Thousands of Seattle Public Schools teachers and support staff gathered Thursday evening and voted to strike.
Seattle educators will strike starting the first day of school, Sept. 9, if the Seattle School Board fails to negotiate a tentative contract agreement before then.
Their existing contract with the district expired at the end of August and despite lengthy negotiations over several months, there is no tentative agreement.
The Seattle Education Association said they disagree with the district on a variety of issues, including teacher salaries, standardized tests, discrepancy in discipline rates among students of different backgrounds and recess time.
Some teachers told KIRO 7 they have not heard of any other teacher negotiations across the country making recess such an important issue.
“Low-income students are disproportionately affected by recess. Some are getting as little as 15 minutes, as opposed to some students on the north end are getting 45 minutes,” said Michael Tamayo, a teacher at Leschi Elementary School.
An investigation by KUOW last year found the same thing, as well as the fact that recess time in the district had diminished over the years.
“It is so unfair. I had the opportunity to visit some of our other schools and I was shocked. I didn’t even know that it was not equal,” said Glory Wilson, who teaches kindergarten at Stanley Elementary School.
In comparison (to what?), at the private Bright Water School in Capitol Hill, students get outdoor time ranging from one hour to four hours a day.
Flora McEachern, the assistant head of school, said, “If you’re always cramming new information into a child, they get indigestion. Just like if you eat too much.”
She said that their Waldorf curriculum relies heavily on experiencing and learning ideas outside.
McEachern said students learn how to solve problems by facing challenges in social interactions during recess that do not happen indoors.
But some public school principals told KUOW last year that conflicts during longer recess time often result in challenging discipline issues.
via KIRO 7