Monday, September 07, 2009

Kent teachers defy court order and continue illegal strike

Update: Some data added at the bottom... The illegal strike in Kent continues with a vote today. In case the teachers didn't believe that their strike was illegal Judge Andrea Darva told them so and last week ordered them to return to work tomorrow. Classes were scheduled to start last Monday August 31. They say the issue is class size, but that's just a time-tested theme the public buys. Fewer than half of school employees are in the classroom. Their district could bring class sizes down by reducing counseling and activities coordinators. But the teachers don't want that. This is a Washington Education Association power play. Seattle Times:
After negotiating throughout the weekend with the help of a new mediator, striking teachers in the Kent School District voted Monday night to continue their strike, defying a court order that they report to their classrooms Tuesday morning. Though the vote means the district's 26,000 students will not be returning to classes Wednesday as planned, leaving some families to scramble for child care, support for the teachers from parents appeared to be growing. An estimated 100 parents showed up Monday afternoon outside Green River Community College, where teachers met for the vote. Parents formed lines that flanked the teachers and cheered, waved and high-fived them as they filed inside the gym. The key issue is class size, with teachers saying that not only are the district's classrooms seriously overcrowded, but many of the students have special needs.
There are 26,000 students and 100 parents showed up to support the illegal strike. That's a small number. Added: Class size: Taking out the administrators in 2008-09 there were 16.7 students per certificated staff. Certificated staff are teachers and other positions filled by a college graduate or higher: nurses, librarians, counselors. Class sizes vary: larger for band and PE, smaller for special education. The lower grades are funded for smaller classes; the higher grades put the money into lab equipment, athletic and music facilities instead and have larger class sizes. You can look them up by school and class. Kent School District Funding: Kent had $9,910 per student. If you were given 30 kids and $297,300 could you educate those kids with such ample funding? Source: WA State Fiscal Information

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