Current Actions

  • Don't put Peninsula students' and educators' lives at risk

    The Peninsula Education Association worked all summer to negotiate a Memorandum of Understanding with the Peninsula School District that lays out the terms and obligations for both staff and administrators to ensure a safe return. The district’s unwillingness to implement the terms of the MOU is a violation of the negotiated agreement, and a violation of labor law.

    Our goal, first and foremost, is to protect the health and well being of our students, their families and ourselves. We need to make sure safety protocols as outlined are understood and followed so we can make it through the COVID-19 emergency pandemic alive and together. PEA members overwhelmingly re-stated our shared priority of keeping students and staff healthy and safe during the pandemic, especially as we restart in-person schooling in stages.

    We know that in-person teaching and learning is best for both students and educators, and we want nothing more than to get back into schools with our students.

    Going back into buildings requires equipment and preparation.

    • Schools need to have equipment on hand to meet the state Superintendent of Public Instruction’s guidelines for re-opening. These guidelines included the requirements from the state Department of Health and Labor and Industries. These include items such as enough personal protective equipment for everyone, adequate cleaning and sanitizing, and space for distancing.
    • Reopening guidelines also included a phase-in approach with youngest students returning first and Peninsula needs time to evaluate and make appropriate adjustments.
    • Educators will need flexibility should they be at high-risk or have high-risk family members.
    • Educators need to be trained on their building's safety protocols.

    Schools need time to get transportation and other services back in place.

    • Peninsula educators need a plan to ensure balance of responsibilities. Teachers cannot and should not teach twice – once in person and once remotely.
    • Schools will need to have leave policies in place for employees exposed to COVID plus a robust group of substitutes to cover for illnesses.
    • We must continue to emphasize student well-being, ensuring there are counselors and social workers in place to support our students and families in these uncertain times.

    Let’s do this right so we only do it once.

    • The goal should be to return in a way that increases the likelihood we can keep schools open and avoids having to return to distance learning should cases spike.
    • Peninsula educators will continue to use our voices to advocate for reopening plans that are safe, address racial equity and social justice for students, and provide the time needed to convert reliably to a hybrid learning model.


  • Mercer Island bus drivers and staff at risk!

    Last week, Gov. Inslee took action to make sure no student will go hungry and no student will go without the materials they need. He issued a proclamation allowing meals, instructional packets and internet connections to be delivered to students' homes.

    Families are stretched thin keeping up with virtual school schedules, working from home, getting to their own jobs, providing academic and emotional support to their students, and more.

    Our school bus drivers and transportation staff stand ready to fulfill the Governor's goal, help keep operations running smoothly and give our students the support and services they need!

    So why does the Mercer Island School District not want to follow the Governor's call to action? Why does MISD require families to drive to two drop sites rather than engage in creative proposals that let our drivers bring support to Mercer Island families and students? Why does the District prefer to bankroll more money from the state rather than pay the staff who can support our students?

    Our district needs to follow the Governor's lead and get our busses rolling to support our students. Our District needs to be part of creative solutions to support the drivers who support our students rather than look for creative ways to reduce employees' hours.

    As our district's leaders, you are responsible for supporting our students and families and for bankrolling more money in unspent "rainy day" funds intended for our students and schools. This IS the rainy day we've been saving for -- and it's time now where our students get the supports they need.

  • Shelton students deserve more adult support

    The Shelton School District is threatening to layoff half of the Education Support Workers who support our students. The board is voting on a budget TODAY at 1 p.m. that would lay off nearly 30 full-time secretaries, 20 full-time bus drivers, eight full-time custodians, five full-time food service workers, two full-time mechanics and a half-time aquatics director. We need to show our support.

    Here are sample messages you can share with the school board, but feel free to personalize (both in the subject line and the letter body) to make the message your own.

    • The goal of delivering quality public education to every student requires MORE people to transport basic education supplies, services, and food to their new place of public education, home.
    • Special education students must have para-educators working with our special education teachers so they can receive specially designed instruction.
    • Students who need a little extra support at school count on para-educators. Those students (and others who don’t have strong support at home) need extra support during remote learning.
    • Our students deserve customized learning experiences. Our team of para-educators help deliver that specially designed instruction for students.
    • Our secretaries who normally greet our families with a friendly smile, caring attitude and to problem solving attitude at school are needed to help our families navigate school during these uncertain times.
    • Our location has changed, but we must have our entire and complete community of school workers to make sure our students receive the high quality public education they deserve.
    • Don't shortchange our students by taking supportive adults away. The district is budgeting for a $4.7 million surplus. Why layoff essential workers with an extra  of $4.7 million in the bank?

  • Take action to reopen schools and campuses safely

    On May 15, the House passed the HEROES Act to help schools and campuses reopen safely and save educators’ jobs. Now, it’s up to the Senate. Budget cuts loom even as schools struggle to make the costly changes necessary to reopen safely. Unless the Senate acts soon, those budget cuts could lead to the loss of nearly 2 million education jobs at every level from kindergarten to postsecondary—one-fifth of the workforce. Everyone agrees the road to recovery runs through our schools. But they cannot reopen safely if school budgets are slashed and students do not have what they need to be safe, learn, and succeed—especially the students of color, students with disabilities, and students living in poverty who have suffered most during this crisis.

    Email your senators today, tell your story, and tell them to take action to reopen schools and campuses safely and save educators’ jobs.

  • Support Our SEA Substitutes

    Many SEA substitutes could lose their health insurance -- through no fault of their own -- in the midst of this global health pandemic.

    Let your legislators, Gov. Inslee, and the SEBB Board know we need to keep our community together in this time of crisis. It’s in everyone’s best interest for the SEBB Board to change their policy so that our SEA substitutes, and substitutes across the state, can access SEBB health insurance.
     
    Because of the early school closures this year, most substitutes did not get the opportunity to accumulate the 630 hours to demonstrate their commitment to working at least half-time, and therefore may not qualify for the employer-paid health insurance.

    Substitutes are critical staff, schools depend on substitutes, and now more than ever substitutes need and deserve to have health coverage.

    Please take a moment to email Gov. Inslee, your legislators, and the SEBB Board. Please make the letter your own.

    Below are some suggested messages:
     
    •    Identify yourself as an SPS educator.
    •    We want to keep our community together.
    •    At a time when we are all making sacrifices, health insurance for substitutes should not be one of them.
    •    Substitutes are a vital part of the Seattle Public Schools (SPS) community.
    •    We are all in this together. Let’s take care of each other during this crisis.
    •    Please support all educators during this moment of need.

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    Support the Plan 1 COLA Bills

    Pensions are not a social service program; they are deferred compensation from a lifetime of service to our students and the citizens of our state. A COLA is just that, an increase to keep up with the rising cost of living. Without a reliable COLA over the last decade, Plan 1 retirees have continued to lose pace to rising costs -- with those who have been retired longest having lost 30 percent or more of their purchasing power since retirement in the 1980s.

    Plan 1 retirees have received only one increase of 1.5 percent since 2010. It is time to support the educators who taught Washington's students, the bus drivers who drove them safely to school, and other Plan 1 public servants who dutifully served our students and our state. Please pass HB 1390 and SB 5400  from the floor with a 3 percent increase in July 2020.

    Email your legislators and urge them to support a Plan 1 COLA. House Bill 1390 and Senate Bill 5400 have moved from Rules to the Floor and we need legislators to vote and get these bills off of the floor. Please contact your House and Senate members today and ask them to pass the Plan 1 COLA. Please let your legislators know you want them to take a vote and support these bills so that Plan 1 retirees' pensions can keep pace to inflation. 

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    Email the Wenatchee Valley College Board of Trustees: Replace President Richardson

    The tenured faculty of Wenatchee Valley College have overwhelmingly voted NO Confidence in longtime college President Jim Richardson, and we demand that the WVC Board of Trustees replace him with new leadership.

    • President Richardson’s fiscal mismanagement resulting in two financial crises in the last three years.
    • The effects of the current catastrophic crisis, which has resulted in layoffs and furlough days for classified and exempt employees with the possibility of more in the future affecting all college employees.
    • Numerous capital projects leading to mounting debt.President Richardson’s divisive manner on campus in handling the crisis since it was made public
    • The president’s lack of leadership by his complete evasion of any responsibility for the crisis while misrepresenting to college employees and the media about what has caused the current financial crisis.
    • The president’s salary and the college’s student FTEs in comparison to other presidents and community colleges.
    • The most significant reason why faculty are demanding President Richardson’s immediate removal is the negative effect his mismanagement has had on students.
    • The current financial crisis has resulted in a reduction in essential support services on both the Omak and Wenatchee campuses. Students have every right to expect all of the services they are paying for.

    Please email the Board of Trustees and explain to them why our college and our students need and deserve new leadership.

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    Clark College Faculty Deserve Equitable Pay: Email the Board!

    Jane Jacobsen, Paul Speer and the rest of the Clark College Board of Trustees have the power and responsiblity to authorize a fair contract that provides competitive, equitable pay for striking Clark College faculty members.

    Since negotiations began 15 months ago in October of 2018, our goal has remained the same: A fair contract that provides competitive pay for ALL Clark College faculty, including equitable pay for our part-time professors. The Clark College administration and Board of Trustees still refuse to negotiate a fair contract. As our college's leaders, they are responsible for the lack of a contract settlement.

    Our union’s goal is clear: A fair contract with competitive, equitable pay so we can attract and keep qualified, committed faculty for Clark College students. 

    Use the draft message provided below, or write your own. Thank you!

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    Protect educators' privacy & safety: Urge legislators to pass HB 1888! 

    House Bill 1888 would prevent public employers from releasing employees’ birth dates and payroll deduction information. Jennifer Marquez-Shell, a teacher-librarian from the Federal Way Education Association, recently spoke at a rally and implored lawmakers to pass HB 1888.

    “I support House Bill 1888 because along with other educators and public workers, I deserve privacy and safety. I love my job, but my commitment to students and quality public education shouldn’t put my privacy and safety at risk.” Marquez-Shell said. “This bill will prevent my employer from releasing my birth date to those who may have bad intentions.

    "I urge legislators to pass HB 1888 and to protect the privacy and safety of teachers and other public workers across Washington.”

    Right now is a perfect time to email your legislators and urge them to protect our personal information and safety. Please email them with the message below -- you can use the provided text or write your own. Either way, please let your legislators and Gov. Inslee know you value your privacy and safety, and urge them to pass HB 1888.

     

  • Email SBE to Support Flexible Graduation Pathways

     Please write to the State Board of Education today and encourage them to adopt their rules as written.

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    Support Gov. Inslee's K-12 budget & oppose the Senate Republicans' punitive plan

    Gov. Inslee and Senate Republicans have very different K-12 school funding plans. Inslee's $4 billion K-12 budget plan includes a substantial increase in pay for all public school employees, raising beginning teacher base pay to nearly $55,000. Inslee's educator compensation plan also protects local collective bargaining rights, maintaining the flexibility for school districts to meet the needs of their students. WEA supports Inslee's budget, which is the best K-12 budget proposed in recent memory.

    In contrast, the Senate Republicans released a plan inspired by Betsy DeVos and Donald Trump that is punitive, reckless and bad for public schools. The Senate budget plan:
    • Cuts pay for many teachers.
    • Slashes special ed funding by prohibiting use of local funds for special ed.
    • Freezes funding for small rural districts.
    • Increases class size and reduces the number of staff in schools across the state by eliminating I-1351.
    • Lowers teaching requirements, allowing anyone to teach as long as they pass a basic background test. No teaching certificates would be required.
    • Expands the number of charter schools.
    • Sets up the funding mechanisms for statewide school vouchers – privatizing public education.
    • Severely limits local collective bargaining, the right to strike and due process.

    Email your legislators and urge them to SUPPORT Gov. Inslee's K-12 compensation plan and budget and to OPPOSE Senate Republicans' punitive and reckless proposal.

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    Email your legislators and tell them to fully fund basic education!

    Washington legislators are being fined $100,000 a day by the state Supreme Court because they don't have a plan for fully funding K-12 basic education by Sept. 1, 2018. Email your local legislators and tell them it's time to keep the McCleary promise and to fund smaller K-12 class sizes and additional support staff for ALL students. And fully fund competitive and professional base pay for teachers and education support professionals so we can continue to attract and keep caring, qualified and committed educators for our students. Let them know what you think!

  • Tell Gov. Inslee: Don't Shortchange Our Students in Your Budget

    Billionaire education reformers want Gov. Jay Inslee and the Legislature to pass more misguided policies like tying test scores to evaluations, expanding charter schools and limiting local collective bargaining for school employees. They want to lowball McCleary, privatize our schools and shortchange our kids.

    Gov. Inslee, who just won re-election with our support, will be releasing his state budget plan in December. 

    Email Gov. Inslee and tell him to fully fund public schools as stated in the Student Bill of Rights recently approved by the WEA Board. Emphasize all or one of them (cut and paste or write your own message):

    • All students have a right to well-maintained schools, current curriculum, safe transportation and adequate school supplies. Students must have access to 21st century technology. Special education, gifted, learning assistance program, and transitional bilingual education for English language learners are essential. This requires fully funding a high-quality, well-rounded basic education so all children have equal opportunity to succeed.
    • All students have a right to small class sizes and professional support services that provide the individual one-on-one attention they need. This requires fully funding smaller K-12 class size ratios and additional support services as required by voter-approved I-1351.
    • All students have a right to be taught by caring, committed and qualified teachers and education support professionals. This requires fully funding competitive, professional base pay and benefits to attract and keep high-quality K-12 school employees, and maintain flexibility for school districts to supplement educators’ pay beyond the base state salary to meet local needs.
    • All students have a right to learn in clean and safe school facilities, including ample classroom space equipped with modern technology. This requires fully funding school construction to modernize existing schools, build new schools and expand classroom capacity.
    • All students have right to attend local public schools that have the flexibility to meet their unique needs. This requires fully funding basic education while ensuring that parents, educators, and community members have a voice in shaping their public schools, including the ability to approve levies to support enrichment programs beyond basic education.
  • I support the House budget

    We are nearing the finish line for the session. Both the House and Senate have released and approved their own budget proposals so negotiations will begin soon on the final budget.

    Tell your lawmakers to support our students and our educators by approving the House budget. It makes incremental progress to address both the educator shortage and McCleary obligations. These are modest, but important steps that include:

    • raises and more mentoring for new teachers
    • bonuses for certificated staff with professional certification
    • a new step at the top of the salary schedule for veteran teachers
    • an equalized NBCT bonus for those working in high poverty schools
    • a 1 percent increase for classified staff

    Let your elected officials know that you support the House budget proposal because it supports our students and it supports us. We have provided a sample message, but we encourage you to use your own words.

  • Tell your senator to focus on fully funding education, period!

    The Senate Ways and Means Committee passed an amendment on a party line vote to its so-called McCleary "solution" (2SSB 6195) that would restrict your ability to negotiate TRI pay, effective July 1. This bill also delays full implementation of McCleary, dragging out the timeline for providing educator raises and fully funding basic education.

     Specifically, the proposal would limit the type of work you could bargain for, outside the regular work day and basic education. Here are just a few examples of what this means:

    • TRI pay is eliminated; all supplemental pay must be time-based.
    • Additional pay for classroom overloads would not be allowed -- which means no relief for those having some of the highest class sizes in the country.
    • Kindergartner teachers wouldn't get paid for extra work associated with WA KIDS.
    • Teachers could no longer be compensated for the many extra hours they put in to keep our schools running -- grading papers, prepping assignments, drafting lesson plans and communicating with parents are a few examples.

    The state Legislature has continued dragging its feet on educator pay for too long. We face an educator shortage. Local districts need to retain the ability to pay enough in order to attract and keep quality educators and to address local needs.

    Let your elected officials know that taking away your right to bargain will not attract and retain educators in this state.

    Send a message. We have provided a sample, but encourage you to use your own words.

  • Tell the Legislature to Support Educators and Troopers

    Late last Friday, the Senate proposed a 7.5 percent pay raise for state troopers. The lawmakers noted that there’s a trooper shortage, and the best way to attract more people to the job is to provide a competitive salary.  
     
    We couldn’t agree more.  The best way to attract professionals is to provide a competitive salary.  
     
    That’s why it should be easy to provide at least 7.5% to attract and keep public educators as a way to help with the shortages seen statewide. 
     
    The legislature is being held in contempt of court.  The fines have been adding up because of their failure to meet their constitutional obligation to amply fund public education.
     
    We applaud the willingness to act to make troopers' salaries more competitive, but we are left to wonder we face continued delays on educator pay.
     
    The majority of State Troopers happen to be male.
    The majority of public school educators happen to be female.
     
    Check out these stats:  
    • Between 2003 and 2014, teachers saw their average base salaries decline by 7.5 percent (in constant dollars.)  
    • In 2010-11, the average teacher salary in Washington State was 88% of what comparable occupations offered.
    • In 2015, the legislature gave the State Patrol a 10% raise (over two years), plus $131 a month increase in health care contributions.  We got a 3% COLA, a one-time temporary 1.8% raise, and $12 a month toward insurance.  
    This is about paying competitive wages to public servants regardless of their gender. There’s nothing more basic than pay. It’s true for our trooper colleagues and it’s true and constitutionally mandated for public educators.
     
    Contact your senator and let him/her know that it’s time to stop shortchanging the public educators that happen to be mostly women teaching and working with our kids. Meet your paramount duty: pay comparable wages for public educators.  
     

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    Support the Student Testing Bill of Rights

    Share this petition:  

    Too much testing steals time from student learning. That's the message we want to send to state officials. Please add your name to the Student Testing Bill of Rights, which we'll deliver to the State Board of Education and elected leaders in Olympia. 2016 is a great opportunity to finally de-link standardized testing from high school graduation requirements. Add your name now!

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    Support the Student Testing Bill of Rights

    Share this petition:  

    Too much testing steals time from student learning. That's the message we want to send to state officials. Please add your name to the Student Testing Bill of Rights, which we'll deliver to the State Board of Education and elected leaders in Olympia. 2016 is a great opportunity to finally de-link standardized testing from high school graduation requirements. Add your name now!

  • Thank you Rep. Reichert!

     

    US Rep. Dave Reichert from Washington's 8th Congressional District was one of only eight Republicans in the US House who voted against funding school vouchers in Washington, D.C.
    Considering the current contention in Congress, Reichert's vote was quite courageous. His vote was also indicative of the independence Reichert has shown on public education during his time in office. It's important to recognize lawmakers who step up and do what's right for kids -- even if it means breaking with their political party. Send him an email and thank him!
  • Thank you Rep. Reichert!

     

    US Rep. Dave Reichert from Washington's 8th Congressional District was one of only eight Republicans in the US House who voted against funding school vouchers in Washington, D.C.
    Considering the current contention in Congress, Reichert's vote was quite courageous. His vote was also indicative of the independence Reichert has shown on public education during his time in office. It's important to recognize lawmakers who step up and do what's right for kids -- even if it means breaking with their political party. Send him an email and thank him!
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    Reconsider, Bob: Drop your charter school motion & focus on educating ALL children

    The Washington Supreme Court was clear: The state's controversial charter school law, which was bankrolled by corporate ed reform billionaires, is unconstitutional. The court threw out the entire law by a 6-3 vote earlier this month. Yet Democratic Attorney General Bob Ferguson, at the request of private charter school operators, has petitioned the court to reconsider its decision, allowing these private charter schools to continue to receive public taxpayer dollars.

    We have a better idea -- let's petition Attorney General Ferguson and urge him to drop his ill-conceived request for reconsideration. Instead, as the state's top law enforcement officer, Attorney General Ferguson should focus on getting the state to comply with another Washington Supreme Court case -- the McCleary school funding decision.

  • I support my KEA bargaining team

    Tell the Kelso School District HR Director Jenae Gomes and Superintendent Glenn Gelbrich to offer Kelso educators a fair contract settlement that gives them the support they need to ensure all students get a high-quality education.

    Please personalize your experience and why you deserve a fair contract. Please keep comments respectful.

  • Tell the Seattle School Board to RESPECT our kids and educators!

    Send an email to your Seattle School Board members and Supt. Nyland and tell them it's time to negotiate a fair contract settlement with Seattle teachers and support professionals. More than 53,000 Seattle students are out of school and 5,000 SEA members are on strike because of the Seattle School Board's refusal to offer a fair contract agreement. Seattle's educators are standing up to ensure all of our students receive the support they need to be successful in school.

    Here are major unresolved issues:

    • Professional pay: We need to attract and keep caring, qualified educators in Seattle, which is one of the most expensive cities in the United States. We’ve gone six years with no state COLA and five years with no state increase in funding for educator health care.
    • Fair teacher and staff evaluations: Teachers should be evaluated fairly and consistently, and the focus should be on providing the support all teachers need to be successful.
    • Reasonable testing: Too much standardized testing is stealing time away from classroom learning
    • ESA workload relief: Educational staff associates provide students with crucial services and support, but their current workloads mean many students aren’t getting the help they need.
    • Office professional workload relief: Office professionals do crucial work and play many roles – and they should be compensated for the extra work they do.
    • Student equity around discipline and the opportunity gap: We need to focus on equity issues at every school in Seattle, not just some.
    • The administration’s proposal to make teachers work a longer day for 63 cents: It is unrealistic to expect teachers to work more hours without pay them fairly, and the district administration has been unable to explain how their proposal would help students.
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    Revenue for roads, but not kids?

    Legislators can still fund I-1351: email them!

    Earlier this week, legislators voted to raise taxes by nearly $12 billion to pay for roads --  right after they passed an operating budget that cuts $2 billion in funding for smaller class sizes required by I-1351.

    It’s not a done deal though – legislative efforts to overturn or delay I-1351 have failed so far, and the Legislature remains in special session.

    That means we have a great opportunity in the next three days: Email your lawmakers and urge them to increase revenue AND fund the smaller K-12 class sizes required by I-1351.

    If legislators were willing to raise taxes by nearly $12 billion to pay for asphalt and roads, surely they can find the revenue needed to fully fund the smaller class sizes our kids deserve. And until they overturn or delay I-1351, it’s still the law – and part of their obligation to fully fund basic education as required by the Supreme Court’s McCleary decision.

    A tax on carbon pollution and on investment profits (capital gains) are two viable sources of new revenue to pay for education. A fairer business and occupation tax is another option.

    Email your legislators ASAP:

  • (No Title)

    Revenue for roads, but not kids?

    Legislators can still fund I-1351: email them!

    Earlier this week, legislators voted to raise taxes by nearly $12 billion to pay for roads --  right after they passed an operating budget that cuts $2 billion in funding for smaller class sizes required by I-1351.

    It’s not a done deal though – legislative efforts to overturn or delay I-1351 have failed so far, and the Legislature remains in special session.

    That means we have a great opportunity in the next three days: Email your lawmakers and urge them to increase revenue AND fund the smaller K-12 class sizes required by I-1351.

    If legislators were willing to raise taxes by nearly $12 billion to pay for asphalt and roads, surely they can find the revenue needed to fully fund the smaller class sizes our kids deserve. And until they overturn or delay I-1351, it’s still the law – and part of their obligation to fully fund basic education as required by the Supreme Court’s McCleary decision.

    A tax on carbon pollution and on investment profits (capital gains) are two viable sources of new revenue to pay for education. A fairer business and occupation tax is another option.

    Email your legislators ASAP:

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    Senate Republicans attack our bargaining rights, TRI pay, funding for smaller K-12 class sizes

    In an irresponsible, last-minute political ploy, Senate Republicans have introduced legislation that would limit our ability to negotiate TRI pay with our school districts – a direct attack on our collective bargaining rights.

    They also have a separate bill that overturns I-1351 and eliminates funding for smaller class sizes – in exchange for a one-time 3.8 percent salary “bribe” for educators.

    See below to email your legislators now and tell them in clear terms: We will not stand for any attack on our collective bargaining rights, and we won’t be bought off.

    Senate Bill 6052 would immediately restrict school districts’ ability to increase teacher pay for Time, Responsibility and Incentive (TRI).  That would prevent districts from making progress toward paying teachers competitive, professional wages.  Local TRI pay is a major part of many teachers’ salaries.

    The Legislature has not funded a teacher cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for the last six years, and the same Senate Republicans have proposed a mere 3 percent COLA for teachers spread over two years, and no increase in health care funding. Legislators themselves are getting a more than 11 percent pay raise. The Senate budget comes nowhere near funding the higher salaries called for by the Legislature’s own recommendations, based on comparable professions. The Senate Republicans also have proposed overturning voter-approved I-1351, which would keep Washington students packed into some of the most overcrowded classrooms in the country. That bill is SB 6059.

    “These Senate bills are a cynical and punitive political attack on teachers,” said Kim Mead, WEA president. “Let’s be clear – these bills have nothing to do with funding the quality education our kids deserve. Instead of complying with the Supreme Court’s McCleary decision and fully funding K-12 basic education, Senate Republicans have decided to mask their own negligence and inaction by punishing teachers.”

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    Tell your state representatives:

    Fund our health care!

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    Tell your  legislators: Pass a budget that fully funds I-1351 and smaller K-12 class sizes for all!

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    Tell your  legislators: Pass a budget that fully funds I-1351 and smaller K-12 class sizes for all!

  • Good for the gander, good for the goose


    The independent salary commission has approved an 11.2 percent pay raise for elected officials over the next two years.
     
    Tell your legislators: what's good for the gander is good for the goose. All the reasons they got their raises apply to educators, too. The Legislature even has a comparable wage study for educators already completed. They should use it to provide professional competitive wages.

    If you believe that our kids deserve highest quality educators in their schools, if you believe that educators deserve fair and reasonable compensation, based upon the requirements of the job and relevant economic indicators, then send a send a note reminding your legislators that what's good for the gander is good for the goose.
     
    Educators deserve professional competitive pay -- 11.2 percent is a good place to start.

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    Washington legislators & Governor Inslee: We need fair, accountable, shared revenue sources

    Sign the revenue petition from Washington United for Fair Revenue!

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    Support two-year higher ed faculty!

    HB 1863 would allow colleges to use local college funds to pay for bargained increments. The bill successfully passed the state House on a bipartisan vote, but in the Senate the bill did not even get a hearing and so died for this session.

    However, we still have a chance to assure that our community and technical college faculty will get increment funding above turnover savings this year for the first time in six years. In House Appropriations, Rep. Larry Springer was successful in passing an amendment onto the budget that put our bill into place for the two years of the biennium.  

    The House budget now goes into negotiations with the senate. The Senate does not currently have this proviso in its budget and we know that the SBCTC and individual college presidents and trustees are actively lobbying legislators to remove that proviso. 

    So it is imperative that you let your legislators know how important and urgent this is to community and technical college faculty. If the budget proviso doesn’t stay in the final budget, we will go into eight years of no increments, and while getting a COLA is a very welcome and long overdue adjustment, college faculty will still be the only group that does not get step movement on their salary schedules. 

    Please take a minute to contact your legislators and encourage them to let House budget negotiators know how important this issue is to you.

  • It's TIME to fully fund our public schools

    Send an email to Gov. Jay Inslee and your legislators and tell them to fully fund Washington's public schools.

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    Fund smaller K-12 sizes, don’t amend I-1351

    Instead of funding smaller class sizes for K-12 students in all grades, the Legislature wants to amend I-1351 so it only applies to students in grades K-3.

    Earlier this week, the state Senate voted to limit class-size funding to grades K-3 and to put I-1351 back on the ballot next fall. They also voted to eliminate class-size support for students in high-poverty schools – students who especially benefit from additional help. Further, the Senate is denying students the attention they deserve in STEM courses and the support they need from school counselors and support personnel.

    The budget proposal approved by the state House also cuts funding for class-size reduction in grades 4-12.

    At the same time, a new poll shows that a majority of voters still support smaller classes for students in every grade level instead of just K-3.

    More than 1 million Washington residents voted in support of I-1351 six months ago, and now the Legislature wants to dramatically change it? That's just wrong, and our kids deserve better.

    Send a message to your Senator and House members to fund -- not amend -- I-1351 and to provide smaller class sizes for kids in all grades and all ZIP codes, as voters approved.

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    Do the fair thing: Raise revenue!

    If the Legislature can approve $8.7 billion in tax breaks for Boeing, it can find the revenue to fund public education while protecting the social and health services families rely on.

    Yet some legislators claim we can’t afford to reduce K-12 class sizes, pay professional compensation or fully fund our schools. They refuse to consider new sources of revenue -- even though solutions exist:

    A tax on investment profits (capital gains) that exempts homes and retirement income.

    A carbon tax on big polluters.

    Closing ineffective tax loopholes.

    Washington's tax system is the most regressive and unfair in the United States.

    “A new teacher pays three times more in taxes as a percentage than our wealthiest citizens,” Gov. Jay Inslee said.

    In comparison, state Senate budget writer Sen. Andy Hill, a retired Microsoft millionaire, has 21 investment funds that provide more than $400,000 in annual income. He pays no state or local tax on that income, according to media reports.

    Email your legislators and urge them to raise the revenue we need to fully fund Washington’s public schools and services.

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    Stop the state health care takeover!

    If you’re a K-12 school employee, your health care coverage is under attack in the state Senate!

    The Senate just passed a state budget that eliminates the current K-12 health-care system and replaces it with a new state-run plan that will cost more, provide fewer benefits and limit your health-care choices.

     

    Under the Senate takeover plan (SB 5976), there’s no guarantee you’d keep your current doctors and health providers, and you could pay more for less coverage. Their takeover plan also eliminates local control over educator health benefits, which means decisions about your health care will be made in Olympia instead at the school district level.

     

    Incredibly, the Senate budget spends $18 million to create a new state health care bureaucracy -- but not a dime of new funding for your individual health care.

     

    Under the Senate budget, the per-employee allocation for educator health care would remain frozen at $768 a month for another two years, for a total of six years with no increase.

     

    Net result? The rising cost of health care will wipe out the minimal 3 percent COLA the Senate budget provides, and many educators will actually take home less money in their paychecks. Senate budget writer Sen. Andy Hill and education committee leader Sen. Steve Litzow are two of the main proponents of this plan.

     

    Email Hill and Litzow and your legislators, and tell them to protect and fund the current health care system for K-12 employees.

     

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    Advocate for a state budget that funds smaller K-12 class sizes and improves professional compensation

    The Washington Legislature is working to write and pass a new two-year state budget. Preliminary budget plans fall far short of funding K-12 public schools as required by the state Supreme Court, the state constitution and Washington voters.

    Email your legislators and urge them to pass a final state budget that:

    Increases salaries to move toward professional, competitive wages, recognizing that educators have gone six years without a state-funded COLA and have lost 13 percent to inflation, and legislators themselves are likely to receive an 11.2 percent raise

    Increases funding for educator health care in line with increased costs, recognizing that the state health care allocation for K-12 educators has not increased since 2011 and that every budget proposal increases funding for state employees' health care.

    Funds smaller class sizes in every grade level, with an emphasis on low-income schools, recognizing that voters approved I-1351 and smaller K-12 class sizes are now part of basic education

    Raises revenue through a tax on investment profits (capital gains), taxes on polluters and closing tax loopholes, recognizing our current tax system is unfair and fails to provide adequate funding for education and social and health services

  • Support paraeducators and amend 5179

    WEA members are working hard to try and support E2SSB 5179 — if it is amended and the required professional development is also funded.

    E2SSB 5179 sets up a paraeducator licensure board, requires a two year piloting program and requires paraeducators to become licensed within three years beginning with the 2017-18 school year. It also asks the community colleges to revamp their associate of arts programs to meet the new standards.

    Unfortunately, the current version of the bill does not fund the cost of the classes paras may have to take, and it doesn’t actually direct anyone to develop the courses. That means it could be an unfunded mandate for school districts, or it could force paraeducators to pay for the courses out of their own pockets. Since paraeducators are some of the lowest paid K-12 employees, many will not be able to afford the courses and will lose their jobs.

    WEA is lobbying for an amendment to E2SSB 5179 to address those issues. Without those changes, WEA cannot support the bill. Email your legislators and tell them to amend E2ESSB 5179 so that it provides funding and directs OSPI and educational service districts to develop the appropriate programs for paraeducators.

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    Don't tie test scores to teacher evaluations! Focus on funding compensation & class size

    Instead of fully funding K-12 education as ordered by the Supreme Court, the Washington Senate passed ESSB 5748, which mandates the use of student test scores in teacher evaluations. Now the bill is in the state House, and WEA members are emailing their representatives and urging them to oppose this misguided, politically motivated piece of legislation. Help kill ESSB 5748 -- email your legislators ASAP.

    Tell them why this is a bad policy and how it doesn't help kids learn and how it doesn't help teachers teach! 

    Tell your legislators that ESSB 5748 is a distraction from what really matters: fully funding our public schools, including competitive professional compensation for educators and smaller K-12 class sizes as required by I-1351. Share your personal perspective as an education professional. Let them know how their decisions in Olympia affect you and your students.

  • It's TIME to fully fund our public schools

     Send an email to Gov. Jay Inslee and your legislators and tell them to fully fund Washington's public schools.

  • Stop Sen. Litzow's anti-teacher campaign

    Sen. Steve Litzow, the chairman of the state Senate Education Committee, is sponsoring legislation that mandates the use of state test scores in teacher evaluations.

    Sen. Litzow is also pushing another anti-teacher bill that would base teacher layoffs on principal evaluations – and allow principals to essentially fire teachers for any reason at all, with no guarantee of placement at another school.

    Just think about what these bills would mean to you and your co-workers. Send Sen. Litzow and your state senator a message NOW and tell them how this legislation would affect you.

    Sen. Litzow’s bills are a disrespectful and punitive attack on teachers and the education profession, and none of his proposals does anything to help kids. In fact, Sen. Litzow’s campaign against teachers is a deliberate distraction from what the voters and the Supreme Court have ordered Sen. Litzow and the Legislature to do: Fully fund our public schools.

    By promoting an anti-teacher and anti-educator agenda, Sen. Litzow is ignoring the Legislature’s paramount duty to fully fund the education our kids deserve – including professional compensation and smaller K-12 class sizes. Email your senator now, and let him or her know you won’t -- and we are not going to -- stand for it. Tell them to please oppose SB 5748, 5749 and 5744.

    Please personalize your message -- tell your own story!

  • Stop Sen. Litzow's anti-teacher campaign

    Sen. Mark Mullet and Sen. Steve Litzow, the chairman of the state Senate Education Committee, are sponsoring legislation that mandates the use of state test scores in teacher evaluations.

    Sen. Litzow is also pushing another anti-teacher bill that would base teacher layoffs on principal evaluations – and allow principals to essentially fire teachers for any reason at all, with no guarantee of placement at another school.

    Just think about what these bills would mean to you and your co-workers. Send Sen. Litzow and your state senator a message NOW and tell them how this legislation would affect you.

    Sen. Litzow’s bills are a disrespectful and punitive attack on teachers and the education profession, and none of his proposals does anything to help kids. In fact, Sen. Litzow’s campaign against teachers is a deliberate distraction from what the voters and the Supreme Court have ordered Sen. Litzow and the Legislature to do: Fully fund our public schools.

    By promoting an anti-teacher and anti-educator agenda, Sen. Litzow is ignoring the Legislature’s paramount duty to fully fund the education our kids deserve – including professional compensation and smaller K-12 class sizes. Email your senator now, and let him or her know you won’t -- and we are not going to -- stand for it. Tell them to please oppose SB 5748, 5749 and 5744.

    Please personalize your message -- tell your own story!

  • Email Gov. Inslee and the Legislature:

    Gov. Jay Inslee has released his education budget proposal, which falls short of fully funding smaller class sizes as required by Initiative 1351 or funding the competitive professional compensation educators deserve. 

    Gov. Inslee's budget provides NO increase in funding for K-12 educators' health care, although he does propose increasing health care funding for state employees, including legislators. The state needs to provide competitive professional pay if Washington truly wants all students to have caring, qualified and committed educators to guide their way.

    If we’re serious about every child’s future, let’s get serious about fully funding education. This means funding basic education as required by the Supreme Court's McCleary decision, including both reducing K-12 class sizes and improving professional compensation for all educators. Use WEA's cyberlobby tool to quickly and easily email the governor and your three legislators. We've provided a sample letter, but feel free to edit it with your own comments.

  • Vote No on SB 5246

     Tell your State Senator to vote No on SB 5246! 

  • Help reduce class sizes: Endorse I-1351!

     WEA members helped collect nearly 350,000 voter signatures, more than enough to qualify Initiative 1351 for the Nov. 4 ballot. I-1351 will reduce class sizes in K-12 classrooms across the state, and now we need to make sure it passes. Add your name to the growing list of WEA members who endorse I-1351 for smaller class sizes! Our goal is to get at least 1,351 WEA endorsements by Oct. 1. (If you add your name, you're giving the Class Size Counts campaign the permission to use your name as someone who supports I-1351.)

  • Help reduce class sizes: Endorse I-1351!

     WEA members helped collect nearly 350,000 voter signatures, more than enough to qualify Initiative 1351 for the Nov. 4 ballot. I-1351 will reduce class sizes in K-12 classrooms across the state, and now we need to make sure it passes. Add your name to the growing list of WEA members who endorse I-1351 for smaller class sizes! Our goal is to get at least 1,351 WEA endorsements by Oct. 1. (If you add your name, you're giving the Class Size Counts campaign the permission to use your name as someone who supports I-1351.)

  • Stop fudging the budget; start funding schools!

    Across Seattle, more than 30 schools have already voted NO on their school budgets -- that's more than 80% of the schools which have voted so far! We're saying NO to accepting cuts to school budgets that will leave us with a skeleton crew of office professionals, and fewer librarians, counselors and core teachers. We just can't run schools this way.

  • Take action to defeat HB 2800

    We oppose mandating state test scores in teacher evaluations!

    Email your legislators and tell them in clear terms why you oppose the mandated use of state test scores in teacher evaluations. Below is a sample email message, but we encourage you to personalize it to make it more effective. Tell your story. Scroll to the bottom of this page for talking points.

  • Take action to defeat HB 2800 & SB 5880

    We oppose mandating state test scores in teacher evaluations!

    Email your legislators and tell them in clear terms why you oppose the mandated use of state test scores in teacher evaluations. Below is a sample email message, but we encourage you to personalize it to make it more effective. Tell your story. Scroll to the bottom of this page for talking points.

  • Oppose HB 2800: Bad for kids, bad for teachers

     We oppose mandating state test scores in teacher evaluations!

    Email your legislators and tell them in clear terms why you and nearly every other teacher in Washington state oppose the mandated use of state test scores in teacher evaluations.

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  • Petition to Sec. Duncan, Supt. Dorn & Sen. Litzow:

    We oppose mandating state test scores in teacher evaluations!

    Politicians in Olympia and Washington, DC are attempting to mandate the use of state test scores in teacher evaluations in Washington, even though there is no research showing it will help students. We believe this top-down overemphasis on test scores is not in the best interest of students or teachers.

    Please add your name to our petition!

  • Tell Arne Duncan to extend our ESEA waiver

    Tell US Education Secretary Arne Duncan and state Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn to extend our ESEA waiver. Give us the time we need to successfully implement our new teacher evaluation system.

    Explain that the hard work and success you've had creating and implementing the new teacher and principal evaluation system in your school district. Explain how making more dramatic changes to the system will undermine that work and undercut teachers' faith and confidence in the system. Tell them we need the time to implement the evaluation system the right way and to make sure it's truly providing the support and feedback we need to be successful.

    Urge them to do the right thing and extend Washington's ESEA waiver for three years.

  • Vote No on SB 5246

     Tell your State Senator to vote No on SB 5246! 

  • Email your state legislators about public education

    Your local legislators need to hear from you! Email your two House members and your state senator and let them know what you think about the education funding proposals and classroom policies they're debating in Olympia.

    Thank you!

  • Restore the educator COLA!

    Now is the time for the Legislature to restore the voter-approved cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for educators! 

    Thankfully, 53 members of the Washington House of Representatives have signed the COLA bill as sponsors, and Gov. Jay Inslee expressed strong support for restoring the voter-approved COLA for educators in his state of the state address. We have momentum, but we need your help keep it going.

    Enter your ZIP Code below and email your lawmakers.

    Let's send the Legislature a message! We need the COLA restoration bill to pass the House quickly so it can move to the Senate for approval and then to Gov. Inslee for his signatgure.

    Email your lawmakers and thank them if they sponsored the COLA, or urge them to support it if they didn't sponsor it. Enter your ZIP Code below.

    If the Legislature doesn't restore the COLA for 2014-15, educators will go six straight years without a COLA, and that's just not fair!

  • Restore the educator COLA!

    Now is the time for the Legislature to restore the voter-approved cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for educators! 

    Thankfully, 54 members of the Washington House of Representatives have signed the COLA bill as sponsors, 22 senators have signed the Senate version and Gov. Jay Inslee expressed strong support for restoring the voter-approved COLA for educators in his state of the state address. We have momentum, but we need your help keep it going.

    Enter your ZIP Code below and email your lawmakers.

    Let's send the Legislature a message! We need the COLA restoration bill to pass the House quickly so it can move to the Senate for approval and then to Gov. Inslee for his signatgure.

    Email your lawmakers and thank them if they sponsored the COLA, or urge them to support it if they didn't sponsor it. Enter your ZIP Code below.

    If the Legislature doesn't restore the COLA for 2014-15, educators will go six straight years without a COLA, and that's just not fair!

  • Restore the educator COLA!

    Now is the time for the Legislature to restore the voter-approved cost-of-living adjustment (COLA). The Legislature convened Jan. 13, and the Supreme Court has just ruled that there is nothing more basic than adequate pay for school employees. Yet if the Legislature doesn't restore the COLA now, educators will go SIX years without a state-funded COLA. That's just not fair!

    Let's send the Legislature a message! Email your lawmakers and tell them to sponsor the COLA restoration bill if they're in the House, and urge them to support it if they're in the Senate. Dozens of WEA members will be in Olympia Monday asking House members to sign and sponsor the bill, and together, we can get this bill passed. 

  • Don't play politics with teacher evaluations!

    Instead of reducing class sizes or restoring educator COLAs, Supt. of Public Instruction Randy Dorn and some state legislators are pushing to mandate the use of state test scores for teacher evaluations -- essentially playing politics with our students' education.

    The politicians claim Washington will lose its waiver from federal ESEA (No Child Left Behind) requirements unless state test scores are a mandatory part of teacher evaluations and some falsely claim we’ll lose millions in federal funding.

    WEA members strongly oppose this effort for a variety of reasons:

    • The current teacher evaluation law allows school districts to use state test scores, but doesn’t require it. It’s an issue that’s decided locally, which allows flexibility based on local needs.
    • The Legislature and Dorn already have made dramatic changes to our state’s teacher evaluation law. They’ve changed it three times in the last four years.
    • Teachers and administrators in all 295 school districts are working diligently to implement the new teacher evaluation system in a way that improves teaching and benefits students. Changing the evaluation law yet again as Dorn proposes will derail their hard work and good faith efforts to strengthen the teacher evaluation system.
    • Only 16-18 percent of Washington’s teachers teach subjects covered by state tests.
    • There’s no way to predict what the federal government will do regarding ESEA. Washington, D.C. is in disarray.
    • If U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan does revoke Washington’s ESEA waiver, nearly all of Washington’s nearly 3,000 K-12 public schools will be declared “failing” by the federal government. That’s a ludicrous idea, and it defies common sense.
    • If the ESEA waiver is revoked, a small amount of federal funding in some school districts will have to be spent on the purpose originally designated by ESEA, such as after-school programs for students. Contrary to Dorn’s claims, the loss of the waiver will NOT result in a funding cut. There will be NO loss of federal funding if the waiver is revoked.

  • Tell Supt. Randy Dorn to protect our privacy!

    KUOW in Seattle recently ran a story revealing that Supt. of Public Instruction Randy Dorn's office is entering into an agreement to share student and staff information with The Seattle Times. Though OSPI says that what it will share will be limited and protects student privacy, the agreement itself is very permissive. A copy of the agreement is in the KUOW story. FERPA, or the Federal Education Records Protection Act, protects student information, it does not provide the same protections for staff.

    It is possible that the Times could use this information in the same way that the New York Times and LA Times have to rank teachers according to student test scores. We know that those stories have had devastating effects on teachers. 

    Please contact Supt. Dorn to demand that he protect school staff information that could compromise your personal privacy or make connections between student test scores and teacher performance.

    The new teacher-principal evaluation program was developed to ensure that evaluations would reflect a wide range of measures. We believe that teaching effectiveness can't be narrowed down to the results of standardized tests. If if the use of student test scores is mandated (which they are currently not) that is a personnel record that shouldn't be disclosed to the media.

    Please email Supt. Dorn and tell to prevent the release of this information to The Seattle Times.

    Please personalize the sample email provided below. OSPI Communications Director Nathan Olson also will receive a copy of your email.

  • Tell the BTC Board of Trustees: Fair Contract Now!

    Tell the Bellingham Technical College Board of Trustees that faculty and support staff deserve a fair contract now! Jim Groves, James Cunningham, Debbie Ahl and Lisa Woo have the resources and responsiblity to offer a fair contract that provides modest pay raises and reasonable workloads. Send them an email now! Major issues include:

    PAY: We’re seeking an across-the-board salary increase for all faculty and support staff, plus stipend increases. The administration has offered inadequate compensation increases. We haven’t received a COLA (cost-of-living adjustment) or across-the-board raise in five years. Salaries for top administration positions have increased dramatically in that time.

    WORKLOAD: Faculty workload and class sizes have increased in recent years. We’re seeking workload relief so we can still provide the quality education our students deserve. The administration refuses to reduce workload in any meaningful way.

    Surveillance:  We want faculty and staff to be respected, trusted and treated as professionals by the administration. We oppose the administration’s demand to spy on BTC employees.

  • Tell the BTC Board of Trustees: Fair Contract Now!

    Tell members of the Bellingham Technical College Board of Trustees that faculty members and support staff deserve a fair contract, including modest pay increases and reasonable workloads.

  • Offer Seattle educators a fair contract settlement

    Tell the Seattle School Board to offer Seattle educators a fair contract settlement that gives them the support they need to ensure all students get a high-quality education.

    Here's a draft message to the board, but please personalize.

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    Stop the attack on educator pay

    Email Sen. Andy Hill and Sen. Rodney Tom and tell them to stop pushing legislation that limits our ability to negotiate salaries at the local level.

    Their proposal, which is one section of Senate Bill 5946, is an assault on collective bargaining, local decision making and educator compensation. Hill and Tom want to limit educator salaries, even though they voted for a state budget that continues the COLA suspension for six years straight! And two years ago, the Senate passed a budget that actually cut teacher salaries by 1.9 percent! 

    Teachers will be 16 percent behind inflation because of the state's failure to adequately fund salaries, yet Hill and Tom want to limit the ability to increase salaries through local collective bargaining. Until the state raises educator salaries, local bargaining is the ONLY way to get a salary increase. Hill and Tom also want to:

    * Eliminate existing health-care coverage for part-time school employees.

    * Allow administrators to transfer and fire teachers regardless of job performance.

    Instead of attacking educator pay, health care and job security, the Legislature should fund smaller class sizes and the educator COLA. It's also important for the Legislature to allow community and technical college faculty members to bargain for locally funded step increases.

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    Take action to support higher ed salary increments 

    Here’s where the community and technical college faculty sit as of the start of the second special session on June 12:

    • No COLA
    • No increment funding from the state
    • No ability to use local funds for increments
    • Other employees in the state with no COLA are getting step increases
    • Other state employees are getting percentage increases AND step increases.
    • Only our hardworking community and technical college faculty get  NO COLA and NO increments (steps)
    This has been going on four years -- and it will be six years unless the Legislature does something.
    Since HB 1348 died as a policy bill that would authorize college boards to use local funds to pay for locally bargained increments, WEA and AFT have been working in earnest to get a budget proviso that would allow colleges to at least use local funds for salary increments for the two-year budget cycle.
    Even that modest proposal has been rejected!  What gives??
    The State Board for Community and Technical Colleges and the Trustees Association did not support HB 1348 and have continued to oppose any temporary fixes in the budget as well. Their opposition, along with the opposition of several individual college presidents, has hurt our efforts as well.
    Email your legislators today and ask them to tell budget writers Ross Hunter and Pat Sullivan to support a budget proviso allowing community and technical colleges to use local funds to fund locally bargained step increases for faculty members. Your message also will go to Marty Brown, executive director of the State Board for Community and Technical Colleges.
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    Help defeat the bad Senate bills!

    Both the House and the Senate budget proposals fail to fund voter-approved COLAs. Legislators need to know failing to fund educators’ COLAs for six years straight is both unacceptable and unfair. It is even more unreasonable – and unrealistic -- to force educators to accept additional financial sacrifice in addition to the loss of health care coverage, job security, bargaining rights and due process. Yet that’s exactly what the Senate Majority Caucus Coalition proposes:

    ·         SB 5905 harms all part-time school employees by eliminating their current health care benefits while exempting legislators.

    ·         SB 5242 is an attack on the teaching profession, due process, collective bargaining and local control. Gov. Jay Inslee has said he opposes the bill.

    ·         SB 5851 creates a risky defined-contribution only retirement plan for public employees.

    ·         SB 5898 reduces local school district levy and levy equalization funding before the state meets its full obligation to fund basic education.

    ·         SB 5901 freezes locally negotiated teacher pay and is an attack on collective bargaining.

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    Protect higher ed health care and defeat SB 5905!

    As part of a budget deal in Olympia, legislators are pushing to eliminate existing health care benefits for part-time K-12 and higher education employees -- including college faculty members!

    Senate Bill 5905 forces part-time school employees into a yet-to-be-created health benefit exchange. This is a budget cut. If the Legislature passes SB 5905, it is highly likely school employees will pay more for fewer benefits.

    Many part-time school employees work specifically to earn health care coverage for their families, and eliminating eligibility for state-funded health coverage will make it more difficult to attract and retain quality employees.

    In a sense, what’s being proposed in Olympia is no different than Wal-Mart forcing employees onto government programs such as Medicaid or to otherwise fend for themselves. Higher education faculty members will especially feel the impact, since many work less than 30 hours a week.

    Meanwhile, legislators would still get full health benefits from the state! Part-time legislators would also continue to get dental, vision, life and long-term disability coverage from the state. But these would not be available through the state health care exchange, so all part-time K-12, higher ed and state employees would have to pay out-of-pocket for this or any other coverage beyond basic health insurance.

    Help defeat SB 5905 by emailing your local legislators and other key lawmakers.

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    Protect ESP health care and defeat SB 5905!

    As part of a budget deal in Olympia, legislators are pushing to eliminate existing health care benefits for part-time K-12 and higher education employees -- including education support professionals!

    Senate Bill 5905 forces part-time school employees into a yet-to-be-created health benefit exchange. This is a budget cut. If the Legislature passes SB 5905, it is highly likely school employees will pay more for fewer benefits.

    Many part-time school employees work specifically to earn health care coverage for their families, and eliminating eligibility for state-funded health coverage will make it more difficult to attract and retain quality employees.

    In a sense, what’s being proposed in Olympia is no different than Wal-Mart forcing employees onto government programs such as Medicaid or to otherwise fend for themselves. Classified employees will especially feel the impact, since many of us work less than 30 hours a week.

    Meanwhile, legislators would still get full health benefits from the state! Part-time legislators would also continue to get dental, vision, life and long-term disability coverage from the state. But these would not be available through the state health care exchange, so all part-time K-12, higher ed and state employees would have to pay out-of-pocket for this or any other coverage beyond basic health insurance.

    Help defeat SB 5905 by emailing your local legislators and other key lawmakers.

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    Thank Gov. Inslee for opposing SB 5242

    Gov. Jay Inslee has stated repeatedly he opposes Senate Bill 5242, which sometimes is described inaccurately as "mutual consent." Email the governor and thank him for supporting teachers and the education profession. If you helped with the governor's campaign, let him know how much you appreciate his opposition to SB 5242.

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     This is a test. Do not use

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    Protect our health care and defeat SB 5905!

    As part of a budget deal in Olympia, legislators are pushing to eliminate existing health care benefits for part-time K-12 and higher education employees. Senate Bill 5905 forces part-time school employees into a yet-to-be-created health benefit exchange. This is a budget cut. If the Legislature passes SB 5905, it is highly likely school employees will pay more for fewer benefits.

    Many part-time school employees work specifically to earn health care coverage for their families, and eliminating eligibility for state-funded health coverage will make it more difficult to attract and retain quality employees.

    In a sense, what’s being proposed in Olympia is no different than Wal-Mart forcing employees onto government programs such as Medicaid or to otherwise fend for themselves.

    Meanwhile, legislators would still get full health benefits from the state! Part-time legislators would also continue to get dental, vision, life and long-term disability coverage from the state. But these would not be available through the state health care exchange, so all part-time K-12, higher ed and state employees would have to pay out-of-pocket for this or any other coverage beyond basic health insurance.

    Help defeat SB 5905 by emailing your local legislators and other key lawmakers.

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    Class Size Counts: Sign the petition!

    Sign the petition to reduce our kids' class sizes. Washington's students are packed into the fourth-most-overcrowded classrooms in the country, and they need our help!

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    Invite your legislators to join us Saturday in Olympia!

    Email your legislators and invite them to join us Saturday morning (tomorrow, April 27) on the steps of the capitol!

  • What's your class size?

    Did you know that Washington has the 4th most crowded classrooms in the nation? Our kids deserve better.

    The State Supreme Court recently ruled that every Washington student has a constitutional right to a quality public education. Meeting this paramount duty begins with reducing class sizes.

  • Tell Monica you appreciate her support!

    Washington state Rep. Monica Stonier is a teacher in the Evergreen School District near Vancouver, and she is one of only three educators in the Legislature. She supports legislation to reduce class sizes. In all of the talk of evaluations we know that you can't be the best with 37 students in a class. 

    You can send Monica a quick message telling her about your class sizes and that you stand with her in Olympia.

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    Email your legislators ASAP: Enter your ZIP Code below

    Defeat SB 5242 -- and increase K-12 school funding

    Tell the Legislature to increase school funding, restore COLAs and reduce class sizes

    Senate Bill 5242 is a deceitful attack on teachers and basic fairness, and it puts every teacher at risk of losing his or her job. And it ignores what really matters: Increasing school funding, restoring educator COLAs and reducing overcrowded class sizes.

    WEA President Mary Lindquist calls Senate Bill 5242 "one of the worst bills we've ever seen. It's a bad bill, and no amount of compromise will make it better. It guts due process and puts every single teacher’s career in jeopardy.

    "A principal can transfer you out of your position for any reason -- the art you hang in your room, the books you assign to your kids, or the questions you ask at a staff meeting -- and they don’t have to explain their decision. You lose your job if no other principal finds a place for you.

    Maybe other principals hear something whispered about you, or maybe they don’t have a vacancy in their buildings. You have no recourse. You lose your contract. Anyone who asks for a transfer for any reason is also at risk."

    Instead of this misguided bill, the Legislature must focus on complying with the Supreme Court's McCleary decision: increasing K-12 school funding, restoring school employees’ COLAs and reducing overcrowded class sizes.

    Educators across the state need to email members of the House Education Committee, their own representatives and Gov. Jay Inslee to explain why SB 5242 is bad education policy and an attack on teachers. This sort of bad legislation distracts the Legislature from its paramount duty: Fully funding public education so all children receive a quality education, no matter where they live and regardless of their background.

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    Sign the petition telling Sen. Rodney Tom and the Legislature:

    Fund public schools & reduce class sizes!

    Print the petition or add your name below!

  • No foolin'!

    No foolin'! Washington has the 4th most crowded classes in the country!

    Tell the Legislature: Reduce class sizes & increase funding!

    Email your legislators to remind them that every child has the right to a quality education and smaller class sizes. And while you are at it, tell them how many kids are in your class and what that means for student learning.

    The state Constitution says K-12 public schools are the state's paramount duty, and in last year's McCleary decision, the state Supreme Court ordered the state to increase funding for K-12 public schools by 2018.

    Don't fool around with our students education - reduce class sizes now.

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    Tom and Litzow pass bad bills, do nothing to reduce class sizes

    Instead of increasing school funding or reducing overcrowded class sizes, Senate Majority Caucus Leader Rodney Tom and Senate education committee Chairman Sen. Steve Litzow led efforts to pass a series of bad education bills.

    For example, Senate Bill 5242 allows school districts to fire teachers who are displaced from their current positions -- an attack on due process, collective bargaining and basic fairness. 

    Sen. Tom also sponsors Senate Bill 5856, which eliminates existing pension plans for state and public school employees, replacing them with a risky 401(k)-style savings account. All new public employees, and all current public employees under the age of 45, would be forced into the new savings account, Please oppose SB 5856.

  • (No Title)

    Thank Rep. Mike Hope for his courage and leadership!

    Email Rep. Mike Hope and thank him for sponsoring HB 1293, the Parent-Right-to-Know Testing Transparency Bill. HB 1293 is commonsense legislation that requires school districts to tell parents how much time and money they spend administering standardized tests. Rep. Hope also is sponsoring a bill that requires background checks for all gun transfers, which will help make our schools safer.

    Unfortunately, powerful special-interest groups are running an attack campaign against Rep. Hope because of his advocacy on these issues. Even if you don't live in Rep. Hope's district, he needs to hear from you. Please email him now!

  • (No Title)

    Take action to support public higher education: Email your legislators

    Senate Bill 5905, part of the Senate budget proposal, would drastically change health insurance for part-time instructors in community and technical colleges and other higher education institutions across the state. 

    Under SB 5905, anyone teaching less than 30 hours (basically all part-timers currently eligible for benefits) would be put into a questionable new health insurance program. Since the fiscal note on the bill estimates a large state cost saving, this change will most assuredly NOT be advantageous to current beneficiaries.

  • (No Title)

    Support HB 1293, the Parent Right-to-Know Testing Transparency Bill

    In Seattle and across Washington -- and even nationally -- concern over standardized tests is growing. Parents are backing House Bill 1293 and Senate Bill 5366 in the Legislature. These bills, AKA the Parent Right-to-Know testing transparency bills, require school districts to tell parents how much time and money is spent on standardized tests. Email your legislators and urge them to support this commonsense legislation!

  • Tell the Legislature: Fund our schools!


    Tell your legislators to comply with the state Supreme Court's McCleary decision and amply fund our public schools. This is where a brief description and background of what the action is about. Description goes here. Checking kerning and display issues. Does the sentences sit run on top of one another? Still testing. More testing.

  • (No Title)

    ESP action page: Email your legislators!

    Classified employees’ health insurance is under attack in Olympia!

    Senate Bill 5905, part of the Senate budget proposal, would drastically change health insurance for part-time K-12 employees, including any education support professional who works less than 30 hours a week.

    Click here to email your state Senator and oppose SB 5905.

    Under SB 5905, any part-time school employee who works less than 30 hours (basically all part-timers currently eligible for benefits) would lose state funding for their health care and could be forced into a questionable new health insurance program where they may not be able to afford the benefits. We would LOSE our current health insurance if SB 5905 passes.

    Help stop this bad bill in the Senate. It could be voted on as soon as Monday morning! Email your state senator ASAP and tell him or her to vote NO on SB 5905. Together, we can protect health insurance for part-time school employees.

  • Tell Seattle Public Schools to stop administering the MAP

    The Seattle Education Association (SEA) supports all of our teachers in wanting to provide the best learning environment for Seattle’s students.  Garfield teachers want to do just that.  The concerns of using the MAP test are not new ones for our teachers and they are not new for the district.  Over the last couple of years, SEA has communicated to the district the concerns that teachers have.

    • The test does not line up with state standards.
    • The test does not line up with district curriculum.
    • The test takes valuable time away from student learning.
    • Many students do not take the test seriously.
    • The testing timeframe takes valuable time away from students in the school being able to access computer labs and libraries for other projects.
    • The data obtained is of minimal use to teachers in planning lessons and meeting individual student needs.

    Seattle EA has been trying to get the district to look at alternatives that are more aligned to the SPS curriculum and state standards. After raising issues of the time the MAP test takes to administer, SEA was successful in getting the district to reduce the required number of times that it is given.

    Now, we need to have a commitment from the district regarding an end date for the use of this test

  • (No Title)

    Send the Legislature a message: Fund the COLA and smaller class sizes!

    Every child in Washington deserves a quality public education. Send your legislators in Olympia a message about the need to reduce overcrowded class sizes and restore educator COLAs. It's time to abide by the state Supreme Court's McCleary decision and increase funding for K-12 public schools!

  • (No Title)

    Don't let Rodney Tom play games with our kids' future!

    Email your state senators and urge them to amply fund K-12 schools and to stop Sen. Rodney Tom and Sen. Tim Sheldon from playing political games with our kids' future!

  • Tell Sen. Hobbs: Hands off our healthcare!


    State Sen. Steve Hobbs is one of only a few state legislators who is still pushing SB 6442, the costly state takeover of K-12 employees' health insurance. SB 6442 will cost taxpayers $45 million in coming years, and it will increase costs and reduce benefits for school employees. WEA members have opposed SB 6442 since it was introduced months ago.

    Unfortunately, SB 6442 remains alive. We need to make sure it is NOT part of a final budget plan in Olympia. Please take a minute to write Sen. Hobbs and urge him to oppose SB 6442 or any other changes to K-12 health care.

    Sen. Hobbs recently turned down an invitation to meet with local educators to discuss this bill. That's why it’s so important that you email Sen. Hobbs and tell him why you oppose SB 6442.

  • Tell Sen. Keiser: Hands off our healthcare!


    Sen. Karen Keiser is one of only a few state legislators who are still pushing SB 6442, the costly state takeover of K-12 employees' health insurance. SB 6442 will cost taxpayers $45 million in coming years, and it will increase costs and reduce benefits for school employees. WEA members have opposed SB 6442 since it was introduced months ago.

    Unfortunately, SB 6442 remains alive. We need to make sure it is NOT part of a final budget plan in Olympia. Please take a minute to write Sen. Keiser and urge her to oppose SB 6442 or any other changes to K-12 health care.

  • Thank Sen. Ed Murray for a no-cuts budget!


    As chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, Sen. Ed Murray of Seattle wrote the first state budget plan in several years that protects K-12 and higher education from further cuts. Later budget proposals followed his lead and protected schools from more cuts (although legislators have yet to agree on a final budget).

    Sen. Murray also has publicly expressed his opposition to SB 6442, the state takeover of K-12 health care -- legislation WEA members strongly oppose.

    Take a minute to thank Sen. Murray for being the first legislative leader to write a no-cuts budget this year, and thank him for standing with school employees who oppose SB 6442, the costly state takeover of our health care system.

  • Hands off our healthcare!

    In the middle of the night on Friday, March 2, Washington's Republican legisaltors passed their version of a state budget: a Wisconsin-style attack on public school employees, students and collective bargaining -- and educators' healthcare benefits. This budget is similar to what Gov. Scott Walker did to educators and public workers in Wisconsin. If anti-union legislators in Washington get their way now, just think what could happen after the general election in November!

    We, the educators and public education supporters in the state of Washington, urge Senate Democrats and fair-minded Republicans to oppose these attacks on public education, collective bargaining and school employees' healthcare benefits.

  • Maintain National Board pay incentives


    NBCTs -- We need you to act now!

    Things are heating up in Olympia. The Senate Democrats' proposed budget fully maintains National Board pay incentives. At the same time, the House Ways & Means is hearing a bill (HB 2804) which would PERMANENTLY reduce the pay incentives to $4,000 per year.

    It's easy to have your voice heard in three easy steps:

    1. Enter in your zip code in the field below. This will ensure your message is sent to the senator and representatives in the legislative district in which you live.
    2. Create your own email subject.
    3. Compose your message (see message points below).

    The most effective emails are the ones that are individually crafted. Use your personal comments and experiences. You might choose to share why you chose to go through NBC, its impact on your teaching practice and student learning. You may choose to use/modify the following points in composing your message.

    Here's the context:

    • Washington state is a national success story around National Board Certification. We now have 6,243 National Board Certified Teachers (NBCTs) in Washington -- over 11 percent of our certificated teaching population. In 2011, Washington certified the 2nd most NBCTs in the nation, and now has the 4th most total.
    • In 2007, the Legislature enacted pay incentives for NBCTs, including incentivizing them to teach in our most challenging schools. Teachers and school counselors listened. With legislative support and the promise of professional compensation and recognition, our candidate numbers have surged. Now, over 25 percent of NBCTs teach in high-needs schools.

    Our Ask:
    Don't undo the good work you've set in motion. As the budget compromise process unfolds, I ask that you fully maintain National Board pay incentives. Do not act on HB 2804, which would permanently reduce National Board incentives.

    The Consequences:

    • Proposed cuts to National Board incentives save the state just $8 million this biennium.
    • What does the legislature get for this $8 million reduction? It sets a precedent for further erosion or elimination of incentives and supports in future years. This move destroys the Legislature's credibility for implementing new performance-pay for all educators in the future. It will cause NBCTs -- who are often leaders in education reform initiatives -- to lose faith in our legislature and their education priorities. There are many unintended, tangible and intangible consequences of this budget cut.

  • Stop the health care takeover!

    Email Sen. Becker today and tell her why you oppose Senate Bill 6442

    Enter your Zip Code at the bottom of the page to get started.

    This bill will eliminate your current health care benefits and force ALL K-12 employees into a new state-run bureaucracy that will cost more and provide fewer benefits. This legislation would:

    Impose higher costs:

    • Add more than $21.5 million in NEW taxpayer costs: $12 million for start up costs in 2011-13, plus $9.5 million for additional start up costs in fiscal year 2014. The ongoing cost is then estimated to be $7.1 million per year.
    • Require an additional $25 million per year paid by employees through higher premiums and “point-of-service cost sharing” (higher fees).
    • Shift all future cost risks to school districts for costs above the state allocation.
    • Abandon a system that today costs less and provides more: Currently, the state pays $768 a month per full-time equivalent K-12 employee vs. $850 per full-time state employee, yet K-12 employees get coverage that is as good or better than what state employees receive.

    Reduce benefits:

    • Require lower overall benefits to avoid immediate cost increases.
    • Wipe out health care coverage entirely for thousands of part-time employees who work less than half time.

    Eliminate competition and expand state government:

    • Add another costly function to the state bureaucracy at a time when vital funding for K-12 education and other services is being cut.


    Health care funding should pay for benefits, not growth in state bureaucracy. What is the evidence that state government can take over a private program, and perform as well or better at a lower cost? Senate Bill 6442 is a plan based on higher costs, bigger government, less competition, and poor customer service.

    There IS an alternative: House Bill 2666 and SB 6553 will help reduce health insurance costs for school employees with families by modifying local school district insurance pools. HB 2666 costs the state nothing, and it maintains local decision making.

  • NBCT WEA members - take action now!

    State Senate Republicans and their collaborators released a new budget plan March 15 that continues their attack on public school employees’ health care, pensions and collective bargaining rights.

    The Senate Republican budget funds the state takeover of K-12 health care -- and diverts taxpayer funding into failed charter schools. The Senate Republican budget also fails to make a $99 million K-12 pension payment and limits pension benefits for new school employees. While the new Senate budget does not cut NBCT incentive pay, the already-approved House budget is much better. The House budget does NOT fund the state health care takeover or charter schools, nor does it cut pension funding.

    Have your voice heard in three easy steps:

    1.    Enter in your zip code in the field below. This will ensure your message is sent to the Senator and Representatives in the legislative district in which you live
    2.    Create your own email subject
    3.    Compose your message (see message points)

    The most effective emails are the ones that are individually crafted. You may choose to use/modify the following points in composing your message.

    STATE BUDGET (message points to consider):

    • Please support the House budget proposal, which is better for K-12 and higher education.
    • Please support a state budget that protects education from further budget cuts. 
    • Do not cut educator pensions.
    • Do not cut incentive pay for National Board Certified Teachers.
    • Do not limit educators' ability to collectively bargain with their school district employers
    • Oppose failed charter schools, which divert money from existing public schools

    SB

    SBSB 6442 HEALTH CARE TAKEOVER (message points to consider):

    Please oppose SB 6442, which costs taxpayers $45 million, reduces benefits, eliminates private sector competition, increases the size of government and costs employees more.

    NATIONAL BOARD CERTIFICATION (message points to consider):

    Introduction:
    •    I’m writing to urge you to maintain Washington’s investment in accomplished teaching -- specifically maintaining National Board Certification pay incentives.  Proposed cuts to incentives undermine our efforts to improve the quality of teaching in Washington’s schools and disrupt our progress in improving student learning.

    Personal comments/experiences
    •    Please customize this section. You might choose to share why you chose to go through NBC, its impact on your teaching practice and student learning.

  • Focus on kids and teachers, not failed legislation!


    Charter schools divert money from existing public schools

    Sen. Rodney Tom and Rep. Eric Pettigrew are way off base. The state Supreme Court recently ruled that Tom, Pettigrew and the rest of the Legislature are failing our state' children -- they aren't funding our public schools as required by the state Constitution.

    Instead of honoring their oath to uphold the Constitution, Tom and Pettigrew are pushing failed legislation that does nothing to help our students get the quality education they deserve.

    Even though voters have rejected charter schools three times, and even though charter schools overall don't outperform existing public schools, and even though creating new charter schools would siphon millions away from students in our existing public schools classrooms, Pettigrew and Tom are pushing charter school legislation in Olympia!

    E-mail Rep. Pettigrew and Sen. Tom and tell them: Focus on students and teachers, not failed legislation.

  • Stop the health care takeover!

    Email your legislators and tell them why you oppose Senate Bill 6442 and House Bill 2724.

    Enter your Zip Code at the bottom of the page to get started.

    These bills will eliminate your current health care benefits and force ALL K-12 employees into a new state-run bureaucracy that will cost more and provide fewer benefits. This legislation would:

    Impose higher costs:

    • Add more than $21.5 million in NEW taxpayer costs: $12 million for start up costs in 2011-13, plus $9.5 million for additional start up costs in fiscal year 2014. The ongoing cost is then estimated to be $7.1 million per year.
    • Require an additional $25 million per year paid by employees through higher premiums and “point-of-service cost sharing” (higher fees).
    • Shift all future cost risks to school districts for costs above the state allocation.
    • Abandon a system that today costs less and provides more: Currently, the state pays $768 a month per full-time equivalent K-12 employee vs. $850 per full-time state employee, yet K-12 employees get coverage that is as good or better than what state employees receive.

    Reduce benefits:

    • Require lower overall benefits to avoid immediate cost increases.
    • Wipe out health care coverage entirely for thousands of part-time employees who work less than half time.
    • Eliminate competition and expand state government:
    • Add another costly function to the state bureaucracy at a time when vital funding for K-12 education and other services is being cut.


    Health care funding should pay for benefits, not growth in state bureaucracy.

    What is the evidence that state government can take over a private program, and perform as well or better at a lower cost?

    Senate Bill 6442 is a plan based on higher costs, bigger government, less competition, and poor customer service.

    There IS an alternative: House Bill 2666 and SB 6553 will help reduce health insurance costs for school employees with families by modifying local school district insurance pools. HB 2666 costs the state nothing, and it maintains local decision making.

  • Thank you!


    Standing up for what's right isn't always easy.

    But, there are legislators in Olympia who care about Washington's public education system. There are leaders who are fighting every day to secure adequate funding for our students and schools. They've shown leadership on our behalf so that we can do our work on behalf of Washington's future leaders.

    Send a quick note and let these legislators know how much we appreciate their work.

  • No more excuses: Honor the Constitution and fund our schools!

    The Constitution is clear: Fund our public schools!

    No more excuses; no more delays; no more cuts. It’s time to fully fund public education. The Washington Supreme Court has ruled the state Legislature is not amply funding public education as mandated by the state Constitution. The Legislature convenes Jan. 9, and lawmakers already are talking about slashing another $500 million or more from our K-12 schools and higher education. They need to hear from us! Please take a moment to email your legislators and the governor and urge them to comply with the Supreme Court's decision. Explain to them how budget cuts hurt kids. It's a simple message: Our public schools and colleges can't take more cuts.

  • If you wait, it's too late! Stop the state health care takeover!

    Email your legislators by entering your Zip Code or address in the box below.

    Educators urge ALL legislators to oppose SB 5940 or any other changes to the K-12 health care system. They are debating a bill that will have MAJOR consequences for your health care! The clock is ticking down to midnight tonight!

    • The current version of SB 5940 was drafted in secret as part of a last-minute political deal.
    • Based on what few details have been shared publicly, this bill is unrealistic and unworkable and does not make health care more affordable for school employees.
    • Don’t let political games jeopardize the health care of 200,000 educators and their families.

  • salsa support 42623: testactionalert

    No more excuses; no more delays; no more cuts. It’s time to fully fund public education. The Washington Supreme Court has ruled the state Legislature is not amply funding public education as mandated by the state Constitution. The 2012 Washington state legislative session just started. Please write to our lawmakers and tell them to honor the Court's ruling.

  • Focus on kids and teachers, not failed legislation!

    Charter schools divert money from existing public schools

    Sen. Rodney Tom and Rep. Eric Pettigrew are way off base. The state Supreme Court recently ruled that Tom, Pettigrew and the rest of the Legislature are failing our state's children -- they aren't funding our public schools as required by the state Constitution.

    Instead of honoring their oath to uphold the Constitution, Tom and Pettigrew are pushing failed legislation that does nothing to help our students get the quality education they deserve.

    Even though voters have rejected charter schools three times, and even though charter schools overall don't outperform existing public schools, and even though creating new charter schools would siphon millions away from students in our existing public schools classrooms, Pettigrew and Tom are pushing charter school legislation in Olympia!

    E-mail Rep. Pettigrew and Sen. Tom and tell them: Focus on students and teachers, not failed legislation.

  • No more excuses!

    No more excuses; no more delays; no more cuts. It’s time to fully fund public education. The Washington Supreme Court has ruled the state Legislature is not amply funding public education as mandated by the state Constitution. The 2012 Washington state legislative session just started. Please write to our lawmakers and tell them to honor the Court's ruling.