Elections for leadership of the Seattle Education Association (SEA) are coming right up and ballots will be cast at the end of April. On behalf of Social Equality Educators (SEE) and the many brothers and sisters working with us toward the common goal of strengthening our union, we are writing to ask for your endorsement. We have assembled a remarkable group of educators on the “Respect” ticket –award-winners and National Board Certified Teachers, experienced educators and those newer to the profession – to run for union office. We have over a dozen candidates, including JesseHagopian for SEA president, Marian Wagner for SEA Vice President, and DanTroccoli for SEA Treasurer. Together, we are confident we can achieve the contract educators deserve, the schools our students deserve, and the city our families deserve.
The SEE Respect slate of candidates believes we need courageous union leaders who will listen to the members, stand up for their rights in the work place, and work hard to achieve the members’ vision for public education.
The Respect slate of candidates stands for:
- A union that will fight for a strong contract. When we ask for less than what is required to do our jobs well, we cannot serve our students effectively, or be true to the passion that brings us into the classroom.
- A union that will demand full funding of education. This will only happen if we insist lawmakers adhere to the law.
- A union that will stand for fair and sustainable teacher evaluation. Evaluation should empower us to continually improve our professional practice and care for our students—it should not simply serve as a “gotcha” tool for administrators.
- A union that protects our right to teach culturally relevant curriculum and works to replace disproportionate disciplinary procedures with restorative justice. Seattle’s students deserve a holistic education that fosters critical thinking and civic engagement.
- We need a union that brings families and community members into the schools as partners and collaborators.
- A union that empowers the union membership to be an active voice.
- A union that keeps us updated with accurate information and invites us to take an active role in a truly member-driven association.
- A union that will join the growing national movement to fight for fair and meaningful student assessments, including opportunities to pilot performance-based alternatives to high-stakes testing.
PUBLIC EDUCATION IS IN THE CROSSHAIRS
Teachers and school staff are feeling the insidious effects of what is known as the “corporate education reform agenda.” It has been set by those occupying the highest ranks of power in our country and one of its primary financiers lives in our own backyard. With corporate education reform comes increased class size, privatization of public schools through expansion of charter initiatives, decreased access to wrap-around services, unfair and biased teacher evaluation methods, racist and disproportionate discipline measures, union busting, and the degradation educators’ contracts. In Seattle, at the same time that our class sizes are increasing and resources are shrinking, we face pressure to meet standards set by unfair and biased measures of evaluation. Circumstances beyond our control dictate whether or not we may expect to keep our jobs for another year, keeping us in a constant state of anxiety. How does this benefit teachers and students? SEA members are fully aware that unless we want to continue down the path of losing more job protections, we have no choice but to transform our union into one that can turn the tide.
WHAT CAN WE DO?
The Social Equality Educators (SEE) seek to strengthen our union to become one that prioritizes the needs of our colleagues, students and families over accommodating the agenda of those who wish to profit from public education and deny us fully funded schools with rich curriculum. In the struggle to “scrap the MAP” test, we on the Respect slate discovered for ourselves that building coalitions with parents, students, and community organizations is the key to successfully defending the integrity of our workplaces and quality of education for our students. We organized, strategized, built alliances, took direct action, and won an important victory of making the MAP test optional at the high school level. We achieved solidarity among families, students, and community members, because ultimately the fight for education justice affects all of us. Our work in the schools can reach its fullest potential if we have a winning strategy for protecting and strengthening the soul of public education. This is the strategy will need if we are going to win the contract that educators deserve.
YOU DESERVE RESPECT
The SEE RESPECT slate and our allies are running for union leadership because we want to cultivate a member-driven union that respects teacher voice and dignity along with the voices and dignity of our students and families.
YOU are the union. We need your involvement. We need to hear you and work with you to build the school district Seattle’s students deserve. Let’s build a struggle to do the work we became educators to do, and make an education system that empowers us to educate, unfettered by over-testing and unsustainable evaluation systems.
Yours in struggle,
The RESPECT TICKET
President of SEA
· Jesse Hagopian
Vice President of SEA
· Marian Wagner
Treasurer of SEA
· Dan Troccoli
SEA Board of Director Candidates:
High School Representatives
- Matt Carter, Franklin HS
- Doug Edelstein, Nathan Hale HS
- Noam Gundle, Ballard HS
Middle School Representatives
- Jenni Conrad, Hamilton MS
- Jeff Treistman, Denny MS
- Susan Kingsbury, Graham Hill El
- Andrew Russell, Dearborn Park El
- Kevin Zelko, Kimball El
- Vallerie Fisher, Family Support Worker, Martin Luther King El
- Peter Henry, Substitute VP