They’ve created a monster that sort of has a mind of its own. That’s why it is so crucial for the community to now step in and diffuse the situation by putting pressure on the District to get serious about bargaining! If the District’s leadership can get us something, anything that gives us hope that these issues we’ve identified are being addressed, we will go back to work with a smile on our face. We don’t want the raw emotions you describe to carry over into the classroom because we are forced back to work without a contract.

  11. Natalie Says:

    This history teacher supports Kent teachers! Good luck!!!!

    Sacramento, CA

  12. Wanting School To START Says:

    On the districts website it says they waited to bargin with the UNION at 10am and the UNION failed to show.. SHOULDNT SOMEONE say that the TEAM was in COURT because they were being sued individually as well as the KEA. So Vargas didnt go to the injunction! But the district picked to work with our union to ratify the contract while they were in court hearing a judgement about them and our union! AGAIN LIES LIES LIES from the district.. VERY MISLEADING.. KEA wouldnt meet today BECAUSE YOU FILED A suit against them and they had to be in court!!!!

  13. Teacher Gal Says:

    I do believe the judge’s scope was very limited and she was forced to rule in the district’s favor based on prior court cases. However, she was probably sympathetic to the teacher’s plight, and showed that in the amount of time allowed between the date of her order and the date that she requested teacher’s be back in school.

    I can hardly believe that any accomplished lawyer would actually request to limit parents’ and teachers’ free speech. Isn’t that a basic legal tenant that any 1L (first year lawyer) would be aware of?

  14. Working Hard for YOUR KIDS Says:


    Is this where OBAMA and VARGAS are leading education? Read the Seattle Times article.

    • Working Hard for YOUR KIDS Says:

      Check out US Department of Education article “Race to the Top” – the latest and greatest? in education reform.

  15. Suzanne L Says:

    My son, a 10yr old, has asked me why the teachers would break the law, when a judge has ordered them back to work. He wants to know how they can expect them (the students) to listen to the rules when they dont. This is what *he* came and asked me after watching the news coverage on his own. I would like to know a teachers viewpoint on how to answer this question (because quite honestly, as a parent, my response was going to be “I agree with you 100% buddy, you are right.” but I decided to try to help him through this appropriately in a respectful way). So I’d appreciate any feedback on how to answer this question.

    He also asked me how a judge was “degrading the teachers” when all he was doing was deciding if it was illegal or not. “Wouldnt it be the district that’s degrading to them if anyone is mom? Not the judge who’s job was to decide what is law and not?”. Again.. response?

    I hope results are achieved before it comes to that. But I’d appreciate responses for my VERY observant 10yr old (and 7yr old that’s listening in on his conversations)

    • Kent HS Teacher Says:

      “How can the teachers break the law?” is a great question. I would say that we have a moral imperative to break the law. Granted, this is not a great civil rights struggle, but our rights, and more importantly, the rights of your child to an excellent education (not just a mediocre one) are at stake here. Sometimes justice requires breaking, not following the law. Both the costs and benefits of such an action should be carefully considered.

      In this case, is it worth a delay in your child’s education this year to achieve gains that will improve his education for years to come? Many of us think it is. We have been trying to get improvements in our students’ learning conditions through the system for years, but have been thwarted at every turn. We are left with no avenue remaining, but to break the law.

      Is it right? Each person has to answer that question for him or her self, but I feel that it is and I have never before engaged in deliberate illegal behavior or protest. (I do have to confess to that speeding ticket, but I didn’t realize I was going that fast.)

      You may ask, “What kind of example are you setting for our children?” This is another fine question. I would offer that we teach children about acts of civil disobedience in school all the time. Our great nation was founded on acts of civil disobedience and strengthened when people did not follow the laws regarding slavery, women’s rights, and Jim Crow Laws. We uphold people who broke the law in Communist Europe as heroes and recognize those who followed the law in Nazi Germany were wrong. The law is not infallible.

      This is not, of course, to say that our issues are on the same plane as the examples we give in class. The issues with which we are concerned are far, far smaller in scope. Make no mistake, however, that there are issues of justice in play here. When other local districts are able to provide lower class-sizes and more teacher-controlled time for students and teachers to work together or teachers to develop improved curriculum for their students and your child doesn’t receive that, where is the justice in that? We believe that your child deserves better, and we know that the district could give us the support we need to do it.

      Which would be morally correct, for us to accept the status quo and follow the law or to break the law and stand up for what is right? This is not an issue of just breaking the rules of a staff meeting; it is a greater stand than that. I’m sure your child can think of situations where it would be better for him to break a rule than to do what he thinks is morally wrong.

      The key is talking about the motivation for breaking that rule or law. Is it for the greater good or for personal gain? What are the costs and benefits of such an action? What are the potential consequences of action and the potential consequences of inaction? This is the sort of critical thinking and reasoning that our citizens must do if our country is to remain great. Blind obedience and adherence to the law or apathy about injustice is bound to result in the downfall of our nation. In this respect, though you may disagree with our particular issues, I hope you would support our actions as being a good example of citizenship and engagement in our community.

      At this point, the personal cost to me is far more than any personal gain I will achieve, since my school actually has relatively few meetings and my class sizes are on the lower end of the spectrum (though still on average 6 students per class higher than 7 years ago). Yet, the benefit to the greater good of my students is what keeps me going.

      This is not just about this year, but the conditions in which our children will learn for years to come. This is about your son and how he will do not just in fifth grade, but in sixth and seventh and so on. It is about my son, who will be in kindergarten next year, and the conditions for his learning. What he learns (or doesn’t) in kindergarten will affect what he learns in first grade, which will affect what he learns in second grade, and so on. The cumulative effect of these conditions is important.

      So I have to weigh the consequences. Is it more important to follow the law and accept that our children will have less educational support than children just a few miles away or to delay their education now, but create improved conditions that will benefit them for years to come? Your answer to this question will tell you what we should do.

      • Very Frustrated Says:

        Thank you for responding in this way. I was trying to phrase how to answer this mom’s very good questions and you captured perfectly what I myself am feeling in this situation.

      • Jimmy Hoffa Says:

        Deleted for violation of terms of use. I’m happy to post your stuff, Jimmy, but you need to stop with the name calling.

      • Jimmy Hoffa Says:

        Kenteducationassociation, my apologies for not keeping my emotions in check with my original response…but having relatives that lived through the Civil Rights movement, I got a little worked up with the equivalency argument.

        Kent HS Teacher, don’t you think it’s overstating things….A LOT….to be equating the teachers strike and you and your fellow teachers possibly violating a court order to the Civil Rights movement, with the fight for slavery, and the founding of this country, women’s suffrage, and…the atrocities that happened in Nazi Germany. These movements were worth fighting for because they affected races, creeds, and colors, and they were a fight against true oppression.

        It’s a weak moral equivalency argument that I’m sure your high school students would see through. In fact, in any other situation I would hope you would want them to see the weakness of that type of argument. I’d use caution using those as examples. Sure, the teachers think they are not being treated fairly by KSD; but equating it to an injustice? With all due respect…c’mon. Let’s keep things in perspective. The examples you gave about fighting for a just cause…those that fought had little choice, either fight or risk being treated as subhuman. Any teacher can freely leave KSD if they feel they are not being treated justly. Those suffering civil rights violations had little choice.

        Not saying your cause is to worth negotiating for…but…risk being held in contempt of court? Seriously? If you are not careful, this equivalency argument may end up backfiring down the road.

    • Disappointed Mom Says:

      Kudos to you Suzanne for asking the question that many of us are being forced to answer as parents, “why would a teacher state on television they are likely going to defy a judge’s order?” My son, an 8th grader at Northwood, spent the better part of his social studies class last year studying the legal system and now he is asking me why he should have to listen to teachers that don’t respect the legal system they taught him just last spring. Here I am working on respect for authority and here the teachers’ union shoots me in the foot in the process.

      Two Kentridge kids, who are neighbors, openly discussed in front of me how they now feel that if they don’t like how they are treated in school they feel they have the moral authority to simply walk out. The teachers are crossing lines that should not be crossed live on the six o’clock news with their students watching. Sadly the lesson they are teaching now is a judge’s order is something to be considered but not necessarily followed. Is that really what you want your teenage students to learn?? It’s not what I want my son to learn. That’s NOT being a positive influence and I’m seriously concerned.

      The heckling of Dr. Vargas while speaking the other day has also been duly noted by a number of kids, “why do they not have to raise their hands mom??” Is this yet another behavior you want to instill in our children???

    • KarenM Says:


      As a mom, it is up to you to teach whichever point of view you choose to teach your children. What I have explained to my children is that the law in Washington stating that public empoyees may not strike was intended for employees that provide public safety. Since the legislature did not define the specific jobs included in the law, it becomes open to interpretation. The Attorney General of Washington has stated that it is his/her OPINION that teachers are included in the intent of the law. Judges and others have used that opinion to guide their decisions. As of yesterday, the judge rendered her opinion (or interpretation of the law) that teachers in Kent cannot strike. All of this is opinion rather than law. I can tell my children that it is my OPINION that teachers striking is not a matter of public safety and in our histrory, when government officials become so powerful and out of touch with their directed mission, the people of our country have chosen to use tools that can be characterized as controversial, even illegal in order to move those government officials toward the expected mission.

      The question your child had to “degrading the teachers” once again comes from someone’s opinion. Whoever it was that said that was probably a teacher who is feeling that way. It was the hope that the judge would follow history in our state by recognizing that the district has not spent enough time negotiatiing and therefore an injuction was premature. And it is the judges job to interpret the law.

      Thank you for seeking answers to your children’s questions. I hope that you can find the words to express what it is you want them to learn.

    • HS Teacher Says:

      It sounds a little hoaky but I would talk to him about back in the day with slavery. How it was legal to own slaves…talk about how sometimes the law isn’t correct, that it has to be changed. None of the teachers WANT to go against the court order but we are trying desperately to stand up for our students and make it so that we can give them the support, encouragement, attention and time that they SHOULD have when they’re at school. In the long run we are trying to do what the kids can’t do for themselves.

    • NotateacherbutstillKEA Says:

      Perhaps you could have a little history lesson and talk to your son about the founders of our country, and Martin Luther King Jr, among others, who used civil disobedience to fight for freedom and rights when it was needed.
      Sometimes laws just don’t make sense, do they?

      • Jimmy Hoffa Says:

        You are equating your trivial teachers strike—in the grand scheme of things happening both in the country and around the world–with the Civil Rights movement? Un-freaking-believable. Now I’ve heard everything!!! No wonder you guys are losing the PR war, no matter what you think about the small set of parents that show up at your rallies.

        Your moral equivalency is outrageous. MLK is liking spinning in his grave to hear you basically trivialize his work.

    • frustrated Kent Teacher Says:

      Suzanne and Son,

      This is the dilemma that we teachers have been discussing on the picket lines. What do we say to our students about following the law when we finally get back to class? How can we look students in the eye and say “underage drinking is against the law, you shouldn’t do it” while knowingly breaking a ruling by a judge? We shouldn’t get to decide which laws to follow. There isn’t an easy answer. I don’t have one.
      I personally do not want to break the law. But, I also want kids to have the best learning environment possible. Since I have not been allowed at the bargaining table, how do I as an individual encourage those at the table to make good decisions?

      I have been involved in the interview process of new teachers for upcoming school years. Most of the time the person being interviewed will ask, what’s the expected pay? We have to answer, “we don’t know” It depends on the new contract (which sometimes isn’t finished for several months after school begins). All of our new teachers for this year do not have a set salary yet. In what other business would someone do a job for 1 month or 2 months without knowing how much they will make?

      I feel I have been taken advantage of and very degraded by the district. They expect me to be a professional, but haven’t treated me like one.

      I still hope that they can make a decision before Monday. I don’t want to have to make a decision to defy a court order. I still don’t know what my decision will be.

    • CounterpointSue Says:

      Hi, Suzanne (I’m another Suzanne, BTW!),

      I posted a comment on another blog on this site about why I would engage in civil disobedience, and I’ll repeat some of it here. I actually disagree with someone that replied to you. I think this IS a civil rights issue. I think that when the leader of the NAACP spoke to us in August and said that the wide achievement gap between Caucasian children and children of color is this generation’s civil rights issue, he hit it right on the head. The children who are being hurt most by the large class sizes and by teachers’ unavailability to meet with them because they have 3-4 meetings at a minimum every week are the children of color, the English Language Learners, and the children who live in poverty. These are the children–and families– that have the fewest resources and the least power in our society. If I don’t stand up for them, who will? As part of this union of teachers, I have some power, or at least enough to make the district listen. Parents have been complaining about large class sizes for years, but nothing has happened to change things. The teachers have the power, when unified, to make the district stop and reprioritize. Is this ideal? No. Do I want to defy a court order? No (I have serious misgivings just from a religious standpoint). Will I be willing to engage in a peaceful protest in order to stand up for children who cannot stand up for themselves? Yes. That’s the conversation I’m having with my own children, as I explain why I am taking the stand that I am taking. I’m nervous about this, I’m not sleeping much at night, and I seem to be talking to myself out loud a lot lately (!), but I am resolute. I have a professional and moral responsibility to protect the interests of the least among us and I am prepared to do that. I really, really hope that this gets resolved this weekend, though.

      Thanks for your contribute to the blog. I really do appreciate reading everyone’s input, and I certainly “hear” what you are saying. This isn’t going to be easy when we do go back to school–on many levels.

    • Resolute Says:

      Another way to think about this is what is the reasoning behind these actions? As any teacher will tell you, while we deal with misbehavior at it’s base (Jenny, stop talking to your neighbor.) We also look at patterns and the reasons behind the behavior. Is Jenny sitting next to her best friend and need to be in a different area of the classroom? Is she next to someone who is bothering her under the table and she’s getting trouble for telling that person to stop? While it may not excuse the talking, it helps me to adjust my classroom or my student’s environment so that the misbehavior is negated by solving the underlying problem.

      While this situation is more serious than talking in class, it does have basis beyond the surface. One question that has come up often in my conversations with people is if the district can file an injunction against us for striking, what is our recourse when the district refuses to bargain in good faith? The answer is we have none, except maybe to sue which takes months and can not help our immediate situation. In some ways, we are hoping to change not only our district but also the culture of the state overall on how teachers can force a contract when a district will not bargain in good faith. My sister and best friend both teach in different districts and teachers there too are wondering that same question. Does it mean we need to have the right to strike and the law needs to change? Does it mean we need to go to binding arbitration like Police and Fire have? Does it mean we need to do negotiation training on both sides like Federal Way does? Does it mean we too need a legal recourse such as an injunction when we run into the issues the district has thrown our way? SOMETHING needs to change because at the moment there is no balance of power between the district and the union.

  16. Ann Says:

    I believe there was a mediator mandated meeting today at 10:00.

    Where was the KEA?

    Where is your good faith effort?

    • kenteducationassociation Says:

      Mediation was scheduled at 10 am, but we were ordered to have our Bargaining team to appear in court at 11 for the ruling on the injunction. The mediatior was notified that we would not be able to attend. If the District really wanted to work things out, perhaps they should have done so at the bargaining table sooner, rather than filing the injunction.

      This is the reality we’ve been dealing with:
      KEA has offered to meet 24/7 to reach a resolution since our General Membership Meeting in June. It has been the District who has limited the number and time of bargaining sessions over the summer, appeared late or unprepared to bargain at these meetings, and who continues to provide nothing new or realistic at the table. You know how you hear things like, “The District offered KEA a 40 page proposal,” from the KSD and the media? Generally these 40 pages are photocopies of previously rejected proposals that have a few words changed here and there– nothing substantive. KEA’s Bargaining Team then has to go through the proposal to determine what has changed, and usually finds virtually nothing new. The last class size proposal that KSD offered us included two provisions that would automatically make the class size language null and void for the next two years!

    • BaffledTeacher Says:

      BE INFORMED! The district was in court because the district took them there. The court case was held at 11 a.m. at the Regional Justice Center. Good faith bargaining does not happen one hour before a scheduled court hearing.

    • NotateacherbutstillKEA Says:

      And by the way, this slanderous posting was removed from the website, in response to numerous furious emails, including mine.

  17. Vicki Jackson Says:

    Washington courts have repeatedly ruled that teacher strikes are illegal. Negotiations should continue, but teachers shouldn’t disobey the law and go on strike.

    What I really want to know is why there were 4 teachers picketing at one of the entrances to our community this morning? There’s no school in the community or even nearby. It was disturbing to see them there. I thought they would picket in front of a school or perhaps on a major intersection, but clearly they had targeted our neighborhood. Why?

    • HS Teacher Says:

      Perhaps they live in your neighborhood… we were told to be at our schools or today the district office.

      I have a question for you however. Given our situation… the district is NOT negotiating, they keep giving us the same proposal over and over, which does NOT limit class size at all. How are we supposed to get them to start negotiating if we didn’t strike? We have no other way to convince them that we need a change. They aren;t even listening to us now that we are on strike. What was the other option taht none of us saw? The only other option I saw was lay down and take it. Let them determine class size by dividing the number of students by the number of teachers like the proposal on the KSD website explains. Let them keep any limit off of class sizes so that in a year, MAYBE two we won’t even have enough physical space in our rooms to put our students. Let them pay paraeducators to come in and “assist” once we get three students above the “average” class size when those paraeducators know less than my students do…

      I will do everything in my power to get a class size agreement that’s reasonable and if that means striking so be it. I need it for my sanity, for my family, for my health and for my STUDENTS. I CANNOT give them the help that they need when there are 35 students in my class. At that point I am a babysitter trying to gain their attention long enough to teach them something…ANYTHING.

      • kenteducationassociation Says:

        Let’s be fair to our paraeducators, who are also working very hard under difficult circumstances. We appreciate their hard work, and know that they support us, too.

      • Vicki Jackson Says:

        Thank you to those who mentioned that picketers may be parents or teachers who live in our community. We do have school teachers who live here so if I see them again I will stop and ask.

        To answer the ? about what other recourse do teachers have other than strike, I believe it’s called mediation or having a middle party try to hammer out the differences.

        I’m going to bring up another issue and I still think teachers should return to the classroom.

        The issue is counselors. They are members of the Teacher’s Union yet some of them feel that the teachers don’t listen to their concerns or represent them very well. Since there are no guidelines as to how many students a counselor must support, there is the real potential that lowering the class size for teachers will mean laying off counselors. ( I mean you have to get the money from somewhere.) Middle school and high school counselors now have as many as 400 students to support. How good a job can they do at reaching everyone who needs them? What if they had to support 500 or more?

        Perhaps smaller class sizes mean the district wound have to lay off the paraeducators. That wouldn’t lessen the teacher’s burden either. Times are touch. Unemployment is nearly 10%. Property tax revenue will be down next year because of depreciated home values. If teachers are adamant about achieving their requests, let them help identify a solution, especially about where the money is to accomplish their desires.

        A final point is regarding volunteers. A lot can be done with volunteers. As our population ages, there are more retired people. Perhaps the district should do more to promote and encourage a volunteer brigade to help teachers distribute the load to these type of helpers.

        Vicki Jackson

      • kenteducationassociation Says:

        On the table have been case load caps for Counselors, Occupational and Physical Therapists, Psychologists, Nurses, Speech/Language Pathologists, etc., not just teachers. KEA’s original proposals were based on the suggested caseload limits that the professional organizations for these fields. KEA’s attempts to encourage bargaining by the District have meant that the requested limits are more moderate. Currently, there are absolutely no limits for caseload for these specialists in the old contract. KEA’s Bargaining Team is very aware of the needs of our specialists, and are working to get whatever reasonable limits they can for our specialists. More info was shared at the General Membership Meeting on Thursday (I don’t have the details in front of me, or I would post them here.)

        KEA does not believe that the District should have to lay off paras or specialists to offer real class size and caseload language. The KSD needs to move money from their reserve fund and delay the purchase of some programs and materials to pay for these proposals. KEA’s Bargaining Team currently includes a financial analyst provided by WEA to help them identify potential sources of revenue in the KSD budget that can cover our proposals.

      • Resolute Says:

        While a mediator can advise and sometimes help break an impasse, they do not have the power to force either side to do anything.

    • Loves Free Speech Says:

      Why was it disturbing that people were exercising their First Amendment Rights? Second Amendment would be disturbing, yes, but not First Amendment.

    • teacher Says:

      Where is your neighborhood? Are you sure they were teachers and not parents? We had parents out in front of our neighborhood.

    • Barbara Says:

      My guess is that you have someone who lives in your neighborhood that can directly affect the outcome of negotiations.

  18. Charles Allen Says:

    I am a parent of two children both of whom attend schools in Kent. I urge teachers NOT to return to work. Do not allow these administrators to use the backs of our children to launch political careers. This issue is a symptom of a larger issue. I support the teachers and the KEA in defying the administration and keeping education safe for their students.

    • future national board certified teacher Says:

      Thanks for the encouragement Charles; I agree with you. I appreciate that you understand the big effort here and the long-lasting impact that we are striving for!

  19. theresa Says:

    We have voted as a collective unit to give the district four days to come up with a fair contract. The judge was clear that by ordering us back to work on Tuesday she intended for the bargaining process to continue. It is my hope that on Monday we will vote on a tentative agreement. I know that we are unified. We know that the community supports us. And we all want to get back to work ASAP.

    • Erin in Fairwood Says:

      I hope teachers and KSD will come to a tentative agreement VERY SOON; Labor Day Monday would be very symbolic! My 9 year old is a 4th grader who has Asperger’s Syndrome and has an IEP with services from the District. He thinks it is weird that his teachers’ are breaking the law! He needs to get back to school even more than our 1st grader does! Please do not let us families down. Get a tentative agreement this weekend and please come back to work so kids like my son do not get left behind!

      I am not against the teachers or their plight but we all have things that we don’t like about our jobs sometimes (I am a nurse). I am one of the parents at my kids’ school in Fairwood who helps each year and I am involved in our PTSA for greater funding of classroom needs and extracurricular/enrichment activities. I personally have volunteered so many hours that I did not keep track over the past 3 years and my husband and I have donated THOUSANDS of dollars to our PTSA for all of the children. My husband’s parents were both elementary and middle school teachers who have retired within the past decade. I am not one of those lazy parents or abusive parents, so please do not let people like us down.

      I agree with Ann–you look to the general public as if you are just striking and not still mediating. I am sure that the media has just not given the full story but please, be careful how you make our District look. How you appear in the media and how the District is made to appear will affect your ability to get some of the best teachers even if you do make slightly more money by striking a few more days (reduction of class size is also a form of a wage increase–less work for more money). It is no different in nursing–the good ones might leave even with a good contract because they are upset that their issues were not resolved by the mediation/arbitration, etc. and then your hospital or healthcare agency is branded in the area as a lousy place to work by the best caregivers and you still get stuck with too much work, too many patients (like students). It will be bad for you with KSD if you do not come to an agreement within a few days is all I am saying. Please consider what I have said!

      • future national board certified teacher Says:

        If your son is old enough to understand explain that laws are human creations and, depending on who has created them, may be simply an effort to strengthen the status quo-whether they were created in the best interest of the population or not.

  20. GNN Says:

    Teachers were told we would be able to see a copy of the judges ruling/order on this site. Please post it soon. I was not able to get a hard copy at the meeting.

  21. Concerned Kent Parent Says:

    They picket to make people aware of their cause; the administration is using auto-dial, and school funds to send out letters. They could simply state that school is closed due to the strike, but they seem to be “politicking”. I don’t completely agree with the KEA, but I definitely don’t like the waste the administration seems to wallow in while our schools struggle. There are plenty of days in the school year that can be knocked out and used for making up this strike. I don’t like the strike, but Dr. Vargas doesn’t really seem to be concerned about our children at an educational level. They are just $$$ to the administration.

    • future national board certified teacher Says:

      Please note that all of this time in court, spend on overtime to send you letters that are somewhat accurate, etc. all are paid for with your tax dollars. I wonder how many classes could have been made smaller with the money the district has spent to defend its past practices?

  22. Long time Parent volunteer Says:

    In response to Suzanne L. : Not sure I will address your questions but wanted to say that there are other children out there who feel entirely different than your 10 yr. old. My two boys, as soon as they heard that the teachers might refuse to obey the injunction, said, “That is great! This is NOT the time for the teachers to back down. They will lose any ground that they gained.”

    My boys, just from being students in the district, are aware of some of the problems of the district not listening to the teachers and the disrespect teachers are shown by administrators when asking for simple things, such as a desk or a book for their 31st student or the right paperwork from HR. They are also aware that throughout history, there are times when the government is not right and it is okay to peacefully stand against it to change things.

    My older boy said, “If the teachers back down now, there is no reason for the district to bargain reasonably with them at all. The district will be back to where they were……….not having to listen to the teachers about anything.”

    The district can just keep overpaying administrators and finding ways to save money by cheating the teachers and the students of Kent. For anyone who has dealt with many of the administrators at KSD…as a parent or an employee….you know how impossible it can be to get a reasonable response to simple requests. They are in charge, they have the power, and they have the board and the superintendent behind them in whatever they choose to do. The teachers need some say about what they KNOW they need, in order to teach students.

    We all hate to lose vacation times throughout the year but I support the teachers 100%. They simply want to make Kent a district where great teachers want to come and stay and where we can graduate students who have had a chance at a great education.

  23. Parent of Kent Students Says:

    Strikes are for when the work environment is so toxic the workers physically cannot be there due to the risk of hazardous injury, not inconveniences over meetings, etc. Pay can be taken off the table as an issue to fight for, that is an ongoing debate because everyone could argue their pay is never enough. Classroom size is a valid point, but certainly not one that keeps a teacher from walking into a classroom. Unfortunately, the teachers picked a poor time to throw a fit. Had this happened in a better economy with lower unemployment, you might have had more support. A judge has ruled against you, it is time to go back to school.

    • Disappointed Mom Says:


    • Kent Teacher Says:

      Meetings may seem trivial until you’ve had a child come up to you after class and ask for help. You’d love to stay and help that child, but you are required to attend this meeting, so you have to say no. Try looking at that child and telling her that you can’t help her because you have to go to a meeting. What message do you think it sends that child? Is she going to be willing to try to ask for help next time? How do you think that impacts her academic achievement?

      When you have a lot of meetings to go to, it doesn’t take long before you’ve shut down a large number of kids. And for what? So you can attend bureaucratic meetings that most of the time have no relevance to your teaching. That time would be better spent helping those kids, but you’re not allowed to do it.

      We’re not talking about just hating meetings. Every one hates meetings. (Why is The Office so popular?) We’re talking about meetings that take away from the core of our job and our ability to help students. That IS worth fighting for. THEY are worth fighting for.

    • future national board certified teacher Says:

      When my job is to educate kids and I cannot do that because I have 34 kids to reach in less than one minute per student, my work environment has become toxic.

  24. Confused Parent Says:

    Can someone explain the email that was sent by the district last night, which I have pasted below?

    “First Day of School-Wednesday, September 9

    Students are to report to school on Wednesday, September 9 for the first day of classes. Please check with your school for start times.

    Note: In order to make up the six missed days of school,
    there will be changes to the 2009-10 school calendar.
    Please know that we will inform you of the
    adjusted calendar as soon as possible.

    For more information on current developments,
    please visit the Kent School District website:

    Thank you for your support of the Kent School District.”

    Has something transpired that hasn’t been reported? I have been under the impression that there would be a vote by teachers on Monday to decide whether or not to abide by the injuction and that the magic date would be Tuesday regardless. Is the district jumping the gun?

    • kenteducationassociation Says:

      The District is assuming that the injunction by the judge will be followed. KEA chose to wait till Monday to see if we could still come to an agreement by then. If not, members will vote on whether or not to follow the injunction order and go back to work, or ignore the order and continue to strike. This is a decision that everyone needs to consider carefully: the District, the KEA, the community, etc. I would say that parents would be wise to have a backup for childcare in case things go south.

  25. mmof2grls Says:

    An inconvenience over meetings….are you serious? The more meetings that the teachers have to attend takes them OUT of the classrooms where they should be teaching our children, correct? They are ok with the pay that was offered, it isnt the best but it is okay. The teachers want more time with our children. I agree with the strike and support the teachers as do my children.

    • future national board certified teacher Says:

      Not only can I not meet with kids, but I cannot let them in to my room to get text books/worksheets/access to the homework list because the meeting is in my room and may mention confidential information about another student.

  26. kentteacherytagain Says:

    Dear Mom of a 10 year old.
    First of all your son seems very bright and it is clear you have excellent communication with him. How very lucky you are.
    I am not speaking for everyone but me and why I may break the law.
    I made a promise to the Kent School District when I signed my contract. Among other things, I promised to do my very best to teach your student. I promised to move him from the grade he was in before mine, to be more than ready for the grade after mine.
    Here is the problem. If I have 32 children in my room I cannot effectively meet the needs of your son. If, in my class of 32, I have a child or two with special needs or behavior problems I cannot effectively meet the needs of your son.
    If I must spend 30 plus hours per student a trimester on report card assessments and comments to let you know about your student, or, if I must spend anywhere from 3-4 hours a week on administrative meetings and paperwork, (one example for September is curriculum maps where I must write, again, what it is the district wants me to teach It’s on the net, why re-write it? But I must every year.) I cannot effectively meet the needs of your son.
    The district has promised me more pay…only if I work longer hours and add more days. You maybe didn’t hear that? I’d rather have fewer students. Did you hear that the district promised to pay Substitutes a grand total of $0.04 a day? You are not hearing what we need the community to hear. I’m sorry for that.
    I’ve tried to keep my promises. But sometimes my district doesn’t keep theirs. That’s why I may break a law. I may break the law in order to make it possible for all the teachers of Kent who made the same promise I made and cannot keep it.
    I may break the law for your son, his sibling, my kids and my grandkids.
    I want everyone to have the best education they can get. It’s their right.

  27. Len Dawson Says:

    If no significant change happens from the total lack of respect and good faith negotiations of the district and this terrible judge ruling then five years from now the Kent District will only be filled with teachers who could not get hired anywhere else. And all you parents who have spent weeks attacking the teachers can sit around and think about how proud you are of the education your kids are getting then.

    • TLT37 Says:

      Sadly, I would have to agree with what you said, Len. I am a middle school teacher with over 12 years teaching experience. My evaluations have always been nothing short of exemplary, and I not only have tremendous rapport with my students, but have consistently beaten the average WASL scores posted by my school and other middle schools in our district. I am enthusiastic and absolutely love what I do, and more importantly, my students know it (and their parents are rather fond of me, too).

      I am watching and waiting with much anticipation as to whether or not the Kent School District cares enough about the many teachers like myself who are beginning to wonder why we should remain in Kent; I am seeking a contract that values my time as a professional. I am sick and tired of feeling as if I am being micro-managed, and equally frustrated by the lack of time the Kent School District is willing to provide me (as an educator) for the plethora of new programs it likes to introduce, but fails to grant me genuine time to learn before exposing me to yet another program it feels would be of benefit to me. It is almost as if my very own district believes in the concept that breadth is better than depth, and as a result, I feel as if I have been exposed to a variety of amazing teaching tools, but sadly, am the master of none, and that is very frustrating.

      For me, it is a matter of respect. Please understand I never wanted to go on strike, but when you attend board meetings and your concerns fall on deaf ears, you begin to question why you should stay in Kent. I value my time with my students; endless and often meaningless meetings takes away from my ability to help them, and I resent that. When meetings become more important than my students, and my classes are so large (or overloaded with too many students with special needs and I have no help) I cannot help them, one begins to wonder what the district values.

      I am hoping for a fair contract, because I genuinely feel deserving of one, and I know many very good teachers in mid-career like myself who are hoping for the same. At the end of the day, I want to know my district values and appreciates what I have done for my students. If I sense that it does not, I will leave, because I know I am the kind of teacher that other districts are seeking out.

      I ask that my district stop trying to malign its very own teachers against the members of our community, and the children that we serve. To the members of the KSD Bargaining Team: Please know that if you are not careful, you will find that at the end of the day, the Kent School District won’t be bleeding money (for it doesn’t lack the funds to address our issues moreso than the initiative or desire to allocate those funds more purposefully)–it will be bleeding TALENT.

    • CounterpointSue Says:

      Yes. I have been actively applying for teaching jobs in other districts all summer (jobs are always few and far between in my subject area, even in a good economy). I was the second choice for a job in Sumner that would have paid $8500 more a year with mandatory class caps that are the lowest ones in comparison to the table that KEA put out today showing class size averages in this area.

      Why should this worry you? I am a veteran teacher, my students have won awards at both the state and national level, even my hardest to reach kids make incredible gains each year under my instruction, and I have been classified as a master teacher by every administrator that has observed my teaching since the mid-90’s. I could be the poster child for the future of Kent education–good teachers going elsewhere.

  28. Someguy Says:

    I understand that everyone wants to make more money, but some times especially right now, we all have to make due. The teachers want a raise and to have less kids in the class. How many school districts have laid off teachers in order to meet budgets. People don’t have the money to pay more taxes. The last numbers I can find are 26,891 enrolled students with 1,687 teachers, that ends up being about 15.95 students per teacher. It sounds like there is already a high ratio of teachers to students. How many people are out of work, I personally think that the employed should just be happy to have a job to go to. And, if the teachers decide not to go back, I’m sure they can fill those jobs in no time. This year my local school district was hiring 2 positions and each position recieved over 100 qaulified applicants. Puyallup school district laid off roughly 200 teachers I’m sure their still looking.

    • Long time Parent volunteer Says:

      Re: Some Guy’s comment about 1:15 teachers per student.
      You need more info for the math to be correct. The number of employees in the KEA union include staff besides teachers, such as counselors, psychologists and nurses. Some KEA members are part time, with jobs only two, three or four days a week. Most middle school and high school students have 6 teachers each day. For all of these reasons and probably more, you can’t just take the number of union members and number of students.

      To TLT37: You have said it so well! The micromanaging and all the new programs, paperwork and forms bog down the teachers without helping our students. Your comments need to be posted on the kentschools.org website. Try to stick with it w KSD. We really do love our teachers and know they are outstanding. We will try to keep on the district to do what is right for the teachers and ultimately our students.

      I hope that maybe some of those administrators in the district office, the ones who love to micromanage, will be truly evaluated for the horrible jobs they are doing and will be booted out. That is one important way KSD could improve the working conditions for the teachers and other staff.

      I truly hope KSD can change because if many of the great teachers leave, then the community WILL change. Families will move to other areas where the teachers are supported by the district and their children can be taught by teachers who are respected by their district.

      My best manager ever said if she hired great employees and then fully supported them and took great care of them, the employees would take great care of those we served. KSD administration could not be further from this philosophy in how they deal with teachers.

      Please KSD, start supporting your teachers and give them respect and suport!

      Teachers, hang in there and go against the court order if the district is still not bargaining. Our children all deserve better than what the administrators have been willing to give them.

    • Resolute Says:

      First of all, this is not about a pay raise. KSD and KEA have already agreed on a tentative pay raise to help bring us in line with nearby districts but the main issues we are down to are class size caps and caps on meetings. In fact, most teachers I’ve talked to would forgo the pay raise if we could just get an agreement on class sizes and meetings. We are also not asking for more taxes, just for KSD to use the money they have more wisely in regards to the classroom and teaching rather than administration.

      Second of all, taking the number of students and dividing by the number of teachers is not an accurate way to determine class sizes. The 1,687 teachers refers to everyone who holds a teaching certificate. For example, in my elementary school, we have about 31 certificated staff which equals 19:1 which sounds pretty good. Unfortunately, some of those staff members have jobs that do not involve their own classroom. We have a music and PE teacher, ELL and special education, two instructional aids, a library/technology teacher, an instructional coach for teachers and an educational assistant which is like a vice principal without the principal credentials. These are all important positions and make a successful school but don’t help with class sizes. We have 22 teachers who have actual classes which comes out to 26:1 which is starting to be a high ratio. On top of that, kids don’t neatly divide equally into each grade so we have some grades with lower numbers and some with higher. That’s why we’re asking for CAPS rather than overall averages.

    • future national board certified teacher Says:

      Taxes are not needed; use public records and the freedom of information act to find out home much money is sitting in a rainy day fund the district claims is needed for the future. Are your kids the future, or not?

  29. Juan Figuroa Says:

    Will no doubt what? The poor grammar and punctuation on this blog boggles the mind. It’s astonishing that college graduates write this poorly.

  30. FW teacher 2 Says:

    Erin from Fairwood,
    I appreciate your concern and agree that we do need to come to a settlement. I, like every other teacher, would like to be in my classroom and not on the picket line. I know your son does not understand why we would go against the court order. But you need to remind him about all he learned about Harriet Tubman, MLK, and all the other civil rights leaders he was taught about. Your son knows about the civil rights period and why those leaders had to stand for a change because I taught him about it. It was not an easy time for any of those leaders but they believed in what they stood for. This situation is not exactly like that but it mirrors it because we believe in what we are standing for now.
    The year that I had your son my class size started out at 27 and was reduced in October when they hired another teacher because we had I-728 money. With the amount of students I originally had, I don’t know how I could have juggled everyone and tailored to your child’s needs. Thankfully I didn’t have to and I was able to give him the attention he needed. I want you to know that I went to at least two different Autism/ Asperger’s Syndrome meetings (one almost 3 hours long) that year to see if I could tailor more specifically to his needs. I tried countless interventions from those meetings and tried to be the best teacher for him. I did this all without getting paid for it and on my own time because I care. I stand up for him and you by learning everything I can to help. I spent countless hours with him coaxing him to write, teaching him social skills the best I could, and money on trying to get as many solar system books I could for his reading pleasure. He was just one of many students that year and I was able to do as much as I could for him because I got a lower class size. Please stand up for us in this time of need. We need the support of caring involved parents like you to explain why this is right and needed to make our community a better place. I also hope we come to a fair negotiation soon but please don’t think we only are doing this for ourselves because we are doing it for you too. We can make a much better impact on our students when we have more time for their special needs and a lower class size.

  31. teachershusband Says:

    I don’t know the best place to leave this comment so here ya go.

    What really has bothered me during this strike is the media getting people on the news saying the teachers are doing this for money, portraying them as greedy individuals.
    Nothing could be farther from the truth. I have personally watched my wife give countless hours of her time over the 10 years she has been a teacher.
    She has stayed after school sometimes until 5pm helping students.

    She spends her weekends and weeknights correcting papers and entering grades in the grade book from our home computer.

    She follows up with numerous parent contacts during each week.

    She has broken up fights at school where she got punched in the stomach by the kids involved.

    She taught drama for two years and put together a musical at the end of each year. This involved many months of unpaid work well into the evenings, usually 7pm.

    She has given gift cards for food to some of her students families who were clearly in need.

    She ran a program at her school that involved kids who were smart but having difficultly in the normal classroom. This meant that she had the same group of kids all day long and taught 4 different subject areas. She developed the curriculum for this from scratch.

    I watched her work during her free time this summer to develop curriculum for social studies that she will be teaching this year.

    She puts in at least a 50 hour work week, every week. Remember teachers are paid for 37 hours per week.

    Teachers are not greedy! This strike is about kids and her ability to spend time with them.

    Her largest class size in Kent was 34. Way too big in my book

  32. Jimmy Hoffa Says:

    @teachershusband…I’ve seen, and heard, TEACHERS say this is about “fair pay…bla bla bla”. There were numerous that were interviewed after the first vote that said it was about pay. These teachers need to get on the same page. Even today they clearly are not. Sure, whoever manages this blog has the talking points down. But many more “line workers” don’t have them down.

    On top of that, I would bet that if you did the Jay Leno thing, and asked the “average joe” on the street why Kent teachers were on strike…95% or more would say “higher pay”

    • future national board certified teacher Says:

      Jimmy Hoffa:
      This portion deleted for violating the blog policy against personal attacks.

      This language arts teacher is disappointed in your opinion, but pacified by the fact that you at least understand the satire of presenting a viewpoint that is in direct opposition to your chosen Teamster name.
      Despite your ideas, this teacher will continue to work hard for kids, just as your teachers did.

    • willyoumeetmeinthemiddle? Says:

      Yeah, and have you seen how informed Jay Leno finds the “average joe” on the street to be? Good example of how misinformation permeates the masses.

  33. teachershusband Says:

    Jimmy Hoffa,
    My apologies, I guess I can’t assume that all teachers are not greedy, perhaps some are. I guess I was trying to illustrate what I see in regards to my wife and her friends who are teachers.

    If you have ever been interviewed by the press then you would realize that a 5 minute interview can turn into a 4 second clip stating that the strike is about pay. Welcome to the exciting world of TV editing.

    I’m assuming Jimmy, that you work or have worked in the past? Have you ever accepted a job or entered into a contract where pay and raises were not discussed? These are usual things in any contract process but the district and media together do an excellent job of making the teaches look greedy. I am sorry to see that you have taken the bait, hook line and sinker.

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