Sen. Tim Sheldon, D-Potlatch, said he would introduce a measure Friday that would forbid school districts from counting days that teachers strike as sick days or snow days. According to a news release from Sheldon’s office, those makeup days can be added onto the end of the year and teachers get full pay for them.
“I don’t think people realize teachers get paid when they go on strike,” said Sheldon, who caucuses with the Republican Senate majority, in the news release. “It’s not supposed to be that way. But during my 25 years in the Legislature, we’ve had plenty of teacher strikes, and I’ve never seen teachers lose a day’s pay for walking off the job.” [our bolds, naturally]Which reminds us of something we said awhile ago, in response to a Seattle PI story from 2003;
Gov. Gary Locke yesterday called for striking Marysville teachers to return to their classrooms Monday with or without a contract. But the teachers union rejected his proposal to end what is now the longest school walkout in the state's history.
Attorney General Christine Gregoire also weighed in on the dispute, writing both the Marysville School Board and the union to remind them of their students' right to a full 180-day school year -- and of the potentially diminishing opportunity to provide that instruction if the strike, now in its 39th day, continues.
Neither Locke nor Gregoire threatened legal action to force the teachers back to work. Nor has the School Board.Nor even hinted that they might, as then Governor Locke put it;
"We think it's important they put the interest of the kids first. We cannot force them to do anything."To which we commented (in 2003);
Now, why would the governor make such a counterfactual assertion [bolded, above] as in the last sentence of the above quote? Why does the AG not use her power to force the teachers back to work?
Is it not relevant that the AG is running for the Democratic nomination for governor? That Locke, a young man, is not without further political ambitions? And that no one who crosses the WEA is going to have a future in the Democratic party in Washington state?And, in fact, then AG Gregoire did become Washington's governor (though by the skin of her teeth, and some illegal votes cast) and Locke did go on to serve as Ambassador to China for Barack Obama. We don't expect Senator Shelton to duplicate that sucess, if the state's educationists have anything to say about it;
Rich Wood, a spokesman for the statewide teachers union, said Sheldon and his colleagues should focus on passing an education budget that complies with the state Supreme Court’s order that the Legislature fully fund basic education, rather than punishing striking teachers.That constitutional right is a story in itself.
“Sen. Sheldon and rest of the Senate majority are the ones walking out on our kids,” Wood wrote in an email. “They’re leaving Olympia early without an education budget, and they’re in contempt of court for violating our students’ constitutional right to an amply funded public education.”