Follow NWPE on:

Subscribe to RSS Feed:

NWPE Member Reaches Out to Strike Supporters
posted by: Cindy Omlin | September 21, 2015, 08:59 PM   

Judith Camann is a veteran National Board Certificated Exceptional Needs Teacher.  She holds five Washington State teaching certifications in general education, special education and reading as well as two Education Staff Associate certifications.  She has also been deemed highly qualified in five different curriculum areas.  Judy is an NWPE member and union member who opposed the strike by Seattle teachers.  She wrote this statement urging her colleagues not to strike, an action union members approved.  The weeklong strike began September 9.

judy camann 2015I am a Seattle Schools Educator, union member and a member of the Northwest Professional Educators.  In light of the current strike and subsequent picketing, I wish to state my opinion as well as proposing a different solution to the current impasse between Seattle Public Schools  (SPS) and the Seattle Education Association (SEA).

First, I want to reach out to my colleagues who have opted to join the picket lines.  I respect their personal opinion to do so.  In that same vein, I ask that my opinions and rights be duly respected  as it is this richness of diversity that we as educators both support and advocate for within our schools and community.

I have opted not to picket, nor do I support the decision to strike.  While I agree the issues on the table need resolution, not serving students is not the best response.

The current educational decisions of both our legislatures and district officials create huge impressions on our students’ education.  However, by striking we are maximizing, rather than minimizing negative impact to each child’s education.  Furthermore, striking influences the greater Seattle community.  Despite Seattle’s Park and Recreation efforts to offer childcare, some families are still unable to work due to lack of transportation to such locations or are unable to afford private care.  As employees miss work, Seattle’s overall commerce is affected.  There are children home alone, some too young to be so, thus producing stressed, unfocused employees compounded by child safety issues.  Some parents may lose their jobs if they are unable to work because of the teacher’s strike; some children may need care they cannot receive.

I offer this solution as SPS and SEA officials continue to meet.  I would like everyone to return to his or her classrooms under a work-to-rule: an industrial action in which employees do no more than the minimum required by the rules of their contract, and precisely follow safety or other regulations.  This action would allow schedules to resume to natural situations avoiding the larger community effects.  However, it will raise an awareness of just how much educators already give of their resources when working specifically as contracts outline.  Yes, there will be an impact on students when educators do not work during unpaid time, when they remove from their classrooms all items they have supplied, when they can only plan, correct papers, manage grades, and meet with families and students in the windows contractually determined.  Nonetheless our public education will continue, children will be safe and educated, parents will resume working, and the complicated contractual issues, still ambiguous to many, will become obvious under a work-to-rule.  I believe this response will also drive resolution in a more efficient manner.

In closing, as we move forward, I am asking that we all role model how to support each other and our children in our designated roles as educators, parents and administrators.  Our children, our students are relying on us to be there for them rather than hold them victims under our complicated adult issues.


Comments (0)Add Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment. Please register if you do not have an account yet.