The teachers in Tacoma are on strike, which you may or may not have known. Well, they were. And they may be again. Right now they’re back at work because a judge ordered them to, but who knows how long that will last since the whole thing sort of hinges on everyone coming back to the table and , frankly, that seems like a bit of a long shot in the new anti-union world we live in (and since apparently the TPS has a bit of trouble actually showing up to negotiations). (Late breaking addition: no, they’re not- at least as of this morning.) The issues at play are typical- class size, how teachers are assigned, etc- but there’s a wrinkle in this particular story that I personally find fascinating. Apparently, there’s a bit of a grassroots movement by the parents- yup, you read that right, the parents- the stand by the teachers.
I know. It’s crazy sauce, right? I mean, hasn’t the media made it clear that teachers and parents are arch nemesises (nemesi?) ’cause parents think teachers are evil and lazy and teachers think parents consider them over paid babysitters?
Maybe not. Maybe this is one of those rarely-heard (but oft true) situations where everyone’s on the same side- the kids’ side- for once. Maybe these good folks realize that the issues at play are about more than processes and the number of desks in a room, that it’s about the best way to get the right mix of kids connected to the right mix of teachers. Maybe- just maybe- this is about doing something because it’s just plain the right thing to do.
So, in the words of parent Erin Eramia, “Tacoma Public Schools, my child will be back when our teachers are back with a FAIR and REASONABLE contract!”
This is what it’s going to take to change things. This willingness to stand up for the reality that we want the same things for our kids and for ourselves. We want to be treated fairly. We want the opportunity to do our best work in a system that doesn’t hold us hostage to crazy structures and rules designed for the benefit of people who aren’t in the room doing the hard work.
So to those parents and teachers out there in Tacoma? Thank you- and keep up the good work.