Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Tentative 15-16 Calendar

Thank you to everyone who participated in our recent calendar survey. We had a tremendous response to this survey! Based on your feedback, we worked with the District Administration to create a tentative calendar for the 2015-2016 school year. This tentative calendar still needs approval of NSEA’s Building Reps at the April 20th Rep Council and final approval from the NSD School Board.

 Here are some highlights: 

  • The first day of school for students will be Wednesday, September 2. This was the clear choice for the majority of members who took the calendar survey.
  • The last day of school will be Thursday, June 16 (unless there is snow!).
  • Non-student days will be Tuesday, August 25, Wednesday, August 26, and Thursday, August 27.
  • Grading days will be Monday, January 25 and Friday, June 17.
  • Winter Break: Monday, December 21 through Friday, January 1 (back to school on Monday, January 4)
  • Mid-Winter Break will remain a full week: Monday, February 15 through Friday, February 19.
  • Spring Break will be scheduled as it is now, the second full week of April. For 2016, this will be Monday, April 11 through Friday, April 15
  • Elementary: Parent/Teacher conferences will be moved to November (Monday, November 16, Tuesday, November 17, Thursday, November 19, and Friday, November 20). This move reflects the choice for an overwhelming majority of elementary survey respondents. Since the fall Parent/Teacher conferences were moved, the second round of conferencing was also moved. Instead of being held in February, they will be held on Thursday, March 3 and Friday, March 4.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Get involved!

The 2015 legislative session is underway.  Visit www.OurVoiceWashingtonEA.org regularly for updates!

Contact your legislator regularly during the session. Call the Legislative Hotline at 800-562-6000 or click here for your legislator's information.

Reminder: please use your personal cell phone/email address during duty-free time when conducting political action.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Nominations are Open

Nominations are open for the following NSEA leadership positions.

NSEA Officers (all terms are 2 years)
  • President 
  • Vice President 
NSEA Executive Board (all terms are 2 years)
  • Primary Elementary 
  • Junior High 
  • Specialists 
  • At-Large 
Contract Maintenance Committee (3 year term)
  • Primary Elementary 

To nominate yourself or someone else, fill out the nomination form and return it to the NSEA Office by 5:00 pm on Tuesday, March 31st. Nominations will also be accepted from the floor of the April 20th Rep Council meeting. For duties specific to each open position, please refer to the NSEA Bylaws.  If interested in becoming a candidate, also review the NSEA Elections Policy.

If you have any questions, contact Lydia King (lking@washingtonea.org).

Thursday, February 26, 2015

The Stars Are Aligned!

It's Time! For decades, educators have been playing defense from state abuse: shrinking school budgets, no COLA for 6 years, much more work without additional days or compensation, outrageous class sizes, and inadequate support for our students. We're unwilling to accept more of this.

The good news: our stars are aligning! We have a window of opportunity in the coming months (this legislative session), the best in a generation, to increase school funding and compensation. Here's why:
  • The McCleary decision and contempt ruling: The state Supreme Court held the Legislature in contempt last fall and they will order sanctions if this legislative session does not make significant progress on implementing the McCleary decision. The state Supreme Court made it clear that McCleary includes school funding and large salary increases to bring educators professional salaries, much more than a cost of living adjustment (COLA). 
  • New class size law sent a message: With your help, the public passed I-1351. We now have a class size law on the books. 
  • The Governor proposed taxes: Gov. Inslee proposed several taxes that would raise over $1 billion for education. Taxes would be paid by the top 2% and by large corporations, both of which have a smaller tax burden compared to the rest of us.  
  • The public supports us: According to public polling, the public supports these proposed taxes and believes that education funding is the top priority. 
  • Bargaining opportunities are ahead: NSEA bargains next year, and this legislative session will determine the available dollars. NESPA (paras and nurses) and NEOPA (office staff) begin bargaining this spring.
What's missing? Your voice! Make yourself heard at the Education Forum and Rally.

Education Funding Forum and Rally
Join your colleagues from the Northshore, Edmonds, Shoreline, Seattle, and Lake Washington School Districts. Invite co-workers, family, friends, parents, and others. We are inviting state legislators to hear your stories and needs.

Saturday, March 21, 2015
from 10:00 am to 11:30 am
(Doors open at 9:30 am)

Nathan Hale High School
(North Seattle - 10750 30th Ave NE, Seattle 98125)
RSVP to your Building Rep or


Friday, January 16, 2015

2015 Legislative Session

The 2015 Legislative session began on Monday and will likely go through June. For education, it will be one of the most exciting and significant sessions in our lifetimes. Here are some of the issues you’ll want to watch and communicate with your legislators about. Get updates, email your legislators, and read our statewide WEA legislative goals at www.ourvoicewashingtonea.org.

Adequate Funding: Last fall, the Washington Supreme Court decided that the Legislature is “in contempt” for failing to create a plan for funding our schools at the level required by the State Constitution by 2018. The Court chose to await the outcome of this session before determining what penalties or consequences to impose if the Legislature fails again. Between $4 and $8 billion (estimates vary) more is needed by 2018. We can safely predict that substantially more funding will be the outcome, but how much, how it will be paid for, and what strings will be attached are decisions to be made in the coming months.

Class Sizes and Staffing: Voters approved Initiative 1351 (thank you to those who gathered signatures!) and it changed the definition of “basic education” which must be funded, by law. Though it only brings Washington State to 26th in the nation in class size (from 47th currently), some legislators are complaining that it costs too much. These same legislators voted to give Boeing billions in tax breaks without complaint. A decent education does cost money; it’s a necessary investment that pays off. Tell your legislators to follow the law and the will of the voters, and to fund I-1351. To repeal any part of I-1351 would take a 2/3 vote of the Legislature in this Session (or a majority after 2 years).

Compensation: Increases in the State allocation for teacher salaries of $15,000 to $25,000 per year (varying by years of service and degrees) were recommended by the Compensation and Technical Working Group, a committee established by the Legislature. They further recommended increases of about 40% for paraeducators, secretaries, and other non-certificated school staff. The Supreme Court ruled last January:

 “Nothing could be more adequate than basic pay. The inescapable fact is that salaries are no better now than when this case went to trial. This despite the report (of the Compensation and Technical Working Group)concluding that the State needs to invest at least a billion dollars a year—above inflationary adjustments—to bring salary funding in line with actual costs.”

 Press your legislators for implementation of these recommendations, which would enable educators to get pay comparable to other similar professions. Also press for additional funding for our medical benefits as costs rise.

 Where will the money come from? In its starkest form, the decision to be made is whether $4 to $8 billion for education will come from more cuts in services or whether new revenue will be created to invest in the future. 

Evaluations and Teaching as a Profession: Expect to see the usual teacher-bashing this session. There will be another attempt to tie our evaluations to student test scores, and we’ll need to educate our legislators again on why that won’t work. Expect to see attacks on our job security, professional judgment, and more in exchange for more funding. We will need to stand together, rise up, and demand what’s best for our schools and students.

Please do your part by checking in weekly at www.ourvoicewashingtonea.org.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Degrees Not Debt!

At current levels, student debt isn't just a burden; it's becoming a barrier to the American Dream. Current federal programs to ease student debt burden include both income driven repayment plans and loan forgiveness programs for those who work in public service, including teaching. As the U.S. becomes more diverse and income inequality grows, public service shouldn't only be a career option for those who can afford it. You shouldn't need to have millions in your pockets to fuel the public service in your heart.

Income-driven repayment and loan forgiveness programs ensure that all Americans can be teachers or social workers or police officers. One-fourth of the workforce may be eligible for Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF), but many qualified borrowers are often not aware of their debt repayment options;  this is why NEA has launched Degrees Not Debt to support students, educators, education support professionals, their families and communities.

With so many NSEA members fresh out of college, school debt and loan forgiveness are hot topics.  The NEA’s Degrees Not Debt emphasis can help you!  

·         Degrees Not Debt: www.NEA.org/DegreesNotDebt 

Reduce Your Student Loan Debt