by Ari Robin McKenna
For the next three years, the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) ratified by the Seattle Public Schools (SPS) Board and the general membership of the Seattle Education Association (SEA), the union representing teachers, instructional assistants (IAs), and office workers, will be in effect.
Though the contract includes an across-the-board pay raise and a number of other significant gains, most SEA members do not seem to have gained much ground in their stated priority areas, particularly in their first and third priorities: “Adequate support for special education and multilingual education,” and “Living wages for all SPS educators.” These are issues that impact South Seattle especially. Students of Color are disproportionately represented in the overall special education population, the majority of SPS’ multilingual learners attend South End schools, and the educators not making a living wage are more likely to be People of Color who live here.
Continue reading Slim Gains for South End Educators Echo After Weeklong Strike
by Ari Robin McKenna
A report launched Tuesday, Dec. 8, outlines how to scale up multilingual education to meet the dire need for it in South King County. Called Our Rising Voices: A Call to Action to Support Our Multilingual Students, the study was the result of a year-long collaboration between the Road Map Project, the Community Center for Education Results, and One America.
Looking at data from public schools within the so-called “Road Map Project region” of South Seattle, Tukwila, Renton, Highline, Kent, Federal Way, and Auburn, the report concludes that 42% of students are English learners at some point during their K-12 education. Yet, only 8% of teachers in that region are endorsed in English Language Learning (ELL), and a mere 0.4% of teachers are endorsed in Bilingual Education. This systemic failure to adequately serve almost half the students in this region is especially troubling given how many English learners there are in this state. At the Zoom launch of this report, Veronica Gallardo, the state’s assistant superintendent of Schools and Systems Improvements — and a long time member of Road Map Project’s English Language Learners Work Group — cited the fact that Washington has the nation’s seventh largest English learner (EL) population and the second largest migrant population in the nation. Gallardo said, “The data makes the need for this work undeniable.”
Continue reading Study Indicates Stark Need for a South King County Paradigm Shift on Multilingual Education