Northwest NEWS

December 2, 2002

Editorial

Small Northshore teacher contingent set to attend Olympia Rally Jan. 14

by Jeanette Knutson
Staff Writer

 

They’re calling it a “Day of Action,” Jan. 14, a day when school employees from across the state will rally in Olympia to urge the Legislature to preserve quality schools in Washington state - through funding.
“While everyone is certainly concerned about the upcoming legislative session and the resulting impact on K-12 education,” said Pamela Steele, director of communications for the Northshore School District, “staff members believe that there are more effective ways to share our concerns and ideas with legislators than a demonstration in Olympia.”
The Northshore Education Association (NSEA) voted to pay the released time and transportation expenses for a small delegation of teachers to attend the rally. The Association is hoping volunteer district administrators and school board members will join the delegation at the rally.
Furthermore, each NSEA member is asked to obtain one supportive parent willing to attend the rally. Parents will be asked to carry placards proclaiming they are attending the demonstration in place of their child’s teacher so that education is not interrupted.
“If parents turn out,” said Aaron Feik, NSEA president, “it will be a great show of support. There is a lot of concern out here that funding for education be automatic, stable - not discretionary. Our state Constitution says public education is the state’s number one duty. Let the Legislature demonstrate this in how it puts its budget together.”
The Association asked the district to jointly host a community forum to inform parents and community members about the serious issues facing public education and how they can be a part of the solution.
In addition, the teachers union would like the district to sponsor a Northshore delegation to talk to legislators in Olympia in the weeks following Jan. 14.
A Fall 2002 National Education Association report finds Washington’s student-to-teacher ratio the fourth-worst in the country. Per-pupil spending is ranked 23rd of 51 and is below the national average. Teachers’ pay is ranked 19th out of 50 states and Washington, D.C., and is more than $1,000 below the national average.