从9月2日开始我们学区的老师开始罢工。教师公会要求在Compensation(补偿)，Benefits(福利)，Curriculum(课程)要有进一部提高。随着时间的推移，工会和学区之间的谈判没有任何进展，马上罢工两星期了，整个社区包括家长和孩子都怨声载道。昨晚7点学区在Sammamish HighSchool 举行听证会。了解各方面的意见。白天我就联系了几位家长，不能去的在学区网站上 发表意见。我们能去的约好6点半集合一去。
没想到在们口早就是排队大长龙慢慢拿牌(绿色表示支持发言者的观点。红色表示反对)很多来晚的人都没有拿到牌子。会议大厅早都坐满人已不让进来。我和朋友还有许多的家长只好在旁边的小厅里看大电视直播。8点半时看到会议厅中有一些人退场，可能是支持老师这一边的发言太多。我和朋友就转到主厅去。其中有几个代表了家长的意见。长话短说。有100多位想发言。因为时间有限，最后只有50多位发表了见意。当一位护士在说她真想有3个月的暑假时，我后面的一排老师说：you teach,you teach.还有一位家长说：你嫌工资低你可以再找其它工作。把这个位置让给热爱这一行的人进来。再说我们这学区的老师平均工资是5。8万。只工作183天再加一星期的训练。会议10点钟结束。出来在大厅里听到很多家长都很愤怒。老师为了自己的利益牺牲孩子们上学的权利。教师公会今晚有备而来，一半是老师发言，在门口遇到一老师对我们说她爸爸也上去讲话了。回来后我把会上情况给几位没去的家长说了，让大家在网上表明自己的观点。下面是我们学校一位家长写给老师工会和学区的信。代表了我们这些家长的心声。有兴趣的仔细读一读。昨晚就听有的家长说其他学区的老师已在计划明年也要罢工。
Subject: FW: Bellevue Parents for Teachers, Against Union Strike
To the BEA & WEA,
I am the parent of one child in the Bellevue School District with two more
children yet to enter school-age. Generally I am very sympathetic to teacher needs. My mother is a high school teacher, my grandmother was an elementary teacher her entire career, etc. I have always voted in favor of local tax levees that benefit schools and teachers. My wife and I both volunteer in the classroom. Our experience with the Bellevue schools to date has been wonderful. We love our school. However, I couldn't disagree more vehemently with how the BEA has conducted itself in negotiating a new contract with the Bellevue School District. Before forming my opinion, I read the position papers from the District and BEA on their respective web sites, and spoke to several picketing teachers at my neighborhood school. My conclusion is that the current Bellevue strike is unlawful, unnecessary and has significantly eroded the good-will between parents, teachers and the administration. In discussions with dozens of parents over the past week, the overwhelming majority support the administration case and are furious at the union (not teachers, but union leadership) for holding the children of Bellevue hostage in a battle that is more appropriate for lobbyists in Olympia than the school board in Bellevue. If the BEA/WEA have a legitimate argument, it hasn't been made convincingly to Bellevue parents who historically are very supportive with their time, tax dollars and personal financial contributions. This is how I view the BEA case (and I know I'm not alone):
* Curriculum. Curriculum autonomy arguments are shamefully weak and
the perception from parents is that the union is more interested in avoiding performance review scrutiny than the nobility of protecting our children from a rigid curriculum. Good teachers will always be able to perform within centralized curriculum guidelines. They might not like it, but assuming that Bellevue teachers aren't creative enough to find ways to educate our students using a top-down curriculum is insulting to teachers. It is clear from the performance of the district over time, measured by test scores, that the curriculum isn't failing. In fact, it's one of the best in Washington and the nation. Although it is natural for any worker to bristle under increased performance oversight, you will find similar quality control techniques in every major industry in America. Administrators can't improve what they can't measure. And only the mediocre truly fear performance oversight.
* Compensation. When I asked local Bellevue teachers where they thought the additional funding would be found to pay for additional compensation (when most of their base pay is State funds, not local), most teachers were under the impression that the School District was "hiding funds" that could be used to pay teachers more without making cuts anywhere else. This is illogical and slanderous. Also, maintaining a position that the District can somehow pay for unbudgeted compensation increases without cutting other important education services is ridiculous. It is a publicly-funded entity and therefore subject to public disclosure. I'm supportive of increased teacher compensation and I'd be happy to vote for more levees to support pay raises for teachers, especially if the raises are mostly merit-based and not seniority-based; but given that the State contributes the majority of teacher base-pay funding, holding Bellevue hostage to address a State-wide problem is unfair. Lobby Olympia, don't punish children.
* Health Care Costs. Every business in Washington State and throughout
the nation is struggling with the burden of skyrocketing health care costs.
Why should teachers be immune to market forces impacting the rest of the
economy? Requiring the Bellevue School District, using my tax dollars,
to subsidize teachers' health care coverage is unreasonable and selfish.
If the BEA/WEA really cares about this issue, they should be lobbying Olympia and Washington DC, not holding local kids out of school and thereby teaching the economics of unlawful selfishness and victim-hood.
* Choosing an unlawful mechanism to negotiate (a strike), sends a horrible
message to your true constituents, children and parents, and undermines
the ethical authority of teachers. I haven't read anything that would suggest that teachers are somehow carved out of the definition of "public employees" and therefore outside of the law prohibiting strikes. Therefore, I'll be strongly pushing the District to sue for an injunction against the union to take responsibility for their unlawful actions. At the very least, union members shouldn't be compensated for strike days.
End this strike now! You are doing your membership a disservice and creating an undeserved rift between Bellevue parents and our excellent teachers.
A concerned Bellevue parent,
Peter J. Cochran