Injunction Ruling

Click the link below to read the judge’s injunction order.  KEA teachers voted unanimously on Thursday to delay any response to the injunction until Monday at 6 pm, in the hopes that renewed bargaining that begins today will result in a tentative agreement by Monday.  The ball is in the District’s court to end this.

http://www.kentschools.org/images/stories/decision.pdf

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15 Responses to “Injunction Ruling”

  1. Parent of Kent Students Says:

    No, the ball is in everyone’s court to end this. Take your share of responsibility for the situation at hand.

  2. Kent Citizen Says:

    Please remember that the ball is also in your court – to be open-minded and realize that negotiating is a two-way street. You won’t be able to get everything you’re asking for, and neither will they. I hope that both sides can be professional about this process over the next few days.

  3. Kent Teacher Says:

    “KEA teachers voted unanimously on Thursday…”

    How can you say that? We were TOLD by KEA President Lisa Bracken-Johnson that we (the KEA) were going to wait until Monday to make a decision. While I do not disagree with this plan, I am not comfortable with misleading the public with such a statement.

    There was not a vote. Plain and simple. Please be truthful on this and all points.

    • kenteducationassociation Says:

      You may have left early and missed when Lisa called for a vote towards the end of the meeting. The vote was taken by standing, rather than using a ballot. If it was not unanimous, then it was close, because nobody was reported to be sitting when the vote was taken. A vote by standing or raising hands is just as valid under parliamentary procedure as a ballot vote.

      • Response Says:

        I was there, and I WAS sitting. There was not a vote, there was simply a statement made by Lisa that we had already decided (WE didn’t, SHE did), followed by “everyone who agrees please stand.” I do not believe it was a fair vote. I was not the only one there frustrated by this.

        To be clear, I support the union and believe in this strike, but it bothers me greatly when I see bias and exaggeration from the union, and on this blog. Don’t you see: when you exaggerate or misrepresent things it makes you look no better than the administration?

    • Kentlake Mom Says:

      Thank you “Kent Teacher” for stating the truth!!

    • TLT37 Says:

      Hi! We did wind up voting towards the end of the meeting.

    • willyoumeetmeinthemiddle? Says:

      Yeah, 90+% were standing for that vote. It passes in my book.

  4. Raymond Says:

    I hope that you do not make things worse by violating a valid court order. As a parent, I demand that my children respect their teachers. His teacher will vouch that I do not take lightly disrespect or disobedience to his teachers. I will continue to maintain that standard in my home. However, you as teachers need to set the example by following a lawful court order. It is inexcusable for you to continue your strike. You jeopardize your standing in the eyes of your students. Not surprisingly, they look to you as examples of respect for authority. The message if you show a lack of respect for authority in this matter is far worse than the teaching conditions you claim are so horrible. I hope that you will take some time to consider what your actions mean.

    • kenteducationassociation Says:

      The moral and ethical questions aside, there are some other things to consider that were brought up by the WEA lawyers at the meeting Thursday night. I’m not a lawyer, but I’ll try to sum up some of the issues that teachers have to consider.

      If you look at the history of these types of injunctions, as well as the text of the order itself, you will see that defiance is common, and often leads to a short period of intense negotiations that usually ends in a settlement. Additionally, defiance is the best legal option in many cases, as appealing the decision takes months and opens up a whole new set of problems and issues. In general, defiance of these injunctions has not led to jail time for any of the plaintiffs since the 1970’s, and fines against leaders who are defiant are usually lifted once teachers return to work.

      The fact of the matter is that if the strike ends without a settlement, teachers will have lost the best means by which to apply pressure at the bargaining table. A District that already has proven to be nearly immovable in bargaining thus far would have little reason to compromise as a result. This would mean that teachers would either have to accept a bad contract, or work without one. Working without a contract would mean that the status quo would be maintained based upon provisions of the old contract, but any provisions in the previous contract with sunset clauses that ended on August 31, 2009 would be invalid. For Kent teachers, this would mean no Effective Education or Special Projects pay (which would mean thousands of dollars less pay for each teacher), as well as other major consequences.

      The fact of the matter is that a strike is the strongest weapon at the union’s disposal to resolve a contract dispute. Without a contract resolution in hand, Kent teachers would be subject to serious consequences, and the underlying issues of class size and excessive meetings would remain unresolved.

      It’s a lot for teachers to consider, and we don’t take it lightly. Let’s hope that bargaining improves so that this becomes a moot point by Monday night!

    • CounterpointSue Says:

      Raymond,

      I really do not want to defy a court order, but if the time and class size issues are not addressed I will feel the need to protest in the form of civil disobedience. When the leader of the NAACP spoke to us in August, something he said really resonated with me, because it was a clear articulation of something that I have felt to be true for a long time. He said that the achievement gap between Caucasian children and children of color is this generation’s civil rights movement. I believe this is true, and I believe that I have a moral responsibility to do everything I can to set my students up for success. I do not see how I can help narrow and eventually eliminate that wide achievement gap if there is no cap on how many kids can be placed in my middle school classroom (right now, my class average is sitting at 33, with equipment for 25). When I have to attend 3-4 meetings every week in the mornings, I don’t have the time to meet with students on an individual basis so I can help them. Please believe me when I tell you that I really want to help them meet standard and even exceed it, and I know in my heart that I have a professional, ethical, and moral responsibility to stand up for those children and demand that they receive the same opportunities that children in other districts receive–lower class sizes and highly qualified teachers. We’re already losing many highly qualified teachers to other districts because we’re the lowest paid teachers in the region. I don’t believe there’s anything the district can do in this contract settlement that will make them be more competitive with other districts in terms of teacher pay, so that battle has already been lost, at least for the time being (it will take years of consistent work on the part of the district to change this). I do believe that this district can address the class size issues, though, so that children may receive the individualized instruction and attention that they need. That IS a battle that can be won IF the teachers and parents continue to stand firm and demand that the district address the issue. The reality is that Kent parents have been complaining about class sizes for a long time and nothing has happened. It’s now up to the teachers to stand up for the kids because we’re the only ones with the resources and any kind of power to make the district reassess their priorities. You have to admit it–they’re listening now, when they didn’t listen to parents before.

      The conversation I’m having with my own kids about why I’m taking this stand revolves around the civil rights issues that I feel are hiding under the carpet in this whole debate. Nobody has really addressed the fact that the kids that are hurt most by the large class sizes are the children of color, the English Language Learners, and the children of poverty. These are the children (and families) with the least power and the fewest resources available to them. This is my “peaceful protest.”

      Don’t get me wrong though–I’m really praying HARD that I won’t have to go as far as defying a court order. I truly hope that this last chance we’re giving the bargaining teams to come to compromise works. PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE!

      • teacher Says:

        I agree, I do not think this contract can do much as far as bringing us into a more compentitive arena in compensation. Small things can be done to help though, such as taking away the principal directed effective ed. I work those hours anyway and should get paid for them rather than losing that pay if my schedule does not work with the meetings. If we don’t go to those meetings we don’t get the money attatched to it. Taking the restrictions off of those hours will also help with our time issues. Less meetings to try and fit in. That won’t cost the district anything.

        I do think that time and workload can be addressed and improved in this contract.

        Sue brings up a very good point about the minority students, students of poverty, & SPED. We are standing up and fighting for those kids. It is my moral obligation to help these kids. They depend on me. For a lot of them, I am the only one that fights for them. I can’t let them down.

  5. Joe the Watchodg Says:

    Just a few thoughts as a Washingtonian not living in Kent School District:

    #1. Generally, until the strike threat, I err on the side of fiscal responsibility, then teachers. But once threat to break law issued, this semi-conservative taxpayer flips sides.

    #2. I tend to think the law is the law and you don’t flip off the judge. Also telling yours and my superhero Attorney General (see AGO 2006 No 3 yourselves) where to get off is a good way to get some Janelle and the right wing all yee-haw. Are you guys ready to go to jail & bankrupt over this, and endanger your next levy?

    #3. Wouldn’t the best thing be to go back to work under heavy protest with the current contract in place for almost a year? That’s what Marysville did – see http://community.seattletimes.nwsource.com/archive/?date=20031021&slug=marysville21m Oh and they got a new school board come election time. Might also want to see also RCW 41.56.123 too.

    Best of luck, YOU’LL NEED IT.

    • kenteducationassociation Says:

      What happened to Marysville was that the community was torn apart. The sides were so far apart that a mediator, an injunction, etc. were unable to change things. In talking to Marysville teachers who participated in that strike, they will tell you that bargaining is the goal. That’s why we held off on any decision about following or defying the injunction until Monday. NOBODY wants to defy a judge, especially teachers who take their moral and ethical codes very seriously. If a decision to defy is made by the membership, it will be difficult, it will alienate many, and it will have far-reaching consequences.

      • Joe the Watchodg Says:

        Thank you for that. I strongly urge the membership to obey the judge and seek other avenues to resolve the situation, up to and including litigation as well as requesting a higher levy amount.

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