KEA Teachers Vote To Remain On Strike

After a passionate and heartfelt debate, KEA teachers voted to continue their strike at Monday’s General Membership Meeting.   Previously, in response to last Thursday’s injunction order, Kent teachers had voted t0 delay action for four more days in the hopes that additional bargaining might be able to produce a tentative agreement.  Signs of hope seemed to appear Friday when Superintendent Vargas and School Board President Berrios met with a small contingent of Kent teachers and concerned parents.   However, tonight came with no tentative agreement reached yet.   As a result, the approximately 1400 KEA members in attendance voted 74% in favor to 26% against defying the injunction.  Teachers will, therefore, be back on the picket lines on Tuesday morning, and KEA’s Bargaining Team will return to the table to continue to work towards a resolution. 

At the start of tonight’s meeting, KEA’s Chief Negotiator Mike McNett outlined how the teams had been unable thus far to reach an agreement.  Some movement, he said, had been made on the issue of meetings, but the District had waited from Friday afternoon until Monday morning to respond to KEA’s latest class size proposals.  On this issue, it seems, the parties are still far apart.  McNett answered several questions by KEA members by providing examples of proposals that had been offered, and how KEA’s team had worked toward compromise in several areas.  Following the bargaining update, members of KEA’s Executive Board put forth a motion to continue the strike.  Many speakers came to the microphone to speak for or against the motion, or to ask questions of KEA President Lisa Brackin-Johnson, the Bargaining Team, or WEA’s legal team.  After an extended period of emotional and thoughtful discussion, a motion was made to suspend debate and vote on the motion, which was almost unanimously approved by standing vote.  Members then cast their votes via paper ballot.

Prior to the meeting, a large contingent of parents stood outside the meeting location at GRCC’s gymnasium with signs and cheers expressing support for KEA’s members and calling for a quick and fair resolution to the bargaining.

KEA members have been asked to again picket in front of their work locations on Tuesday morning for the first three hours of their contracted day.  Afterwards, picket captains will meet at the KEA office at noon to find out the schedule of planned events for the remainder of the week.   Strike signs were confirmed as being OK for the picket line.

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147 Responses to “KEA Teachers Vote To Remain On Strike”

  1. Another Kent Parent Says:

    How very disappointing….perhaps you can tell my first grader who just wants to go to school why she cannot. She’s had her backpack and school clothes set out for a week and cannot wait to go and meet her classmates. I’ve lost faith that either the district or the union is really even trying to compromise…sounds to me like you both want it your way.

    • EducationMom Says:

      The Kent teachers are taking a longer view in terms of what is best for students and families in the Kent District. Eroding teacher planning time will, in the long run, hurt both teachers and students. I applaud the Kent teachers for standing firm; they are setting a good example for students in terms of standing up for important principles. Peaceful protest and peaceful civil disobedience are important tools in our democratic society. The injunction was too readily employed by both the district and the judge and, if it stands without protest, erodes the teachers’ ability to fight for quality education and to have a say in their working conditions.

    • NotateacherbutstillKEA Says:

      Perhaps you can tell your first grader, that while it is disappointing for her and lots of children, this is FOR and ABOUT HER and her classmates. Perhaps if we succeed in this endeavor, she won’t have 28 children in her second grade class! Perhaps her teacher will actually have time to help her with something she is struggling with. Perhaps she won’t have 35 in middle school math, and 40 in chemistry in high school.
      It’s important for kids to learn this lesson too – sometimes we have to wait for things that are good. And sometimes life is full of disappointment. And in this case, it’s about something bigger than getting to wear our new clothes.

    • Anonymous Says:

      I’m sorry, with the current class sizes I will have no time to explain to her why she cannot come to school, nor will I have time to help her with anything else.

    • Kent Parent says: Says:

      I am a long time parent of students of the KSD and continue to have children in the district. I have always supported teachers, PTSA and our school property tax levys. I also support the fact that our teachers more time with students and smaller class sizes. However, in this situation I disagree with the strike. Teachers need to go back to work now! Teachers don’t seem to understand the long term consequences of their actions. The district and hence the union will not get community support for levys in the future. You run a direct risk of having future lay-off’s and more work for you. Take a look at what happened to Boeing with the machinists union.
      I also disagree with such a blatent disregard for the law. You are setting a poor example of how to deal with conflict.
      I work in the private sector and I can tell you that everyone is taking paycuts and a reduction in benefits on all fronts, including the lay offs.
      Teachers need to get to work in the classroom and if they dont enjoy their job they need to find a new one.

      • KSD supporter Says:

        I understand that many parents are fustrated with not sending their kids back to work. There is one thing you need to understand about teachers and that is EVERYTHING WE DO, WE DO IT FOR YOUR KIDS. Teachers don’t get pain for being up till 3 or 4 am on a friday night doing report card comments for every child in a case of 30 students. Teachers stay late after school to help kids understand an assignment because they could not hear over the other 30 KIDS in the classroom. Parents need to take a step back and look at their child classroom and decide if there are too many kids for one teacher to handle ALONE. When you offer to Champerone a clas trip look at how many parent volunteers it takes in order to JUST GET ON THE BUS. Then ask yourself why we expect one person to be in charge of 30 kids for 180-190 days during the school year for 6-8 hours a day Monday through Friday. If that doesn’t do it for you then ask yourself would I be able to handle 25 Kindergarders alone for 4 hours? If you still don’t understand than maybe you should sit in on a classroom and see what happens in a room of 30 kids when one or two or 1/2 dozen are fustrated and the teacher has no choice but to try to quickly explain and move on because the rest of the class understands and she/he doesn’t want an entire classroom of fustrated kids. When you understand all that then come back on line and tell the teacher they’re wrong for wnating smaller classrooms in order to be able to give your child the attention she/he needs.

  2. Anonymous Says:

    Go back to work!!! Unemployment is at 9.8%! You have a job!!! Be glad!!! Then when things are better come back and look for more money! You look like a bunch of spoiled kids wanting more money from your parents!!!!

    • tammy2shoes Says:

      The strike was never about the money! We are not even asking for more money!

    • NotateacherbutstillKEA Says:

      Can you seriously still think this is about money??? The issue that is keeping this strike from being settled is CLASS SIZE!!! With the compensation package that is being offered, we will continue to be some of the lowest paid teachers in Puget Sound! We are letting go of any significant raise in lieu of more money being available to lower class sizes. This is what it is about – YOUR CHILDREN and how much time their teachers have to spend with them!!
      And don’t be fooled – the district HAS the money – they are just not willing to spend it.

    • Anonymous Says:

      If you had been paying attention, you would know that we are not fighting for pay for ourselves. We are fighting for YOUR children and the education that they should be receiving, but aren’t because there are too many children in their class. If you really cared about your children’s education, you’d be supporting us like most parents are.

      • BeForReal Says:

        Hey Anonymous! Learn to READ, from what I can read of all the posts, MOST parents are not supporting the teachers. Not to mention, ask anyone who is willing to be honest, they too would tell you that the teachers defiant behavior is unacceptable.

    • true transparency Says:

      Spoiled kids you say? What about the greedy administrators in this district that make enormous wages!! Those are the ones enjoying your tax $. Just call the district and ask for info on how much all the people up at the district make and see how many ‘extra’ positions have been created so they can have everything comfortable for them.

      Just to inform you, the reason we have to strike now is because this is the year the full contract expires and is up for re-negotiation.

      You may also want to know that the district has stonewalled KEA since April. KEA initiated bargaining sessions in APRIL and KSD constantly gave excuses as to why they couldn’t meet: didn’t want to stay after work late; already had 1 late evening with work involved………
      Give me a break – most teachers work late every single night – either at school or at home. They have repeatedly showed up without people that have ‘final authority’ approval until this summer. KEA wanted this settled before school got out last June but the administrators continued to procrastinate. It is KSD administrators you should be addressing.

    • covingtonguy Says:

      Anonymous,
      A little further research of the unemployment rate and you will find that for the 39 million people who hold a 4 year college degree (all teachers) the unemployment rate is around 4.1% . I could not find current unemployment stats for those who hold masters degree however older data suggests is is about 1% lower than those with only a undergraduate degree. I am sure some of Kent’s teachers hold a masters degree.

      I am not suggesting that these teachers are irreplaceable, or have a guaranteed job, just that getting the facts correct might make for a more realistic discussion of the issues.

  3. KentMom Says:

    I’m disappointed that the teachers voted to continue to strike. What example are you setting for your students? That it is OK to defy a court order when you are passionate about your beliefs? What happens when one of your students defies a project due date? What is your recourse since the example you’ve now set is this?

    I happen to agree with your stand on class size, but logistically how are the administrators supposed to reduce class size? Is there space in your school to set up another class or 4 classes? Where are the addtional students to go?

    I want my daughter back in school. Not because I view school as a babysitter, but because her education is important to me. She wants to be back in school. I know that the days will be made up; that she will have the same eduacation if she starts next month or tomorrow.

    I understand that if the teachers return to work and obey the injunction they loose their bargaining tool. My daughter’s education is not your tool, it’s her right.

    • Kent Teacher Says:

      To all of you parents who are angry and frustrated that your kids are not back in school, please know that teachers are also angry and frustrated. We love our kids and are eager to return to the classroom. This strike is not and has never been focused on money for ourselves but for smaller class sizes for YOUR kids so that we can provide the quality education they deserve. Your anger is misplaced…we are on your side…we are teachers in Kent and many of us are parents of children who attend school in Kent. What you should be angry about is the way the school district has disrespected you. KSD has put dishonest information on their website regarding class size and in court they asked the judge to bar your right to assemble which she of course denied. Parents have been lied to and locked out of the PUBLIC school board meetings and met by police as they tried to enter that Public building. KSD has refused to put a cap on class size limit. How is that good for kids? You obviously care about your child’s education. Do you really want your kids in over crowded classrooms where teachers have so many administrative tasks and obligations that their ability to give your child individual time and attention is greatly impacted? If we go back into the classroom without a fair contract, we will lose our ability to stand up for your kids. It has been over 30 years since this district has been involved in a strike. Because I am also a parent, I do understand how difficult it is not knowing exactly when school will begin. I have heard people complain about not having child care and while I truly sympathize with that difficult issue, I am not your child’s babysitter. I am your child’s teacher and I am responsible for providing individualized quality instruction for all of my students. Choosing to defy the order was not an easy choice. When your child asks why, you can tell them their teacher loves them and cares deeply about the quality of their education. This will be worked out and school will begin. I urge you to contact Dr. Vargas. Tell him you want him to fix the problem of over crowded classrooms because your child deserves the best. They have a $21 million dollar surplus and a budget to hire 48 more teachers…they can afford this and we are not asking for anything more than other surrounding districts already have. We are the 4th largest district in the state. Don’t your kids deserve the best?

    • libby3725 Says:

      Where would the US be today if people like Martin Luther King Jr. had stood back and not broken laws?

      • Supporter of reason Says:

        Please don’t compare this strike to MLK Jr. I teach technical classes to adults and am in complete agreement that smaller classs sizes are beneficial to the student and instructor. In this case the students have someone to stand up for them, they are called parents and if the classroom conditions are acceptable to them, who are the teachers to disagree and strike. Also having been on the admin side of things, saying the district is sitting on $21 million is not exactly accurate. It’s unfortunate that negotiations are happening in a bad economy, but most public employees are faced with making less money next year with fewer people and are expected to maintain their current workload plus make up for the coworkers they no longer have. Having money to fall back on is not a bad thing. What happens if things get worse next year, do we really want to end up in the same mess the Seattle School District is in? The district has a responsibility to the parents and kids and depleating a surplus in bad economic times is not fiscally responsible.

  4. irritatedparent Says:

    I think what you are doing is setting a horrible example to our kids. Regardless of your passion of what you feel is right, from the students perspective they see you differently than you see yourself. Also what about the 1100 other district employees? Do you not see the harm you are doing to their families keeping them out of work? And to the low income kids and special needs kids that really need to be in school? There are kids starving because they do not get that one or two good meals a day. Do you really care about the kids? There is a bigger picture than your own world.

    I have been looking everywhere for your proposals and cannot find exactly what your demand is. Smaller class size? How small? When do you want this done? How long do expect to hold school hostage? When I go to KSDs site its all there. Maybe you should make what you are trying to achieve more clear here. My children have never had more than 28 kids in their classes. AND they always had parent volunteers and teachers aides. All we as parents are seeing is your selfish desires that see to put your own needs above that of others. While you are getting a raise there are people out of work, or that have taken pay cuts while you are forcing them to find daycare for their children longer than budgeted.

    Now when you go back to school and you have children scoff at your requests to behave and continue to have poor behavior I believe most parents will tell you that is the example you are setting for our children. You are teaching them its ok to defy authority. Thanks. Now us as parents have to worry about the kind of people that will be teaching our children.

    The children are waiting on you. Kids don’t like waiting.

    • rupert Says:

      Understand that last night’s decision was not an easy one. Many tears were shed as teachers shared their opinions about what our next steps should be. Teachers are not taking this lightly, nor are we smug about it, as some of these posts suggest.

      There are a lot of assumptions made in your blog, and I feel they need to be addressed because these rumors and inaccurate information do no one any good.

      1)”What about the 1100 other district employees?” They will be paid the same as they always have, because they have to work a certain number of days according to their contracts–just like us. They are not losing money.

      2)”There are kids starving because they don’t get those one or two good meals a day” Not true. The programs that feed these kids at the schools are in full swing and these students are being fed. So they are not starving because of a lack of school lunches/breakfasts.

      3)”When I go to KSDs site it’s all there.” Now I would agree with you that the KEA needs to get more information out to the public, but understand that the KEA does not have the finances nor resources that the KSD does. Vargas has spent over $39,000 on mailings–doesn’t that bother you? That’s one teacher’s pay right there. The $39,000 figure was BEFORE the KSD send out the letters and blue postcards stating the school would start on the 9th. So who knows how much he’s spent now? Even though I have only one child in the district I recieved double mailings of everything. . .seems to be a bit of a waste.

      We teachers do not have access to personal student information such as addresses right now. Even if we wanted to send a letter home to parents that’s impossible. The district has been using your personal information to send propoganda, and if you read Rep. Geoff Simpson’s letter to the district (you can find it on kentschools.org) he is extremely displeased with the district for using your personal information.

      What propaganda you may ask? Well, the fact that the district sent home letters and postcards this weekend is an example. The district knew that we had not decided what our next steps would be, and they took advantage of the time period and sent out the letters stating school would start on the 9th. They knew that by doing this it would get your hopes up and then if we voted to continue the strike you would be even more angry with us. It’s a clever smearing campaign that has successfully riled up the public. The sad part is that when the teachers met on Thursday night (after the injunction had been announced), there were quite a few teachers who wanted to go ahead and vote on the spot to continue the strike. We said no to that because we wanted to bargain in good faith and give the KSD the extended weekend to bargain and come up with a contract. Instead, the KSD took advantage of our goodwill and set us up.

      4) You are extremely fortunate if your children have never had more than 28 students/class and lots of parent/teacher aide help. There are some schools (usually in the wealthier areas) that have this kind of support and it’s wonderful! However, that is not the status quo across the district. A huge disparity exists between each school building, and there is no equity to ensure that each school building has the same amount of support. Count yourself blessed if your children have had those kind of school conditions, believe me.

      5)”While you are getting a raise. . .” Are we? That’s news to me. I think the general public assumes we are getting a raise, but that’s on the bargaining table. No contract=no raise. . .It’s possible that we won’t get a raise at all–who knows?

      6)”You are teaching them to defy authority.” Now here is what we call a teachable moment. Your personal value system is your own, and my point here is NOT to tell you what to teach your children, but there are 2 very important issues here that would well be worth your time discussing with your children:
      a) Your children are not 18 years of age yet. Big difference between adults and minors legally. Even the justice system has created “juvie” court for kids. One can vote when they’re 18, and in a court of law they’re considered “adult status” (now whether or not we think our 18 year olds are really adults is another story!), so when they are voting adults then they have to grapple with point b:
      b) Is doing what is right always following the law? The number of possible responses to this question is HUGE! And–as I stated earlier–I’m not here to tell you what to tell your kids. You need to make up your own mind and have a talk with them about it. But think back through history at the number of people who have “broken the laws” of their respective countries in order to help people.

      We are all frustrated and tired. No teachers are going around giving each other high 5s and doing a victory dance because of this. We simply want a fair contract–that ultimately will benefit your children as well.

    • future national board certified teacher Says:

      While I feel your frustration, I’d like to be back at work teaching, I see the futility of continuing to teach in the conditions I have during the past few years.

      I’ve taught once in a class size that met the requirements for optimum learning: 18-24 kids to one adult. Every child made reading and writing gains in just the 10 weeks my numbers got that low. (In another district).

      Currently, I feel like a hamster on a wheel. I work hard every day, but get no where. I can’t do anything other than provide babysitting services if the number of kids in my classroom remains as high as it has been.
      I’m with all of you: let’s get kids in school and teachers back to doing what they do so well.

      Call the superintendent’s office and ask that the district do what it needs to to meet us in the middle. The discussion about this contract has been on the table since the spring, but the first offer the district even made didn’t come until July. Put the pressure on!

      • irritatedparent Says:

        We all work hard at our jobs. They are our jobs and how we support our families. Is that what you are telling the 1000 other KSD employees that are not getting paid but will see no benefit of a pay raise once this is over?

        I personally had to take a $300 a week pay cut this year. And no I do not need the school to babysit for me like these teachers keep saying. That is insulting, VERY insulting. You are not there to babysit you are there to teach but you don’t seem to be doing that at the moment either. My kids are in highcap and honors classes and WANT to go to school. My son is worried if school stays out much longer that it could affect everything from when the semester ends to other classes he has to take in the future. How much will be crammed into one semester? How is this going to affect the senior class? They may not be able to graduate till July.

        What about the flood that is supposed to happen and how many days lost of school with that bring?

        Oh and trust me I have contacted the KSD because I blame both sides for this mess. I have called them many times over the years with complaints of things from the crappy transportation (told no money to bus and kids must walk miles back and forth to school) AND no lockers at the middle school for the kids that have to walk 2 miles with all their books. Those are where we should be spending some money. That is a safety thing. Is THAT in your proposals? That would be FOR the kids.

        Bottom line there is not going to be some miracle and from where I sit this strike will be going on for months at the rate its going. There is only so much money there and if you can get the administrators to take a pay cut well then good luck with that.

      • kenteducationassociation Says:

        Seattle starts today, as do many other districts across the state. Your child is guaranteed 180 days of school, so his classes and learning may be delayed, but will not be altered. This will not affect your child’s graduation date or college admissions. Teachers are insulted when people insinuate that we are babysitters, and have been defending ourselves, not the other way around. We cannot plan for natural disasters that have not yet and may not ever happen. The biggest thing KEA is to blame for is not taking a stand sooner. I think that pretty much sums up all the things that are we have consistently had to refute on this blog that you have brought up. If this seems a bit blunt or rude, I’m sorry, but when you read the same attacks over and over again, it is depressing to know that people really think that teachers are just greedy and self centered.

    • teachersarenottheenemy Says:

      Irritatedparent:
      Look up “Civil Disobedience.” It may help you explain the teachers’ choice to your daughter.
      P.S. The district’s lunch bus program continues during the strike.
      P.P.S. Not all of the district’s information has been correct on their website. Many of the class size numbers were missing two to five kids. Should the district refund our tax dollars since they are reporting less children?
      P.P.P.S. Has your doctor taken a pay cut?

  5. Charles Allen Says:

    THANK YOU FOR STAYING ON STRIKE!! THANK YOU FOR PUTTING OUR CHILDREN FIRST!! THANK YOU FOR NOT GIVING IN TO AN ADMINISTRATION WHO PUTS POLITICS AND MONEY BEFORE OUR CHILDREN!!
    I wanted you to know that the above comments are not in the majority of parents. They do not indicate the sentiment that for those of us who follow the issue, and think it is obvious that the Kent School District is dragging their feet, and throwing in a myriad of other tactics to obfuscate and lie to the public, and its unfortunate that some choose to believe them instead of educate themselves on the issues. Believe me I am a parent, I want my kids back in school as well. I have two of kids in the district, one at KM and one at Mill Creek. I do not want however the continued tyranny of ever increasing numbers that only serve to reduce classroom education to crowd control and reduce teachers to servants of an out of touch administration who uses valuable time to justify their jobs. Do not give in, Do not give up. I and many others support you!!

  6. Ron Says:

    I agree with all that is posted above. First of all look at the economy, the jobless rate, and know that we are in a recession. second, I as a parent, have a job, I dont make near enuf, did i get a cost of living raise this year? NO. do i have to deal with less customers on my job? NO. my point is this.. stop your strike. It has been ordered illegal by a judge, if you dont go back to work, I am all for fireing all your asses and teaching my kid at home. oh and if its illegal, you should all spend a weekend in jail, defying a judge.

  7. Anonymous Says:

    Stay strong teachers! Thanks for standing up for our kids and quality education – and teaching our kids to stand up for what they believe! You all are the BEST!

  8. Supporting my kids by supporting our teachers Says:

    I think that all of the angry parents need to look at the history of this current action. It appears as if the district has been draging its feet to get to this piont where the teachers are basically forced to break the law in order to stand up for what they believe in.

    If anyone is to blame this morning it is the Distict for twice waiting several days to respond to the KEAs proposals.
    This is not barganing in “good faith”.
    This is the district wasting my children’t time.

  9. Lech Walesa Says:

    Why do you continue to overstate the support you supposedly have from parents? There were, at best, just a little over 100 parents there last night. There are 40,000 some parents in the district. You don’t even get 1% showing up at the rallies. Talk about misinformation.

  10. Momx4 Says:

    I think that what the teachers are doing, is an excellent example to children and a wonderful opportunity for parents to help their children understand that sometimes doing what you believe is right, is hard and unpopular. After all, don’t we want our children to stand by their moral convictions even in the face of intense criticism and pressure?

    I do not believe that children will learn that they do not have to respect authority unless that is what parents choose to tell them. Instead, I’m talking to my sons about examples in history where people stood up for what was right, even when the “laws” did not support their actions. Where would we be without thoughtful and brave individuals who stood up against injustice? Our nation was founded on this very idea!

    I would love to have my children in school. I have a son who was supposed to start Kindergarten. He is sad, and so am I. However, if I trust Kent teachers to care for my children each day, I also trust them to do what they need to do and to follow their convictions. My children have been well-served by Kent teachers. For that, I owe them my respect and support.

  11. MyKidIsNotYourPawn Says:

    I am truly disappointed in our Kent teachers and I wish more parents had the courage to say so. I know you say parent support is growing, but I have yet to have a conversation with a parent that is behind this latest decision. Yes 100 parents showed up in support, and maybe 200 at the rally – ok so that is maybe 1 or 2% of KSD parents. Which means 98% did not show up in support.
    The latest decision sets a ridiculous example for our children. I hope you are all ready to let our kids break the rules at school now, because if they believe strongly enough in their reason they should be able to do it, right? Ridiculous.
    There are many teachers out of work right now, laid off from other districts (and ours) last year that would gladly take your place. If you don’t like your employer, like many other workers across the country, go and be free! But stop setting a poor example for my student and stop using our kids as pawns in your silly game.

  12. respectless Says:

    You are setting a poor example to the students.

    I have friends that have lost their jobs and are still looking for work months later. I have other friends that are required to take furlough days. And at my own job, we have all taken a cut in pay.

    You, on the other hand, not only still have a job, but you are demanding pay increases. In addition to the pay increases, you also want to work less time. Your strike is a spit in the face to all those people who have been unable to find work since being laid off from their former jobs.

    I understand you want smaller class sizes, too, but from what I can understand from looking at some of the documents, you’re squabbling over 1. There are more documents pertaining to how much time you work and how much money you get than there is how many students you have in your class.

    That is what started my lack of respect for teachers.

    But the final straw is: the courts have ordered you to go back to work, and you are choosing to defy the court order.

    That shows that the teachers have no respect for authority.

    I have no respect for you.

  13. Kentlake Parent Says:

    I totally agree with “Another Kent Parent”, “Anonymous”, “Kent Mom” and “Irritated Parent”. Those responses convey what 99% of the parents would like to say. I say 99%, because you still have that VERY small percentage that is still supporting you. We, as parents are tired of all this and want our kids back in school. Almost every teacher that I have seen interviewed by the news media states “we are doing this for the kids”. If you are truly doing this for the kids, you would have come to some kind of compromise by now and school would have started. Stop thinking about yourselves for a change and start thinking about what truly matters….our kids!!

    I would love to see an answer about how you teachers are going to deal with the “defiant” children. You, as educators and role models should know better!! Our children watch the news and see what is going on. What an example you are setting for them!! Unbelievable!! I even saw one male teacher (who also used to be my son’s football coach) make a statement about “going to jail”. Sure, he was laughing about it and said it in a jokingly manner, however, what does that say to our kids? Again, I say UNBELIEVABLE!!

    Put down the picket signs and start setting up your classrooms so that our kids can get the education that they deserve!!

  14. question Says:

    Three hours of picketing? You should be picketing 7 am to 7 pm. Use the alphabet to divide up into 4 groups, 3 hours each, rotate forward each day. Encourage people to arrive early, stay late, but commit to a three hour shift per day. It is more important to have the picketing many hours per day, rather than many people at a time. Perhaps that is the plan, but I was suprised to see only three hours of picketing today. I figure you already have picket cap’ns who would be the only ones needed to pull from the line

  15. john wasierski Says:

    This comment deleted per violation of blog policy for personal attacks.

  16. Vancouverteacher Says:

    I thought I would comment on the previous parent comments. I am not a Kent teacher, but I do work for the Vancouver School District in Vancouver, WA. Just to give you some perspective…the Kent Teachers want a 28 student cap in grades 1-3. Our student cap in grades 1-3 is 24, and the KSD is proposing a cap of 29. This is five more students than we allow down here. Don’t you want your schools to be competitive? Also, while parent volunteers are very helpful, they are not allowed, by law, to take small groups of kids or work with individual kids. I am not a parent, but I am an aunt of a niece in the Seattle area. If she was going to be in a 1st grade class of 28 or 29, I would recommend my sister enroll her elsewhere. Stop being so negative and support your teachers!

  17. Steve Says:

    While I understand kids want to get back into the classroom, just like my kids do, they are capable of understanding the benefits of waiting.

    Some of the impatient parents seem to be suggesting that since a five or ten year old is not able to show the same patience as an adult, the teachers should give in. Really, five year old kids should decide when enough is enough??

    Come on.

    The issues on the table are class size, time, and to a lesser extent, compensation. Do your research. Go to the KSD site or http://www.kentschools.org

    Kent Area PTA Council and other impatient parents:

    I want to hear your arguments for why classes of 30 to 40 students are a good idea. Does every other district in the area have money for smaller classes but KSD? Really? You know that for a fact?

    I want to hear your arguments for why Kent teachers should remain the lowest paid. And “be glad you have a job” is not an answer. Otherwise you would have to argue for the massive pay cuts KSD originally offered. Or maybe they should just take minimum wage and be happy?
    Does every other district in the area have money for better pay but KSD? Really? You know that for a fact?

    Finally, argue why you are in favor of teachers missing out on massive amounts of time with students.

    What kind of example are the teachers setting? They are teaching kids to argue the points. Courage for standing up for what’s right. And persistence in meeting goals.

    Argue the points. I feel bad for your five year old having to wait for school to start. But “my five year old’s clothes have been sitting on the bed for a week” is not good enough.

    Remember, patience is a virtue, too.

    P.S. My eleven year old daughter says, “If you have a special needs kid, would you rather the teacher have no time to meet with them instead of delaying the start of school a few days? It’s not like kids are missing any days of school. Teachers will make up the time. I have faith in my teachers 100%.”

  18. Sheri Says:

    Not all parents feel like the above comments. I don’t. I am grateful that you are working hard to achieve a better standard of education for KSD. I will be horrified if parents tell their kids that it is understandable that they disobey school deadlines and disrespect teachers, since they have accused their teachers of setting that example! These teachers are doing what 74% of them believe is best for your kids! They are not being paid for their fight; they are being bashed in the media, on the internet, over the phone, face-to-face, and they are the people that on some, if not most, days spend more time with your children than you do. It’s such a bummer that we take license to attack in this way. We can disagree, we can stand up for what we believe in, we can rally, we can write, we can get the message out, but can we PLEASE refrain from personal attacks or generalizations about character?

    I, too, have kids that want to get back to school. It’s my job to be discussing this with them, helping them understand that civil disobedience is part of our nation’s history, and reaffirming that education is a privilege and a gift, not a right.

    And in response to “The children are waiting on you. Kids don’t like waiting.” Patience is a great attribute and it is learned/taught.

  19. Parent of Kent Students Says:

    It is time for the administration and the teachers to agree to continue working out an agreement and put the kids back in school. Flying in the face of a court order to prove a point is a horrible example. If the kids really are the priority, then swallow your pride and get back to school. I am not without sensitivity to the teacher’s situation; however, the price is too costly relative to the demands. Let’s get our eyes back on the ball and get these kids back to school.

    When my child asked why the teachers didn’t go back to school after the court order, I had to say they chose to break the law. Every teacher will have to answer to the students for the decisions they make. The worst thing you can be to a kid is a hypocrite, so remember you are sowing all the seeds you will be reaping for the next school year. Good luck with showing them the difference between you not following a judge’s orders and a kid not following your orders. I, for one, am interested in hearing what the teachers will have to say or themselves.

    • teachersarenottheenemy Says:

      I will have NO problem explaining why I chose to partake in the strike. Civil disobedience is a non-violent way to right a wrong. It is WRONG the KSD can allow so many kids in one class. Perhaps the problem is not in your school…you are lucky. Some schools are busting at the seems and have 34+ kids per class. Is that okay with you?? It’s not with me as a parent OR teacher. Good luck tutoring your child because his/her teacher is unable to give the help s/he deserves. Don’t you get it?? We are doing this for YOUR kids and mine.

  20. Parent Here... Says:

    My family is glad you voted to defy the court order! We are proud of you all for standing up to the district. See you on the picket line!

  21. Cici Says:

    I understand many of your requests – I come in and do contract work for the district and all is not perfect for me either – my workload is VERY high; I decided to stay here for many reasons, and am not going to complain and go out on strike -of course I’d be fired if I did that. If I were as unhappy as you all seem to be – look and go elsewhere for work. That’s the problem, many of you can’t find a job elsewhere and now we’re stuck with unhappy school staff that are striking and holding other employees hostage and our children as well!!!!

    Many staff told me last year of their intentions to strike…..this is nothing new people —-

    Please go back to work for all of us; our community, the children you claim to care about and yourselves……

  22. parentwhovolunteers Says:

    I hope all that are expressing their being unhappy have written to those who are at the root cause of the issues with KSD:

    1) the State (Gregoire) – for not funding schools properly (KSD gets the shorter end of the stick compared to other districts)
    http://www.governor.wa.gov/contact/default.asp

    2) KSD Board of Directors – for letting known problems (some of the lowest paid teachers compared to other districts, yet highest paid administrators – not limiting class sizes and recognizing extra workloads with the diverse students in KSD – allowing meetings to balloon)
    KentBoard@kent.k12.wa.us

    3) KSD Administration, Dr. Vargas – for all of the above, also – why are their salaries the highest, yet those who directly impact our kids – teachers- are some of the lowest?)
    Edward.Vargas@kent.k12.wa.us

    I am leaving the legalities of teacher strikes to the courts (but yes, our history is full of examples of those who went against laws, Rosa Parks anyone?). Also, these problems have been known for years, KSD Admin. and the State need to do their jobs better for our kids – it feels as though they have failed (maybe the Admin. folks should take a paycut for poor performance?).

  23. Parent of Kent Students Says:

    Further, I just read on the kent school district website that more early release and late start days are being added to the schedule. If the teachers want more time with students, why on earth are you entertaining limiting student time at school????? I am no longer sensitive to teacher’s demands, I am now angry!

    Here is some math: Let’s say teachers work, on average, a 70 hour work week when school is in session. School is 180 days and to be fair, let’s say they work an additional 20 days that school isn’t in session. So, that is 200 days. That 200 divided by 7 is 29 weeks (rounded up). Multiply 29 by 70 hours equals 2030 hours. That is one week less than a full time job.
    A job has its good and bad aspects and sometimes we have to work long hours, attend 5 meetings a week and work from sun up to sun down. Remind me not to hire a former Kent teacher, as I will know the work ethic isn’t there.

  24. Tuvok Says:

    I would really appreciate the KEA posting both updated proposals on kentschools.org and this blog. Right now the KSD seems to be the only place we can find the updated KEA and KSD proposals. I believe the KEA needs to do a better job of informing the community. Please post up to date proposals on both of your websites AND make it easy to or people to find.

  25. At A Loss Says:

    I am at a loss as to what is really going on with these negotiations. I think most of the public is as well. What I think is necessary is for both sides to tell the rest of us exactly what the issues are that each side is attempting to work through.

    What I have seen and read so far is somewhat contradictory, I read that the teachers are not focused on money issues, but then I read between the lines and see that you are saying that is not the major focus. Times are tough all over right now, budgets are a major topic right now, the Public is not going to be very willing to have taxes raised or have new taxes imposed to cover teacher raises AND hiring new teachers to lower class sizes. There is not enough money to have both. if class size is the big issues then give up having a raise in pay.

    I can not understand why anyone who decided to become a teacher expects to have it both ways, everyone knows it is a hard and often times thankless job, but you knew that pay was always going to be an issue before you became a teacher. The only way you can have lower class sizes is to give up something in return, that is called compromise.

    I like many other parents have had my daycare costs increased because of this strike, and at first I was in support, but now it seems to me that the KEA is the one being most unreasonable in the lack of true negotiating and compromise. The decision to violate a Court order is one that I see in my job everyday. I also see the consequences of that decision,… arrest, incarceration and criminal charges. We should not be teaching children that it is ok to violate the law and court orders just because we WANT something.

    Perhaps the negotiations should be televised, so the taxpayers and parents can see what is really going on in these meetings. Perhaps then some progress might be made and we can begin the school year. I am losing faith that anyone that has anything to do with the public school system, from the federal government on down, truly cares about giving a proper education to our children. We are supposed to be the best nation in the world, yet rank very low in general education, lower than some countries we think of as very poor. There is not any one thing that contributes to this, but a plethora of issues.

    This negotiating needs to start happening, some compromises and sacrifices need to be made now. Our children need their education, they need a good example of how to behave in the real world. I sincerely hope this gets resolved today, and we can get back to what is truly important, the education of our children by teachers that truly care about them.

  26. Teenage Expatriate Says:

    To all the parents worried that this will set a dangerous precedent for their children, I’d like to propose the novel idea that maybe your kids aren’t idiots and are capable of detecting and understanding the reasons for acts of civil disobedience. Also, if your kid is defiant and obnoxious in class, isn’t it quite possible that your child has always been defiant and obnoxious and would be that way with or without some strike “influencing” their behavior?

  27. Devil's Advocate Says:

    If authority is wrong, do you advise your kids to go along with it? But for the older HS kids, children don’t have enough experience to make an informed decision about whether a specific authority has their best interests in mind. Should they always resist authority? No, but blindly following authority isn’t much of a lesson either. A majority of teachers voted to keep striking but don’t forget that your child’s teacher might have been in the minority or didn’t vote during the Monday meeting either.

  28. Ann Says:

    When this all began…I was for the teachers. There is NO doubt you need smaller class sizes, less meetings etc.

    Then the rhetoric started flying, on both sides. As a KSD parent, who knew what to believe.

    I am so disapointed in the teachers decision to defy the judges order!
    What a terrible example to set for our children!
    All laws are to be followed, not just the ones you “want to”. So are you going to let your students “pick and choose” which ones they want to obey?
    What will your explanation be when you’re asked why you broke the law?

    It seems to me that the KSD has been in a steady decline…Where has the KEA’s voice been over the past few years? Do you think that since we have a new superintendant, all that has been lost can now be reclaimed?
    Not in this economy and not with the way Washington state funds schools!

    GO back to work and continue the mediation process.
    START rebuilding the respect (of parents and students) you have lost by breaking the law.

  29. Steve Says:

    One more thing as far examples…

    What kind of example is KSD setting?

    Did you know Panther Lake is now slated to start the school year with four classes of 30 kindergarteners each?? THIRTY KINDERGARTENERS in each class.

    Please argue how that is even safe, much less a good environment in which to teach.

    Did you know that due to boundary changes, PL is gaining more than 100 students this year? In a brand new building, they are starting with FOUR PORTABLE classrooms already. These rooms, of course, have no running water and are not full-sized classrooms, either.

    Did you know KSD requested a mediator to help settle such disputes as:

    > raising substitute teacher pay by $0.04 per day?

    > providing boxes and tape for teachers who move from class to class or building to building?

    > letting KEA send reps to their yearly conference, when that was already the practice for the last umpteen years?

    Do you know that the mediator came in after just eleven bargaining meetings – scheduled at the pace of KSD, not KEA.

    Do you know KSD is routinely taking three days to respond to propasals?

    Do you know that KSD was really supposed to bargain on selected issues last year – and the year before – and refused?

    I think what bothers me the most, though, is that KSD – instead of bargaining in good faith – has spent the last several weeks telling the community how greedy teachers are, how they spend our tax dollars with mailers with incomplete information, and post websites with flat-out false information. All their efforts seem to go into winning and making the teachers look bad, instead of resolving the issues.

    Talk about setting a bad example.

  30. KL/CHParent Says:

    I just sent the following message to the school board and the district…

    I have been a parent in the Kent School District for 11 years. I still have 1 student at Kentlake, and 1 student at Cedar Heights. For what it’s worth I am completely appalled with the district as well as the school board. The teachers voiced their concerns loudly and clearly last April. These were valid concerns that prevent them from doing their jobs to the best of their abilities. It is the district (not the teachers) that is *not* looking out for the best interest of the students. I have indeed read the proposals from both sides, and I completely believe the teachers are correct in their decision to hold out for an agreement that better addresses their concerns.

    What disgusts me most is the way the district and Dr. Vargas have vilified the teachers to the community. These teachers are the ones on the front lines of this district who work hard on a daily basis for the children in this community. They did not go into the profession for the money (we all know that).They spend their own money on supplies and continuing education because they care about the children they teach. Teachers sadly do not get enough respect in our society. They have received zero respect from the district throughout the negotiation process, and meanwhile the district has managed to instill that same disrespect for our teachers into much of the community.

    It frustrates and sickens me as I sit here and read all the nasty comments about the Kent teachers on many news sites. Horrible things are being said about these amazing people who are simply taking a stand for the students they teach. They are taking a stand for my children, and for that I applaud them and thank them. It’s about time. Driving a wedge between the community and the teachers will solve nothing in the long run, and yet it seems that the district is doing everything in their power to do just that.

    Yes, I would like my children to go back to school as soon as possible; just as each and every teacher in the district would like to be back in school teaching. However, I want them back teaching my children under a contract that respects them as the professionals they are, and allows them to teach my kids to the best of their ability; not under a court order. Shame on the Kent School District and the Kent School Board for vilifying decent people whose only goal is to properly educate our children.

  31. Anonymous Says:

    So saddened to see the comments made here. We as parents should be behind the teachers. How many of you handle a class room full of kids everyday and love it? How many of you see the light that comes into a childs eye when he/she finally realizes that she is good at something? How many of you come back year after year to teach and spend your weekends in the classroom, your money for the supplies that a district is suppose to pay for? Sure this is bad timing. I would love to send my 9th grader to his first day of high school. Are the teachers the bad guys? Are they truly deserving of jail? Do you realize that not only did the district go to court to get the teachers back to school, they were also trying to get the parents not to be heard?? How many realize that without your teachers there would be a lot less educated people in this world.

  32. tired of this administration Says:

    I have worked on several KSD committees and I have served as a PTSA president for several years in this district and others. I have volunteered in the classrooms and have spent a lot of time on school campuses here. I am not unaware of what is actually happening in the schools. Something needs to change in this district for the future of our students I do support the teachers of the KSD. They work very hard under the conditions they are given to try to provide a quality education, *in spite *of the administration (not because of it).

    For 20 years I have watched the Kent School District deteriorate. It’s time someone stood up to the overpaid administration for the future of the students.
    Why don’t we cut the pay of our administrators (some of the highest paid in the area) and not even give it to our teachers (some of the lowest paid in the Puget Sound area), but instead – use it to put a cap on class sizes. Before you continue to malign the teachers – maybe you should talk to the ones who have hadclasses so full that they could not fit desks in for everyone and students actually had to sit on the floor for class. I wouldn’t want that for any child.
    Any parent of a child in the Kent School District should be supporting what the teachers are doing for the future of the children. They don’t want to be breaking the law – but as I said, someone has to stand up to this administration if this district is to ever turn around and become a district that cares for the students more then the administrators.

  33. KSD Student Says:

    I love and support my teachers!

    You know what? The law isn’t always right or fair. A little civil disobedience goes a long way, and I’m really proud to have such outstanding people as my teachers. I refuse to blindly comply with unjust laws, and I’m glad you do to.

    Kent teachers and the KEA bargaining team are AWESOME!

  34. KSD Student Says:

    *glad you do too.

  35. Karl Says:

    I support the teachers. Teach our kids to stand up for what is right. The legislature has tried to balance the budget by cutting schools and made it illegal to strike when there is no compelling reason for teachers not to strike. Your house will not burn down if the teachers start school a week late. Raise my taxes and cut class sizes like we voted to do.

  36. Imsoirritated -parent of Kentwood Student Says:

    Please, please, and please go back to work. Do not tell me you are doing this for the children – It is my Childs right to an education!!! The unemployment rate is at 9.8%. The state has slashed their budget, state employees have experience ten-day employee furlough days (definition = Pay Cut) – You can’t squeeze blood from a turnip!!! Parents and the Kent community are beginning to turn and become irritated!! The district has given you a raise and help in the classrooms – it is a good start. Parents are begging you – Please compromise and go back to work. And remember the door swings both ways, if you want to teach some where else, GO FOR IT!! I am sure the district can find bright, good and willing teachers from around the state that would like to come and work for Kent.

  37. Parentof2 Says:

    I am so sad to hear that the teachers have chosen to defy the court order and continue with the strike. I understand that you will lose some bargaining power if you return to school but this is not sending a positive message to your students.
    I know that I am not in your shoes and don’t understand all your issues, but from what I am reading on the various websites, the 2 sides aren’t all that far apart. Please try to compromise and get back to teaching.
    I support the teachers 100%, but you are hurting the students now by not getting back to school and teaching them!!!

  38. covingtondad Says:

    Deleted for violation of blog policy against personal attacks.

  39. concerned parent Says:

    I can’t wait until students disobeys a classroom rule. Taking a cue from the teachers, they should just say, “Oh, that rule doesn’t apply to us.” Most of the children — CHILDREN — are more sensible and courteous than that, however, and will do what is expected of them.

    Get back to the classroom and lead by example, you hypocrites! You’re hurting the kids. Many I know who were eager to start school now just dread it.

    Homeschool, anyone?

  40. concerned parent Says:

    By the way, when do I get my check from the union to pay for the child care I now can’t afford?

    • Kent Parent Says:

      Concerned Parent, please send your childcare bill to:

      Dr. Edward Lee Vargas, Superintendent
      Kent School District
      12033 SE 256th Street
      Kent, WA 98030-6503

      But please remember, School is not free daycare, it is a place for children to learn and be educated, something that these teachers are fighting for – Lower class sizes so they can spend the needed time with each student, and less administrative and staff meetings so they can again spend the needed time with each student.

  41. Concerned Citizen Says:

    Keep the faith, people. They’re doing what they think is right for YOUR KIDS and their future, not what’s easiest for them. Lord knows they would rather be working than walking a picket line.

  42. fed up mom Says:

    Kent Students report to school Wednesday with backpacks and signs that read, “Obey the Law, send us our teachers!”

  43. Where's Leadership? Says:

    The Kent School Board is in charge of the district and schools. Jim Berrios is the president of the board.
    Why don’t we know where he stands on the issues ?
    If he can not lead the school board, how can anyone expect him to lead the city as Mayor ?

  44. KentwoodKid Says:

    I whole-heartedly agree with the teachers on their demands for smaller class sizes. One class of mine the previous year had nearly 40 students; the students were sitting on the floors or at make-shift tables against the walls because there weren’t enough desks for eveyone. How are the students supposed to get a good education when a teacher can’t even begin to answer everyone’s questions or work with them one-on-one?

    However, I feel this strike has gone on far longer than needed. Both sides want it their way; they’re NOT negotiating. The whole “my way, or the highway” attitude is starting to get old. So THIS is what you’re setting as an example to your students? Not just the teachers, the administration too! The next time a student gets caught by a teacher passing a note in class, or is asked to give up their cellphone by an administrator, they can simply refuse? Somehow I don’t think that’d go over so well. Both sides get off your high-horses and start compromising! For the students’ sake!

    The students want to go back to school! Summer is over, and it’s hard to believe that we’re nearly a third through September and still not back in the classrooms. Unlike most people think, we WANT to learn. We enjoy seeing our friends everyday and furthering our knowledge. Our schooling sets up our whole future! Please don’t take this away from us. We would rather not be in school until the end of July. Teachers and administrators, PLEASE set aside your petty arguments and start working together to get us back in the classrooms!

    Pretty soon, you might just see the students retaliating too. There are strength in numbers. See the example you set?

  45. Kent Parent Says:

    A new school year is exciting to kids. It’s up to parents to explain the union’s decision to remain on strike with the following reasons.
    1. You will have new friends and see your old ones.
    2. Your teachers will be glad to see you whenever school begins.
    3. Your teachers will have more time to plan lessons and activities.
    4. Adults make choices that are sometimes difficult. You may be doing this, too.
    5. The first day will be an exciting start to the school year.

  46. Teacher Says:

    As a Kent school teacher, I am NOT doing this for the money! I am doing this for the students. I walked out crying last night. It was a very hard decision for all of us to defy the court. I would do anything to be in the classroom with my students. Do you actually think we want to picket? This has been a long time coming. If we don’t do it now it’s only going to get worse. There are a lot of schools that don’t have aides.

    In K-3 the cap is 31 students as for 4-6 and don’t get me started with middle and high school. How do you expect teachers to work with your child? There is NO way with a 1:31 ratio.

    Please get informed at http://kentschools.org/
    This tells you all the information of why we are doing what we are doing.

    It’s not easy on me as a teacher! I WANT to be in school and be at work. I am very blessed to have a job. But, when I have little time for my students, the work load gets bigger and bigger each year, and when I have to take work home with me or I work until 9pm – I make probably $1.00 per hour.

    Thank you!

  47. A mom who supports the teachers Says:

    I can’t believe the parents who don’t support the teachers. These teachers are putting their jobs, freedom and timeon the line to better your childrens futures. This is about more than just having a good time at school, or wanting to bee with friends, they want to be able to teach your kids. Our country was founded by people who belied that our countrys future was worth fighting for, and so tell your kids that the spirt of our country is alive with our Kent teachers. and sometime better things come with hard times.

  48. Long time Parent volunteer Says:

    The kids are still being fed their free lunches. It is all still in place so that can’t be used as a reason that teachers should give in now.

    The other districts somehow have caps of 23-26 kids in kindergarten. KSD has finally agreed that the kindergarten cap can come down from 31 students……..to 29. Anyone who has been in a kindergarten or 1st grade class knows that is too many kids for a teacher to effectively teach.

    Those other districts also somehow pay their teachers enough that they are not on the very bottom of the list. The other districts don’t have administration getting the most pay in the entire area. Why is KSD unable to do what other districts have already figured out how to do?

    Perhaps these issues have never affected your child. That does not mean it is not a problem. The teachers are fighting for what is necessary for ALL the students.

    Kids don’t like to wait. But just like adults, it is useful to learn lessons from life and waiting is one lesson we all have to learn. One lesson is that sometimes it takes short term pain from long term gain.

    Teachers have worked with the district for more than ten years, had commmittees on class size and tried to bargain for nearly a year so that these issues could be solved before school started. The district’s solutions and offers all come with fine print which negates any forward progress for the students and teachers. The districts’ public relations team has your tax money to spend and has put out a lot of misinformation to the public.

    The money is there for the district to use and the administration needs to be willing to use it on students and teachers rather than saving it for administrators to take trips all over the country and even to Spain!!!

    Other districts make it work. KDS can too!

  49. Mom Irate with the District Says:

    To all of the parents who are angry with this decision, I ask you where is your anger at the School District? Why is it OK for our kids to have large class sizes and teachers that are just plain worn out by too many kids and irrelevant meetings? Why is it OK for our teachers to be the worst paid in the area? Why will it be OK for our children to have mediocre teachers in a few years after all the good teachers have left for other districts? Why is it OK that just a mile from my house, in Auburn, there are class size limits? My children are just as worthy of a good education as those in Auburn, Highline, Federal Way, and Sumner where class sizes are lower AND teachers are better paid.

    If other nearby districts can do it, why can’t we? I hear about money all the time, but it looks like we have more money than other neighboring districts. In looking at the budgets over the past few years, it looks like the district usually spends less than it brings in. Perhaps some of that money should be spent instead of building up the rainy-day fund. (I’m not even talking about dipping in to the rainy-day fund, although I also think it is excessive, but to stop adding to it. Last year, the district ADDED $2 million to the fund in the worst recession ever! Don’t tell me that we don’t have money.) Then there is the issue of priorities in the district. How many directors, assistant superintendents, etc. do we possibly need? Cut the bureaucracy (which is incredibly expensive) and put the money back in the classrooms.

    My husband and I, both graduates of Kent schools, are now seriously considering putting our house up for sale so that we can move to a district that values the education of its children. If there are many people like me, beware! Your property values will plummet even further as anyone who can leave Kent will. What kind of education will there be for your children then? Perhaps it doesn’t matter to you since our kids are already at the bottom of priorities in this district, but it matters to me. Perhaps there are some elements of “selfishness” in the teachers’ proposals, but from what I can see, everything they’re asking for will ultimately benefit the kids in the classroom. I guess I’m selfish for wanting that too. If not, does anyone want to buy a remodeled 3-bedroom, 2-bath rambler?

  50. John Says:

    You want respect however, you disrespect the law of a judge for you return to work. You must think the kids and their parents are stupid. Your union has sold you down the river with their self interests. The administration is only doing what the public has charged them to do. You confuse the issue with your retoric. SHow the citizens of your district that your high ideas actually mean something! GO BACK TO WORK and vote to throw out the bums that got you where you are in the first place.

  51. Another Disappointed Kent Parent Says:

    I am compelled to also add my comments here. I have been supportive of the teachers desire to have smaller classes, less meeting, etc. But the longer my children were out of school, the more frustrated I became and the more frustrated my children became. Then, you voted to defy the court order. When that happened, I lost all respect for the teachers. And it will take a lot for you to earn back my respect. I think the teachers need to look at your union leadership and ask, ‘are they really looking out for your best interest?’ I’m guessing they aren’t. They aren’t looking out for my children either. If they really were, my children would be in class today.

  52. Cameron Says:

    Believe it or not, but Vargas will start playing hardball. Defying the court order will only allow Vargas to start replacing teachers. There are plenty of teachers looking for jobs and weeding out the younger/newer teachers will only entice the older teachers to get back to work. This is what will be done if you don’t go back to work. It is funny how you claim it is not about money when there is a 4.5% raise of the next two years on the table and you can’t even agree to that. Get with the economic times and get back to work. Before it’s too late to do that.

  53. Veronica Says:

    I’m proud of the Kent teachers! I am a product of the Kent School District and now a teacher myself in another district. These teachers aren’t fighting for more pay, they are fighting to have more time to help the kids of Kent. We continue to hear that the education is failing kids, well these teachers aren’t willing to let that happen. They are fighting to make education better. Every parent and kid should be out there with them.

  54. pause_a_moment Says:

    I think a lot of the “vocal” parents here are taking their aggravations out on the wrong people. There has been a campaign against teachers since “leave no child behind” which really should have been called “let’s not invest in education and make the teachers accountable for all the failures that result”. This animosity continues to grow by a lot of uninformed and misled people. The bottom line with the KSD is that not enough teachers have been hired to effectively teach your children at least in the expanding poorer districts.

    During times of economic crisis, you shouldn’t attack the workers on the front line but the greedy and stingy people at the top who want to turn you against each other and continue the “blame the teacher” attitude instead of investing in your childrens’ education. The administration would rather use that money to pad their own pockets and spread misinformation about class size numbers and teacher’s salaries to confuse you and get all of your to attack your local teachers. Wake up people – the reason that a lot of you are unemployed is because you have been fooled and turned against each other. You should be thankful that the teachers are trying to get more people off unemployment to give your children better educations as well as putting the money back into your schools.

    A lot of you are so easily duped by the administration’s false campaigns against teachers to not see that it is all a rouse. This is a time when everyone who is struggling for employment and education need to stand by each other for the common people who are trying to ensure their success and the success of your children. Everyone has to make some sacrifices in order to smoke out the people at the top from hoarding and misusing public resources that belong to your children in the classroom. So please stop taking it out on teachers. You don’t see how that is hurting yourself and your children.

  55. Kent Citizen Says:

    Amen to all of the above. What are you doing today to end this thing? I get angrier and angrier every morning I wake up and have to tell my 1st grader that we still don’t know when school will start.

    I have read all proposals. From the looks of it, the District has made progress towards your demands, but you have not budged. Negotiations are a two-way street and right now, you are holding all of us and our children hostage. You say that community support is growing and that so many parents are being so supportive. Well, I think you’re way off base and don’t realize how many of us out here are no longer on your side. Please go back to work.

    • Resolute Says:

      You say we have not budged and I will say that it’s because we have already given up so much that there’s not much else we CAN give up and still make this fight worthwhile. I can’t remember everything on the original proposal list but one thing that killed me that KEA gave up was some extra days off for teachers pursuing their masters degrees. I was already having to take leave without pay for my masters and without that relief I will have to take more. We’ve given up plenty, now it’s the district’s turn to do some real budging, not just pussy footing around the real issues.

      • kenteducationassociation Says:

        The District has sacrificed, too. Don’t forget that their initial proposal was to cut 7 days of our Effective Ed. pay and refuse to continue to add additional funds to our health insurance. Aren’t they being magnanimous and reasonable?

  56. Kent Parent Says:

    I just wanted to how proud of you we are. You are standing up not only for yourselves but for your students and all working families.

    You are setting an excellent example to all children and teaching them exactly what democracy is. If the parent can’t explain that to their children then I guess they have failed as parents.

    The labor movement has made great strides over the years, such as child labor laws, and the 8 hour work day. With out people like you and those that came before you, that are and were willing to fight for what is right, these kids wouldn’t need to worry about going to school, because they would be headed to the factory instead.

    Obviously everyone does not read or listen, so I will spell it out again for them – the issue isn’t monetary – the issues are class size and the amount of time teachers are pulled from their students to sit in administrative and staff meetings.

    They are doing this for your children.

    Hope that resolution is on the horizon and that you are successful in lowering class size and increasing the time you have to spend with the students teaching them.

  57. KentStudent Says:

    It sounds like the approval of KEA is dropping. I used to be on board with the union supporting the teachers, however now defying the injunction is too much. It’s time for us to go back to class. I know the big issue is class sizes, well… In this tough economic times, everyone is getting hit. So teachers need to kind of tuff it out this year, it’s possible to manage that many kids, it’s just difficult.

    I know the district got a letter that said something along the lines of ‘in these tough economic times people are using their reserves to operate at the core. I think we need to do that. Dip in to it a little bit just to give teachers a break…

    However, teachers… It’s a horrible example that you’ve decided to go against a court order to return to work. I believe the picketing isn’t doing anything anymore. At this time the teachers sound like whiners and the district sounds like their not doing anything. It’s time for everyone to put their preconceived notions behind them, and together build a contract… and should argument arise, compromise. You’ve got a mediator, shall we get you a few more?

    I think if you (KEA + KSD) work together and design a contract that is fair, and is fiscally responsible we’ll be at school soon. But the big issue is getting rid of the things everyone already has in their mind. Let it go, and compromise.

    And I think that either party should establish some video announcement that lays the cards on the table… so the people actually know what they are fighting about.

    And teachers, go back. Please…

    KentStudent.

  58. stan wylie Says:

    I have to say I am in support of the teachers. It seems to me regarding the class size issue is how effective the learning experience for our children becomes. I fully support the teachers. I would want my child to have the best opportunity to learn and a teacher that would be available for them. More students means less time for the student.

    I also think the teachers are showing conviction on their principles and willing to sacrifce for the greater good. It is a wonderful thing to show our kids that principle still means something.

  59. Parent Says:

    I am very disappointed in the KSD and the KEA. I feel that you have forgotten about the kids. It seem to me that two adult groups should be able to work out an agreement. Defying the court order does nothing but teach our children that you don’t have to obey the law. Please go back to the bargaining table and don’t come out of bargaining until you have reached an agreement. You owe that to these kids and to this community.

    • living it on the picket line Says:

      Kent is officially a minority majority district. The mailings, phone calls are efforts of the district are not in their languages or accessible to them because they not only don’t have a computer to access materials in their own languages, many don’t read or write their own languages.

      I bleed for these kids and wonder if I don’t stand for the big picture now, even when their parents are yelling at me on the picket line to “go back to work,” these kids don’t stand a chance of escaping the poverty and limitations of the ignored immigrant community. My dad reminded me that the “haves” often have to battle those that they are fighting for, the “have nots,” in the hopes that a few generations from now things will be better. Rome tried this during their Republic period and it took generations to bring about change. I remind myself from moment to moment that successful movements like that had to start somewhere.

  60. covingtonguy Says:

    Some of these comments I read remind me of my deceased grandfather when he was watching sports on TV. A whole lot of hot air, but no real results.

    My call to all of you who don’t like what is going on is to get involved. Stop by one of those locations with striking teachers, I am sure they will talk with you. Hear their side. Then go to the district office and hear their side. Attend a school board meeting and see what they have to say. I am pretty sure that they have a public comment period during their meetings. If you don’t like what is happening work to change it. Blogging is a great way to let out frustrations but what is it really solving?

  61. Len Dawson Says:

    It would be helpful for upset parents to remember that the district had a year to negotiate in good faith and never came close to trying to do so at all. Then when the district failed in their hopes to get the teachers to unsuccessfully vote for a strike, they still refused to negotiate in good faith and instead waited and filed an injunction. It’s only been in the last couple days SINCE the injuction ruling that the district has finally tried to work for a contract. The kids are not the only ones who don’t like waiting. You don’t need to worry about the kind of people who are teaching your kids now. You need to worry about the kind of people who are running the district your kids are in – and you need to worry about what kind of teachers will be here in five years because if the contract offer out there now from the district is what we get, 90% of the quality teachers in Kent will be leaving as soon as they can.

  62. Concerned Kent Parent Says:

    Are all the concerned parents also writing or emailing letters to the KEA and or the KSD? No matter what side of the issue you are on, it is important to send those letters. Be as proactive as you can for your children. I still support the teachers, but am not infavor of defying an injunction.

  63. Castro Benes Says:

    I just watched the video with protesters chanting, “Respect our teachers”. I simply can’t support holding children hostage for more money. These issues should have been raised before school started. Striking now is unacceptable.

    I don’t know about you, but I will vote against any Kent school district bonds. I won’t give to Kent district activities. And I won’t hire Kent graduates.

    • kent teacher Says:

      I am sorry to to tell you but we are not holding students hostage for more money, teacher pay has never been a major part of the negotiations, as much as KSD would like you to believe. Yes we did ask for a raise but where it stands now the most we will get will be enough to cover our increased medical benefit costs. Most every teacher I have talked to is willing to leave money on the table to do what is right for our students. In addition, these issues were not just brought up. All the issues on the table were brought up by the union when negotiations started back in April. They just were not seriously addressed until a week or two ago by the district. As far as striking now, our contract expired on August 31st, there is not much we can do with that.

    • Resolute Says:

      These issues were raised in April and some were raised the year before. In all that time, they have been ignored despite what we’re asking for being well within the norms of other local districts similar to Kent and affordable for the district. We even came close to taking a strike vote in June when the bargaining was going so badly so the district would know we were serious but decided to give our new superintendant a chance to turn things around. KSD knew we were going to be holding a general membership meeting at the end of August to hold a strike vote if necessary. In fact, they started the injunction paperwork before we even HAD voted. We did everything we could to bargain all this out before the start of school.
      We are not holding out for more money, despite being the lowest paying district in the area. We are holding out for class size caps that actually help us reduce class sizes rather than empty promises that do nothing.

    • Mom Irate with the District Says:

      Why don’t you just move then?

      • Resolute Says:

        Are you asking why the teachers don’t move to another district? That’s already happening. There are quite a few districts out there populated with Kent teachers who got sick of dealing with the class sizes, meetings and low pay and went to find better working conditions. For those of us who stay, it’s because we have become part of the community. We work here, live here and our kids go to school here. I adore the kids I work with and I have one of the most amazing principals I’ve ever met and a staff to go with it. If I wasn’t at such a great school, I WOULD be looking for work in other districts. But again, teachers become part of the community they teach in and instead of abandoning it when things get rough, we want to change things for the better which is what we are trying to do. We want to attract and more importantly KEEP great teachers. If things continue they way they have been going, it will get harder and harder and harder to get those amazing teachers and it will be harder to keep the ones we have. We are looking at the big picture when we are talking about these proposals. We are looking at what Kent SD will be in 10 years. If we don’t fight for class sizes now, I shudder to think what could happen. If we stand up for what we know is right for kids, the future is an amazing one.

      • kenteducationassociation Says:

        I ran into my principal at the Kentwood football game on Friday. He does not want to lose good teachers, because we have an amazing staff. I told him that talk on the Kentwood picket line has been that some of our best teachers will be asking for letters of rec as soon as we return to work. That is a fact.

    • teachersarenottheenemy Says:

      Castro:

      Bargaining has been going on since April! These issues WERE raised with plenty of time to come to a resolution before the new school year.

      Don’t take your anger out on the kids by not passing levies or hiring Kent graduates. Instead, contact the KSD school board and Dr. Vargas. They are the ones you should be upset with.

    • teacher Says:

      I’m sorry to hear you feel that way. In the end you are only hurting the children of our community by not voting for bonds and levies. It is, of course, your choice and your right to feel the way you do. Please respect that we also have the right and others have the right to respect us.

  64. Parent who supports teachers Says:

    Various comments related to the notes above…

    In view of the negative notes you are getting about your decision to continue the strike, please let us know if this, http://www.kentschools.org/index.php/contract-proposals.html, reflects the current status of the contract and the negotiations… perhaps you could add a date/time to that particular page.

    Personally, I was surprised to see the district so quick to run to court given that the negotiations had been minimal at best since the strike began. I have also been unimpressed by the lack of public comments by the school board (including current and potential members). It’s hard to believe that a district and board that would attempt to shut down a strike without a conversation would really plan to continue the discussion and bring the contract into the 20th century if the teachers went back to work without a fuss.

    Re the “Go back to work” comment, I myself am out of work, and found it tough at first to see the teachers out on the picket lines. However, I also see the decision to do this now as a sign of the strong stand that needs to be made. Some of us have had kids in small classes, and they have been lucky. Many kids have been in large classes, and it has been a struggle for them to learn and for the teachers to do much more than babysit. Other districts manage to have contracts that give the children better learning environments — why can’t ours?

    Teachers, please continue your work, but make the details on what you want to achieve much more public. Send us letters, post info right on your home page, talk to the press, have community meetings. Do what you have to do to make your goals for your students clear to everyone.

    Note: Free lunch programs continue to run — see http://www.pnwlocalnews.com/south_king/ken/news/55816782.html

  65. Auburn Teacher, KM class of 85 Says:

    I just wanted to say that I fully support what the teachers in Kent are trying to do. I am sure these decisions are not made lightly but with a lot of thought and discussion. In Auburn, we don’t start school until Wednesday, so I find KSD’s argument that kids are somehow endangered by the strike to be silly. I can’t help wondering what damage is done to kids who are in overloaded classes while the district runs it’s finances like a savings and loan?

    Good luck teachers, you are in our thoughts!

  66. Auburn Supporter Says:

    KEA members, do not be disheartened by the voices of those who want the quick, easy, and convenient answer. What you are doing is vital due to the long history of disrespect from your administration. Those people that history remembers for changing the world for the better didn’t have an easy time of it in their own eras. I teach in a neighboring district where we have strong class size language and better pay too. There is no reason past short-sightedness for why changes can’t be made in your district to improve conditions for teachers and students. I can’t imagine how hard it must be to stand up for what is right, not just for the moment but for the future too. Don’t let anyone tell you that what you are doing isn’t important. Your stance today is so important. Anyone who says otherwise just doesn’t get it and doesn’t share your commitment to education. There are many who support you! Keep fighting the good fight!

  67. KateR Says:

    I’m sorry it’s come to this. A strike is a very serious thing. I’m especially sorry, however, that the District chose to take its teachers to court rather than return to the bargaining table to show real interest in the future of our students.

    One of my kids was in a high school math class with too many bodies. Some of the students had to share the teacher’s work table. The class was too big, but my son was okay so we didn’t request a transfer. At the semester, they were able to move into a larger room with more desks, but the class was still large and noisy.

    I don’t want other, younger students to have to put up with that kind of daily distraction. I don’t want teachers to have to try to keep a handle on too many students at once. Class-size caps seem like a very reasonable expectation to me, and therefore I must continue to support such an extreme measure as a strike.

  68. Sad but True Says:

    My 16 year old daughter has lost respect for those who are supposed to be educating her but defied a court order instead.

    • teacher Says:

      We are sorry to hear that, but we still love, respect, and will continue to fight for your daughter and her right to a quality education.

  69. Saddened Parent Says:

    My daughter is supposed to be in Kindergarten.. she is so excited and asks every day about it. Today she and her younger sister decided to have a going to school day for their stuffed teddy bears. It saddens me that their stuffed bears will go to school before they do 😦

    • teacher Says:

      It saddens us as well. Please fee free to let the school board and Vargas know how sad you are. Encourage them to get involved in their own negotiations.

  70. Teacher Says:

    I am responding to you unhappy parents with some questions of my own. What is at the heart of your anger? Is it because you truly believe that this strike has disrupted the education of your children or is it that teachers have caused an inconvenience for you? I have my own list of things that parents do during the school year that disrupt the learning process. Parents pull kids out of school for week long vacations, pull students out from class early for dental/doctor/orthodontist appointments, let kids have a day off on their birthdays so they can do something “special”, take Fridays off so they can make it to softball tournaments, leave school half an hour early for dance recital rehearsals, or even take time off from school for the opening day of Mariners baseball. Compare these disruptions that happen each year to the disruption caused by Kent’s very first teacher strike.

    As for setting a poor example by defying the court order, how many parents can truthfully say they have never broken a law? Do you always drive the posted speed limits on city streets and freeways? Have you ever run a yellow light or gone through a red light? Do you ever jaywalk? Do you still talk on your hand held cell phone while driving? If you are guilty of doing any of these things, then you too have taught your children that laws weren’t meant to be obeyed.

    But what puzzles me the most is why you don’t believe that your children deserve to have the same quality of education that students across the state are receiving. Caps on class size, language that limits the number of meetings teachers must attend, and more teacher directed time are things that teachers in other districts have in their contracts already. As a teacher friend said to me, “Kent has an old fashioned contract”. Maybe what you haven’t realized is that we are striking for is a better work environment. The coincidence happens to be that my working environment and your child’s learning environment are one and the same. Kent teachers happen to believe that the children of Kent deserve the learning benefits that come with being in a small class and having more time with teachers. We think the children of Kent should be valued as much as all the other children in surrounding school districts. Don’t you?

    My last question is are you reserving half of your anger for the KSD superintendent, school board, and bargaining team? They had their opportunity to bargain in good faith since last spring. Instead, they have chosen to spend their time and money to dupe you into thinking they are doing what is in the best interest of students. KSD has used your tax dollars to mail you information that is at best inaccurate. Tax dollars were used to hire a professional negotiator, who coincidentally has been involved in other district negotiations that led to teacher strikes. The KSD attorney, when filing the injunction, tried to squelch parents’ right to picket. When KEA has asked ,repeatedly, for their documentation of the data that supports their claim they cannot afford our proposals, they refuse to or can’t produce their evidence. In their budget, they budgeted for 48 new teachers then never hired them. Those teachers could have helped to reduce class size.

    KSD would like you to believe that this strike is all about compensation. But it isn’t. We have put compensation on the back burner, choosing to make class size our priority. We have acknowledged that we can’t have it all because we understand that we can’t bankrupt our own district. So when this is all said and done, Kent teachers will still be at the bottom in pay in the Puget Sound Region. We knew that before taking the vote, but it did not sway us from continuing our fight for smaller class size and more time with students.

    You can express your contempt and disgust with teachers in hopes that you will convince us to end this strike, but I strongly suggest you also write to KSD. They also have the ability to bring this strike to an end.

    • covingtonguy Says:

      well spoken, my thoughts exactly.

    • teacher Says:

      I wonder if we will fall lower than 80th in the state (where we are now) after this is said and done.

    • Another Parent who's disappointed Says:

      I’d like to respond to some of your questions.
      “What is at the heart of your anger? Is it because you truly believe that this strike has disrupted the education of your children or is it that teachers have caused an inconvenience for you?” Yes, I seriously think that the strike has disrupte the education of my children. I am doing what I can to educate them on my own, but it’s difficult as I’m a full-time worker and they are in higher grades that make it more difficult, even though I’m college educated.
      In the whole of my children’s education, I have NEVER pulled my kids out of school. NOT for a vacation, NOT for a doctor or dentist visit. If I have, it would have been within the last 10-15min of school with plenty of notification to the teacher. I don’t believe in that. But because of a planned vacation (over a year ago), I will probably have to go against my own rules, because, more than likely, your strike will change the school year, such that they would have to attend now instead of having President’s week off.

      Do I break the law? Never have I intentally broken the law. If I speeded, it was to stay with the flow of traffic. I don’t jaywalk, I don’t run red lights. And I admit, with the fact that the law is still new, I forget and answer my cell when my children call me.

      I come from a family of teachers. Here is what some of my family members who are teachers have been saying. My sister is starting her second year without a contract and is in the classroom. Because it’s the right thing to do, and it’s illegal for her to strike. My mother, who’s a retired teacher, said she did many things to fight for her contracts, but she would NEVER strike. It’s just not the right thing to do. I also have a friend in Arizona who just told me this morning that she would love to work in the public sector teaching, but they are laying off so many teachers in that state, that there just aren’t any jobs for her.
      So consider how lucky you are. My other sister is a teacher in California, and she told me that that state is going to wave the class size state law next school year so the district can try to find the money to stay open. Which of course will mean higher class sizes. Things are critical all over this country and I just think that KEA has ver poor timing in fighting the battles.

  71. ConcernedParent Says:

    I just learned about a KM student who is switching out of the KSD. On Monday he was at cross country practice and picked up his uniform, and on Tuesday, after the teachers voted to defy the court order, he came back and turned in his uniform and announced that he was going to Auburn Mountainview instead. I’m afraid that the teachers are only hearing from “supportive” parents and not from the majority who believe that defying a court order is going one step too far. The longer this lasts, the more and more parents and the community are going to turn against the teachers that they would naturally side with against the bloated and arrogant administrators. Please go back to work and work for your cause through legitimate means!

    • Mom Irate with the District Says:

      Interesting, because I heard that Auburn was not allowing out-of-district waivers. So, either this student should not have been going to K-M to begin with or has been illegally recruited for his athletic abilities. Which is it?

    • teacher Says:

      How lucky for that KM student. They have joined a district that can give him a wonderful advantage. It is a shame that people do not think that Kent students deserve the benefits that other kids in the area do. I wish him luck. He will be in a smaller class and have teachers that have time to work with him.

    • Kent Teacher and Taxpayer Says:

      I would not put my own child in this district right now. A school district that fights its own teachers over limiting class size is not place for learning. Kent seems to be a business anymore; when did school districts begin believing it’s OK to make a profit each year?
      I wonder how I missed this paradigm shift in my years of working here. The longer this goes on and the more details that are revealed, I find that I feel tarnished and dirty for having worked for this school board and administration for so long.
      At least I woke up while I was still here. I’m awake now and I intend to do what I can to make this a district I can be proud to claim as an employer.

  72. KSD Grad Says:

    Common enough is enough. I would like to know why the teachers themselves have not been able to read the proposal by KSD. As I have been told by a neighbor Kent teacher, they are only going by the recommendation of the KEA but have yet to actually read the KSD proposal for themselves. How are teachers supposed to make informed decisions when they are not presented with the black and white details. I also expect that before you have my children give up their summer vacation that you give up teacher workshop days and unecessary breaks like the mid winter break in February. It outrages me that you are now interferring with my summer next year which you have absolutely no right to do. GET BACK TO CLASS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • kenteducationassociation Says:

      KSD proposals on their website are posted randomly. What is happening at the bargaining table changes from hour to hour. The last proposals posted on the KSD website are already a week old, and have seen 6 new proposals come back and forth in the interim. Having seen the current proposals as of Tuesday morning, I can tell you that they are almost unreadable because of the number of changes and notations from just the last week. The District has been bargaining with the public, not us. What’s more, they are telling lies. Teachers trust their bargaining team because the bargaining team is made up of teachers. If you transfer to Seattle School District, you would start school today, and would have missed no school thus far.

      • KSD Grad Says:

        With the way things are going I wish that I could transfer to another school district but that isn’t practical now is it. And it is from one of your own teachers that I hear the proposals aren’t being communicated. I hear they are telling lies from you, one sided. How is the community supposed to believe only your side. I don’t care if the bargaining team is made up of teachers, I used to belong to a union and find that union reps can be just as jaded to get their point through. Even by some of these posts by teachers, we can all clearly see that you are not all on the same page. As far as some of the other districts that started either yesterday or today go, they don’t have these additional unecessary breaks that we have which means that barring no weather related days, they would be getting out of school the same time as us had there been no strike. Don’t take us for fools whatever you do, parent support isn’t as strong as you think it is. I expect as a parent that teachers will understand that when the end of June comes next year and parents are pulling their kids out of school, it will be because some of us will not allow the district to steal time away from us by shortening our summer vacations, the way education and learning time has been taken from our children so far.

    • teacher Says:

      The proposals that I have read will set our students back years. I have read the proposals on the KSD site, even if they are outdated. Every teacher I know has read the proposals, we all still agree that those proposals deny our students a proper education.

  73. fairwoodelementaryparent Says:

    Ditto the anonymous post above. 9.8% unemployment, a number that can be easily supported unlike so many of your dueling statistics in the local media. Be glad you have jobs! Right or wrong, now is not the time for any discussion of pay raises. Shame on all of you, teachers and the school district adminstration.

    • kenteducationassociation Says:

      The District is not offering a pay raise. They are offerering to have us work more and get paid for it, but only if they control when and how we work in the form of additional meetings. As their proposal currently is written, they could hold these additional meetings any time, including weekends, holidays, or in the middle of the night. If teachers didn’t show, they wouldn’t get paid, and the District could pocket that money in the process for their precious reserve fund. And before you roll your eyes, know that this is already what some building administrators are already doing under the current contract. Some elementary teachers were forced to attend meetings lasting over 3 hours after school on multiple days. Don’t want to go, or have other responsibilities, such as childcare? Then you don’t get paid.

      KEA’s proposals are not going to result in any additional costs to the District. It is not in our self interest to bankrupt the District or hurt other employees. Our budget analysis has found large sums of money that can be moved from one area to another in the budget to pay for our proposals. For example, according to the District’s own financial information, they spent over $10 million less on classroom instruction than was budgeted. As a result, their ending General Fund balance (savings account) was $13 million, even though their forecast was only $3 million. The District’s spending priorities are not focused on our kids, and that is why teachers are upset!

  74. Kent Parent Says:

    I am a parent of three Kent students. I am in support of the strike. The teachers have only been on strike for six days now. The HUGE education loss our kids are missing out on right now is only around 3% of the school year. Three percent. Yes, Kent school district children are not in school now. However, these days are going to be made up. The education missed out on and the day care money parents have to fork out right now is going to be made up. This I see will most likely be during mid-winter break and maybe a few days added on at the end of the year getting our kids out about the same time as last year. Additionally, some school districts are starting their first day today. I have done some volunteering in my kids’ classrooms and can see the impact of over crowding. I am also in sales and I can sympathize with teachers on the issue of the number of meetings required. The majority of the meetings tell me things I already know and limit the amount of work I can get done. I’m sure this is the same for teachers. Money is not really an issue with them. My neighbor is a teacher and she says that if all of the demands were to be met by the district except higher pay, this would be over. It’s not about money for them. This is something the media is blowing out of proportion.
    Objectively speaking, the teachers are not asking for much. Through looking at hard data, the district can TOTALLY afford what they are asking for. What I see is a lack of respect from the administration. They are the highest paid in the state. From what I can see, this is more of a reluctance of the district administration to give up some of their power.
    Anyway, as a parent I feel it is my duty to say how I feel. The teachers are in this for the best interests of the children of this community. At the same time, I don’t blame any of them if they are on strike for selfish reasons. Being treated unfairly is not right no matter what field you are in.

  75. SickandTired Says:

    To all those negative people out there…. I want lower class sizes for MY children! You obviously don’t care, so let’s set up classes so all of YOUR children are put in a class of 40 and my children and other supporters’ children in a class of 25!! I don’t see you screaming to have YOUR children in a class of 40, do you??? Let’s stop and use some common sense. Direct your anger at KSD, where it belongs. They are the ones holding everyone hostage. They need to get serious and negotiate smaller classes for OUR children.

    • KSD Grad Says:

      Dont’ tell us we don’t care about OUR children. Parents are really the only ones that have their true best interest at heart. I can also tell you that having a lower class size doesn’t mean that our children get more time with the teacher. For two years now my son has been in two classess, two different teachers with only 23 kids in the class. For two years, he has received little to no addtional attention from the teacher, even with me asking for him to be challenged. ELL or special ed kids were no an issue. So at this point, I am pretty discouraged. Whether there are 23 or 30 kids, I have little hope of this changing.

  76. Judi Olive Says:

    You are alientating the parents by the continuation of the teacher strike. You expect Parents to support you and the teachers, but many of us do not. I will not support any Teacher for defying the court order and continuing the strike.

    Set a good example for the children and the parents, get back in the classroom and lets all work together to make a difference for the future. What you are proposing is above the District Level, we need to take it to the Legislature.

    Teachers will only receive my support once they are back in the classroom. I am a very involved parent at our school as I volunteer weekly, but the longer school is out and I use my work time to stay at home, the less time I will have to offer the teachers when they need it during the school year.

    Do what is right for the children of Kent District, get back into the classroom and educate.

    • Mom Irate with the District Says:

      Judi, how do you think the issues will get solved if the teachers are back in the classroom? Do you think KSD will be willing to negotiate then? Will they decide to act in the best interests of our children once the parents are no longer writing them emails and trying to go to School Board meetings? Or will they revert back to ignoring the teachers and our kids? Sorry, but this has been coming for a long while and nothing the teachers have tried so far has worked. Maybe this isn’t working either. If not, perhaps we parents need to get truly involved, not just in our childrens’ class or school, but on a district level. We need to do more than just volunteer and vote for a levy. We need to hold the district accountable and monitor what they’re acutally doing. We need to get involved in all aspects of the district. And if they won’t let us, we need to change the people in charge, because they work for us!

    • Working Hard for YOUR KIDS Says:

      I personally have taken this issue to my legislator. She blames the $9 billion dollar deficit, a 100 year old system of dealing with teaching, and WEA for not supporting legislation.

      For me, smaller class size means students who can read, behave, and be a team player.

      What kind of example is it to bad mouth the very ones who risk penalties so your child will reap the benefits?

    • teacher Says:

      How is lower class size above the district level? They worked enough money into their budget last year to hire over 40 teachers. That is money that was set aside to hire teachers that they never hired. We are only asking them to use the money they already have. Money they originally set aside to hire more teachers. Those teachers can lower class size. No state intervention needed there.

      • Judi Says:

        Mom Irate with the District:
        We ALL need to come together, be unified and work toward the common goal. I support the Teachers, I feel some of their requests are legitimate. People who became Teachers did it because it was their Passion and in spite of the pay. Teachers deserve the same pay and respect that a Doctor receieves. However, just because a Teacher CAN go on strike doesn’t give them the right. We can have a common goal, it does not mean I have to agree with the way the KEA goes about getting it done. I don’t support the strike and I don’t support the defying of the court.

        You are right, every single parents need to be more involved, not only in school but at the District and even taking it to the Legislature. I’ll join, will you?

        Teachers should show good Faith and get into the classroom to educate our children, that’s what they signed up for. They say that’s where they want to be, then I say, go, go do what you do best and teach. MEANWHILE…Teachers, Parents and the Community can form committees and fight for the very thing we all want, but let’s do it right.

        Working Hard for your kids:
        Let’s be honest, the kids who WANT to learn, will learn regardless of 20 students or 35 students.

        I did not ask you to break the law, you did that on your own accord. Oh, and I am not bad mouthing, I am being honest. You can’t take the heat? Don’t expect me or anyone else to support the continuation of a strike just because we support you as a teacher. Don’t mis-interpret. I DO support ALL Teachers IN THE CLASSROOM!

        You see regardless of who the teacher my children have and regardless of the school my children are in, MY children will always perform well. Why? because learning doesn’t start or stop in the classroom, it starts and stops at home.

        Teacher says:
        The Legislature DOES need to provide more funding for the schools, you know that. Don’t you dare blame it all on the District. We all know this has been happening for years and in spite of it, Teachers have conitnued to do their job, yes many times it is difficult. Know this, there are many parents (I am included) who commend the teachers and who do their best to spend time in the classroom to assist. Not all Parents have that luxury, bnut that does not make them bad people.

        Maybe there was money to hire more teachers and depending on the school, some teachers were hired. We do this every school year. The end of the year, low senority teachers are RIF’ed and then at the beginning of the school year some teachers are re-hired.

        Also, whether the District has the money or doesn’t. How long are you and your fellow teachers REALLY willing to stay out of the classroom? The longer out of the classroom the more agitated parents will become. People you know might not tell you the truth, I happen to know a Parents who feels alot like me, but to the Teachers, the parent has a differnt face presented. They don’t want the teachers to feel unsupported. Well, I am not going to hide, I don’t agree with the tactics, but I also won’t hold it against any of the teachers when they do return to the classroom. At the end of it all, we still need to come together for 1 common goal…..THE CHILDREN!

        And to whomever it was the made the insensitive post about parents don’t care about their kids. You need to check yourself. Most all parents have their childrens intersts at heart. You do not have the right to speak ill of parenting skills, because I guarantee you, we parents, could pick you apart. Furthermore, last time I checked, my children were MY children.

    • Kent Teacher and Taxpayer Says:

      Judi,
      I’m sorry that you don’t trust us to know what is best for your child’s education; after all, this is what we do for a living. I will continue to work hard for you and your child despite your lack of trust.

      • Judi Says:

        What are you talking about? Did I say I did not trust the teachers? Point your negative comment someplace else. I never said I did not trust the teachers. I don’t approve of your tactics on the street or defying a court order.

        Every teacher that I personally know is AWESOME and gives their 110% to the children in their school.

  77. a Kent teacher Says:

    I really hope that for those brave teachers that went back in because they thought it was the right thing to do, the rest of us respect their positions. It can’t be easy for any of them and I know that some are very worried about what their colleagues will say and act towards them. I would hope that friendship trumps this strike.

  78. fairwoodelementaryparent Says:

    [quote]The District is not offering a pay raise.[/quote]

    Is that official? So you are saying now that the KSD is not offering AND OR the KEA is not asking/accepting 3.0% this year and 1.5% next year?

    YES or NO?

    Regardless, you it changes nothing of the very simple argument I see many more of us in the community now making against the KEA, and that is you are all lucky to have jobs right now.

  79. Renton lawyer Says:

    I’ve reviewed the order granting KSD’s motion for injunctive relief and am troubled that the teachers have chosen to blatantly disregard a lawful order. Specifically, the order prohibits all persons represented by the KEA from engaging in a strike on or after September 8 and orders all striking employees to report for work with the KSD on September 8. This order is much different than some traffic law on the books as one teacher referred to. Indeed, it is a very specific court order entered as a result of a contested court hearing. Like it or not, court hearings are how we resolve many conflicts in our society. I can’t think of much more detestable behavior than the wilful, intentional violation of a clear court order. It will take some awfully good lawyering by Mr. Gasper (maybe down to his last gasp) to avoid serious sanctions at the hearing on Thursday. What could his argument possibly be? The hearing is not a hearing on the merits of the case. Rather, it is a hearing to determine whether there has been compliance with the order. Obviously, there hasn’t been. When one intentionally thumbs one’s nose at a court order, severe sanctions are appropriate.
    Teachers, get back to work and carry on with the bargaining process. Incidentally, the lawsuit filed by the KEA pursuant to the Labor Practices Act is ridiculous and a desparate attempt to gain lost leverage.

  80. Kent Auburn Says:

    You say that the proposals on the KSD site are lies, but offer no evidence of that. Give me line-by-line details on what is untrue. This sort of blanket statement is what is hurting KEA’s credibility.

    Also, what is being done to prevent the harassment of the 108 teachers who went to work the past few days? Some of my friends have been called at home, threatened, told they would not be paid for these days (patently untrue), plus being told at Monday’s that the schools were going to be locked was also blatantly false and an apparent attempt to coerce teachers. How will KEA respond to these acts? Do you stand up for all members or only those that agree with the union?

    • kenteducationassociation Says:

      Members have been told about appropriate behavior in regards to those that cross the line. If anyone is doing any of the actions you describe, it is of their own volition, and we encourage them to stop. Realistically, though, people who are crossing the picket lines have to consider how their actions will be viewed by their colleagues. Hard feelings will follow them for years to come, in many cases, and there is nothing KEA can do about that.

      As for the “extra pay” for working days during the current strike, you are absolutely wrong. Unless KEA bargains with the District for additional pay, KSD cannot pay these employees for the work they are doing when they cross the picket line. It is against state labor law for the District to do this, as it is considered bargaining directly with members, instead of through collective bargaining. This just fits the pattern the KSD has been following of trying to avoid actually bargaining with us.

      • ConcernedParent Says:

        I hope that KEA members on the picket line will be mature enough (setting an example for their students) to know that those colleagues who are crossing the picket line do so out of conscience’ sake – because they believe it is morally (as well as legally) wrong to defy the court’s order. Those who cross the picket line, who are in the minority, often have much more courage than the majority who stand outside the school chatting with their colleagues for 3 hours in the morning. I wish they didn’t have to cross a picket line. I am not at all happy with the actions of the KSD administration, but I also do not believe that the teachers have a legitimate claim to “civil disobedience” in this situation. The defiant teachers’ actions have also created hard feelings for the community, parents, and students for years to come. This (i.e. defying the court’s orer) is and was a “no win” situation. Those who sow to the wind will reap the whirlwind!

    • kenteducationassociation Says:

      First, approximately 60 teachers crossed picket lines on Tuesday. Secondly, those KEA members who remain strong on the lines have been told to be respectful to all members, regardless of whether they crossed the lines. Yes, they may have recieved phone calls, as do all members not on the lines on any given day. Will they be paid if they crossed the line? The district, specifically Larry Miner, has stated that members will be paid through special projects pay. Our members on the line staying stong and do not see the bribes from the district as a distraction.

  81. Dale Says:

    I have been following this strike closely for the last few days, and I find it so unfortunate that there are so many people out there not in support of the teachers!

    Just for some info: This statement is coming from someone who graduated in 2005, and understands what missing school can do and how frustrating something like this can be for ALL parties involved. I am blessed to be part of a union with my current job, and further understand the complexities of contracts, strikes, negotiation, etc…

    How can standing up for better pay and working conditions be against the law? They should have the right to not go to work without a contract. How can they work if they don’t have anything to direct them on there jobs IE: A contract! lol. Since when do the courts force labor? That is absurd. If anything, the teacher’s are technically unemployed, and can be let go or replaced, but to be forced to do a job??? That is nuts!

    It is unfortunate for the students, for the non-union staff, the teachers themselves, and many other parties involved, and I understand that, but the teachers WANT to be in the classrooms doing what they love and do best, but they should be able to do so with the protections of a contract. If they go back to work, they will be working without any direction or protection of a contract. When you are part of a union, it’s not like a regular job where when hired you are given a list of duties and responsibilities and such, instead all that is layed out in your contract, which protects you and the employer!

    IF the teachers were to go back, what leverage do they have? They can’t slack off in the classroom, that would be damaging to the students. How long should they have to work without the litature and protections of a contract? A week, a month, a year? What is the point of organized labor then? The teachers going back without a contract would be absurd, because then technically they would not be union workers, and then the district could pay them to do whatever they wanted! How long would you work without a contract? Would you start a job if they didn’t lay out your wage? Would you start a job that asked you to do the work of two people? I think the answer would be no, and we all know that. So get off the KEA member’s back. They are humans, and have the right to stand up for better pay and working conditions!

    As far as some of the absurd comments about this hurting the students, and the teachers need to stop whining, what example is this setting, etc…, well they are just that absurd! The students will get there time in school once this is all settled, that is law, the number of hours a student needs to be in the classroom is not going to change. So the notion that this is hurting the students is crazy. If anything, this is helping them. Their teachers are fighting for better conditions under which to teach them!!!! If they go back now, is your student going to get a better education sitting in a class of 45, or 30? Just as a simple, no facts needed question! Well the logical answer would be the smaller of the two would allow the teacher to devote more time per student. As to what kind of example is this setting, well I would say a good one. It teaches the students that every human, and citizen has the right to stand up for what they believe in, and that they have the right to an honest wage for an honest days work. I could go on for pages answering outlandish remarks, but the blog admin. seems to be doing a good enough job with that! 😉

    Kent school district: Bargain fairly and work to ratify a contract!!!

    *Side note: Yes, I am 22 year’s old, and no I don’t have any children, but I am an intelligent person and can imagine/understand how it must be to be on either side. I am a proud union worker, and because of the solidarity of my union, I am blessed with an honest wage, amazing benefits, safe and reasonable working conditions, all thing’s every working class person deserves. It’s unfortunate so many people just let their employers walk all over them.

    Well for you teachers out there reading this, you were able, even under stressful, unreasonable conditions, to get through to at least one student and provide him with a good education and attitude. I respect you and the work that you do. Best of luck with your negotiations!

    Respectively,
    Student, future parent, union brother, and citizen!

    >>>”There will always be a place for us somewhere, somehow, as long as we see to it that working people fight for everything they have, everything they hope to get, for dignity, equality, democracy, to oppose war and to bring to the world a better life.”–Harry Bridges

  82. Renton attorney Says:

    Why isn’t my reply from this afternoon posted?

    • kenteducationassociation Says:

      I have over 160 comments at the moment, that are listed in reverse chronological order. I only have so much time in the day. I apologize if they are not getting posted quickly. My first priority is to update the posts with recent info. Since things are happening very quickly, not all comments are getting posted immediately. Please be patient.

  83. Dissapointed Parent... Says:

    I’m a post-graduate from India. I do not remember ONE year in grades K-12 where I had less than 50 kids in my class. I can assure you that most of the high tech professionals from India or any other populous nation, who are making more than 100K a year came from such schools. The key is not class sizes, but how the teacher is able to capture attention and respect (my teachers were able to do that). We live in a changed world where kids aren’t just competing within their own small community. We need to make the best of our resources and teach our kids to do the same. Instead they are taught to complain, whine, throw a tantrum AND strike to attain what is perceived as perfect. What you teachers might all need are some mandatory courses on professionalism

    • Kent Teacher and Taxpayer Says:

      It is quite difficult to “capture attention and respect” from students who are taught at home and in our culture that I am a second class citizen who does not have the same rights as any other worker in America.

    • Resolute Says:

      This is very much a cultural difference between the US and many other countries. When there is a culture of highest respect for education, teachers can put aside issues of discipline and fighting for student’s attention in class and to their school work and really teach the kids. I will say that we have a high number of Indian children at my school and they are always wonderful and respectful. Again, it’s a cultural attitude.

      Another question would be about what provisions were made for students who didn’t speak the language or students with special needs? Many teachers agree that if we were to teach as we did 25 years ago when our classrooms were white and English speaking, 30 kids in a class wouldn’t be NEARLY so daunting as it is today.

  84. aggravated Says:

    I’m a KEA member, a KSD parent, and I work for multiple school districts. Today I was at the gym and I heard heated exchange between a “community member” and a KEA member. The KEA person was trying to drum up support for “our side.” The community member was having none of it, and went on a tirade. I got into the gym as quickly as possible.

    To the parents and community: there is no way you can understand the deep challenges of teaching unless you are a teacher yourself. If you are not a surgeon, could you perform a successful surgery? If you aren’t a lawyer, could you defend yourself in court? If you don’t know how to run the checkout machines at the grocery store, could you waltz in and do that today without backing up the line? Can you frame a house? Can you balance the budget of a giant school district? Every professional has different skills unique to that profession.

    If you haven’t taught a large group of kids lately, please know: teaching is an art and a science, a practice and a craft. Especially in Kent, there is research at work. The reason we have ongoing certification is to ensure we know what we’re doing. Not “anyone” can be a good teacher. Don’t believe me? Check national NAEP scores. Compare data school to school, district to district, state to state.

    If you truly believe you can “Do a better job and [we] should get back to work,” get your substitute certificate and try it for two weeks straight. (Some of my neighbors took me up on this last year… and guess what?)

    To my fellow KEA members: don’t accost people in the parking lot. That’s political dynamite. Especially when you continue to engage people. Just like in the classroom– don’t engage like that. Waste of time, calories, emotional currency. Move on.

    As a KSD parent, I am beyond aggravated at the ENTIRE bargaining team. Both sides. My kids need to be in school. My colleagues (certificated and non-certificated) NEED to get to work. I am crossing my fingers and praying every day something moves soon. I entreat everybody out there– get this done, get it done right, and remember EVERYONE has the same endgame here. We ALL want what’s best for kids. That’s our common ground.

  85. Bill Bartmann-_ Says:

    Cool site, love the info.

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