NEWS GLEAMS | Seattle Teacher’s Union Strike Ends, Emerald to Host Debate With 37th Congressional District Candidates

A round-up of news and announcements we don’t want to get lost in the fast-churning news cycle!

curated by Vee Hua 華婷婷


🖋️Letter From the Editor🖋️

The Seattle Education Association has reached a deal with Seattle Public Schools, and school resumed today, Sept. 14. Plus, we share the winners of the Washington State Book Awards for outstanding authors published in 2021!

Save the date for the next hybrid in-person and virtual event hosted by the Emerald. On Tuesday, Oct. 4, we will host a debate with 37th Congressional District candidates Chipalo Street and Emijah Smith, and we want your suggestions for questions! Read on for details on how to RSVP or participate.

—Vee Hua 華婷婷, interim managing editor for the South Seattle Emerald

✨Gleaming This Week✨


  • Photo depicting educators wearing red T-shirts and carrying protest signs outside of Franklin High School's mural wall.
  • Photo depicting educators wearing red T-shirts and carrying protest signs outside of Franklin High School.
  • Photo depicting an educator wearing a red T-shirt and a protest sign that reads, "Treat us like the future of your country depends on it!"

Seattle Educators Vote to End Strike, Classes Begin for the School Year

On Monday, Sept. 12, the Seattle Education Association (SEA), which represents around 6,000 educators, announced that the union and Seattle Public Schools (SPS) had reached a tentative agreement. The following day, SEA educators voted Tuesday to suspend their five-day strike, which began on Wednesday, Sept. 7.

South Seattle Emerald’s reporting on the strike last week discussed how “Inclusion” seemed to be central to SEA’s three stated bargaining priorities, which were: adequate support for special education and multilingual education; sustainable solutions to growing workloads, class sizes, and caseload; and living wages for all SPS educators.

“According to a tweet from the union, 78% of members voted and 57% of those members approved the motion to suspend the strike. The vote came after a nearly eight-hour Zoom call with numerous tense exchanges between union leadership and general membership,” reported The Seattle Times.

Union leaders, who shared a summary of the tentative agreement close to midnight on Sunday evening, allowed voting until 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday. Though the full contract is not yet available and must be first approved by the school board, a 7% wage increase — up from a previous 6.5% — is central to the deal, along with additional increases for inflation during their second and third years. Instructional Assistants (IAs) and other classified staff — who are less likely to be white and in general receive less compensation — will not receive an additional percentage increase but are set to receive a one-time bonus of $1,500 at the end of the year. Classified staff will also have some of their benefits updated to the level of certificated substitutes.

Two of SEA’s main asks did not see significant traction. “According to the contract summary, most teacher-to-student ratios for students with individualized education programs (IEPs) stayed the same. Some instructional aids were added to classrooms to support students with IEPs. If approved, the district’s Special Education Taskforce will create a workload calculator to be used by the 2023–24 school year at a select number of schools,” reported The Seattle Times.

As noted by the Emerald, however, who spoke to numerous teachers and IAs to report their concerns directly, “the trust implied in using a workload-calculator model doesn’t yet exist, and likely wouldn’t unless educators see it fully flushed out with experienced educators, special education teachers, and instructional assistants (IA) in the room.” 

Furthermore, staffing and student ratios in the multilingual program would be unlikely to change significantly according to the contract summary. Both a lack of progress or poorly implemented changes would disproportionately affect South Seattle, where students from diverse linguistic and educational backgrounds continue to be underserved.

“But the situation with the contract right now is we do ask that also we have more student voice, parent voice, community voice for our multilingual, multicultural communities, but the district doesn’t support it,” Fenglan Nancy Yi-Cline, head of the Multilingual Learning Department at Aki Kurose Middle School, told the Emerald. “They want to use the word inclusion, but inclusion when you are not supporting teachers, means you are just leaving students to sink or swim. You’re just leaving students behind and then our marginalized groups will continue to be marginalized and then we never get the chance to have equitable education. It’s not equitable when you just put everybody in the classroom and teachers are not prepared to work with our multilingual learners.”

School began on Wednesday, Sept. 14. The Emerald will continue to report on the perspectives of school educators.


Flyer advertising the 2022 Electoral Debate hosted by the South Seattle Emerald and happening on Oct. 4, 2022.

SAVE THE DATE! Debate With 37th Congressional Candidates Emijah Smith and Chipalo Street on Oct. 4

Join the Emerald for a facilitated debate with 37th Congressional District, Pos. 2, candidates Emijah Smith and Chipalo Street, from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 4. The event will take place at Rainier Arts Center in Columbia City and will feature additional programming to be announced.

In July 2022, the Emerald conducted in-depth interviews with Emijah Smith and Chipalo Street, who spoke to their vision in their own words. Smith describes her top three priorities as access to housing for all, full access to health care for Washingtonians, and high-quality public education for all children of all abilities; Street describes his top priorities as home affordability, community safety, and fair compensation for workers. 

Moderator Crystal Fincher will draw from community questions during the debate. Please visit our form to submit your questions.

The event will be in-person and livestreamed via our Facebook and YouTube platforms. Proof of vaccination or a negative rapid test (provided by the Emerald) are required for entry and all visitors will be required to mask throughout the event. Interested in volunteering? Email interim Managing Editor Vee Hua at Editor@SeattleEmerald.org.

The Emerald would like to thank our media partners: Real Change News, KVRU, KNKX, and Hacks & Wonks. This candidate forum was funded in part by a Voter Education Fund grant from King County Elections and the Seattle Foundation.


Photo depicting a display of books that received the Washington State Book Award in 2022.
Photo courtesy of The Seattle Public Library.

2022 Washington State Book Awards Winners Announced

The Washington Center for the Book and The Seattle Public Library have selected winners in eight categories for the 2022 Washington State Book Awards (WSBA) for outstanding books published by Washington authors in 2021. This is the 56th year of the program, formerly called the Governor’s Writers Awards.

The finalists were announced Aug. 23, 2022. For a complete list of finalists, see SPL’s Shelf Talk blog post. Listed below are the winners.

2022 WSBA WINNERS: BOOKS FOR ADULTS CATEGORIES
Biography/Memoir

Being Seen: One Deafblind Woman’s Fight to End Ableism by Elsa Sjunneson, of Seattle (S&S/Simon Element)

Creative Nonfiction

The Book of Difficult Fruit: Arguments for the Tart, Tender, and Unruly (with recipes) by Kate Lebo, of Spokane (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

Fiction

On Fragile Waves by E. Lily Yu, of Western Washington (Erewhon)

General Nonfiction

Orca: Shared Waters, Shared Home by Lynda Mapes, of Seattle (Braided River and The Seattle Times)

Poetry

More American by Sharon Hashimoto, of Tukwila (Grid Books/Off the Grid Press)

2022 WSBA WINNERS: BOOKS FOR YOUTH CATEGORIES
Picture Books

Rock by Rock: The Fantastical Garden of Nek Chand by Jennifer Bradbury, of Burlington; illustrated by Sam Boughton (Atheneum Books for Young Readers)

Books for Young Readers

Mighty Inside by Sundee Frazier, of Renton (Levine Querido)

Books for Young Adult Readers

Little Thieves by Margaret Owen, of Seattle (Henry Holt and Company)


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