The next two weeks present an important opportunity for you as Seattle’s teachers, paraprofessionals and other Seattle educators to shape the future of your union. We stand at a unique moment in Seattle’s history, with thousands getting involved in movements for social justice. Educators have historically played an important role in these struggles. In that spirit, I would ask you to please take a few moments to vote in the Seattle Education Association election before May 7th, and I would personally like to voice my support for the RESPECT slate of candidates put forward by the Social Equality Educators (SEE).
The universal right of access to an affordable and high quality public education has been under relentless attack in the big business sponsored push towards privatization and profit-making. The impact on opportunities for low-income students, the quality of education, and living standards of teachers has been deleterious.
Political pundits talk about education, but the voice that is all too often ignored is that of the true experts involved: the teachers, paraprofessionals, and other educators who work with students day in and day out. Education unions such as the Seattle Education Association are the best advocates for our young people.
This week, educators in Seattle have a unique opportunity to elect the courageous union activists that make up the RESPECT slate of candidates to your leadership. They organized demonstrations at Chase Bank and in Olympia to restore funding to Education, and mobilized to boycott the MAP test so that school resources could be spent teaching. I am committed to fight for progressive taxation to fully fund education, and the RESPECT candidates will make strong allies.
RESPECT have proven that they will put serious resources into helping you and your co-workers to get involved in the struggle to improve our education system and defend your working conditions and living standards.
Most importantly, remember that nothing can be won without you there to fight for it. Please remember to vote in your union election before May 7th. And I urge you to vote for the following candidates, who make up the RESPECT slate:
· Jesse Hagopian, Garfield HS
· Marian Wagner, Salmon Bay
· Dan Troccoli, Substitute
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
· Andy Russell, Dearborn Park El
· Kevin Zelko, Kimball El
· Peter Henry, Substitute VP