Seattle teachers reach agreement, suspend strike

first_imgSeattle teachers and staff suspended their seven-day strike against the Seattle School District on Sept. 15. The strike, with an amazing amount of activity, greatly increased the bonds of solidarity between the teachers and the community, especially with parents and students.After a tentative agreement was reached between the Seattle Education Association and the Seattle School District on Sept. 15, SEA’s Representative Assembly voted to suspend the strike. Teachers and staff returned to work on Sept. 16, and schools opened the next day. The SEA membership approved a three-year contract, with a big ratification turnout from the union’s 5,000 members on Sept. 20.Parents and supporters sang at a rally outside the hall where the vote took place. They were giving support to the educators whichever way they voted.Given all the cutbacks and attacks on public education that had taken place, the teachers were demanding better conditions for the students, while insisting on fairness for themselves. The teachers were fed up with overwork and being disrespected by administrators, politicians and anti-public-education “philanthropists.”A very inclusive 40-member bargaining team negotiated throughout the summer. The SEA called for a pay increase for educators, since their tiny salary increases had been eaten up by higher medical costs in the last contract. They also wanted more help for support staff. Teachers opposed the short 15-minute recesses for students and a longer school day. They wanted “race and equity teams” in the schools to combat systemic racism.Community, labor support keyPicketing teachers were highly visible throughout the strike, with dozens demonstrating and chanting at each of the city’s 97 public schools. They were supported by parents’ groups, such as Soup for Teachers, which brought food and support to the picket lines. While educators wearing red shirts were all around the city, it appeared that school district and school board representatives were in “bunker mode.”On Sept. 14, hundreds of teachers held a mass picket line at Franklin High School. About 100 teachers marched five-and-a-half miles from Chief Sealth International High School to school district headquarters. There were other convergence actions across the city.Also that day, the Seattle City Council, feeling the pressure, voted unanimously to support the strike. Labor unions from across the country sent support messages to the strikers. It was then that the school district moved to settle with the SEA, making some concessions.Some 800 parents and young students marched on John Stanford District Headquarters on Sept. 15 to support the teachers’ demands. After many parents made “mic check” teacher-support statements, the tentative agreement was announced.While there were many gains in teacher and community solidarity, here are some of the settlement’s concrete results: The SEA won a guaranteed 30-minute recess for students; a 4.8 percent cost-of-living increase in the first two years, a 5 percent pay increase over two years, with a 4.5 percent increase in the third year. The school day will be lengthened by 20 minutes. The SEA website says the teachers will be compensated for additional time and that more staff will be added to help the educators and students.The SEA forced the district to uncouple student test scores from teacher evaluations. “Race and equity” teams will be set up to deal with racial disparities in education in 30 schools; this is a gain, but it is not sufficient.The teachers’ struggle can be built on. Seattle Educators Association President Jonathan Knapp said they followed the lessons of the 2012 Chicago teachers’ strike in unifying with the community. One advance was an alliance with at least three new parent groups. Black Lives Matter and NAACP activists strongly supported the strike.This strike also grew out of a wave of dozens of one-day strikes by teachers across Washington state during the spring. These walkouts opposed the state Legislature, which has refused to allocate necessary funding for basic education for all students. The struggle for a decent education will continue because youth are too precious to be sent to prison or in other ways abused by the capitalist class.FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thisFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thislast_img read more

CoreLogic: Student Loans Not Depressing Home Ownership

first_imgSign up for DS News Daily Demand Propels Home Prices Upward 2 days ago The Week Ahead: Nearing the Forbearance Exit 2 days ago July 22, 2014 1,036 Views One of the pet reasons for explaining the lack of demand for houses among millennials is the presence of ever-escalating student loan debts. The thinking goes that college graduates are so mired in debt that they either cannot afford to buy or are too afraid to run up more debt, and so they stay living with their parents or find cheap places to rent.However, Mark Fleming, chief economist atCoreLogic, isn’t buying it.Citing a recent panel discussion at the Urban Institute on “Quantifying the Impact of Student Loan Debt on Homeownership,”  and recently published reports by the Brookings Institute and Jeffrey Thompson, economist at the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, Fleming draws the conclusion that  while student loan debt undoubtedly affects financial decisions for those post-college, there is zero empirical evidence to back up the claim that these debts are keeping young people from buying their first homes.For one thing, Fleming says, the monthly payback amount anyone has to spend on a student loan is based on a percentage of income. This percentage has remained virtually unchanged since the mid-1990s, but then, so have earnings—and members of Generation X didn’t shy away from buying houses just because of these obligations.Student loan debt is at the $1 trillion mark, and there are more outstanding loans than ever. But Fleming says these facts alone do not show that student loan debt is a bigger burden for millennials, much less one that will prevent homeownership.”Going to college still increases one’s earning potential,” Fleming said. “For those who had to finance college with loans, the burden of repayment relative to income remains the same today as in the 1990s.”This, he says, begs the question: If young people in the 1990s found a way to buy a home while coping with student loan debt, then “why wouldn’t young people today, with the same relative burden, be able to do the same?”One answer may be the increasing number of young people who do not finish college or take much longer than four years to get through it.In the past few years, reports by the National Bureau of Economic Research and the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center show that more students are taking six or more years to get through college these days, though the reasons why are not discussed. What’s important about this factor, Fleming says, is that the likelihood of homeownership drops among those who do not complete their education.”Accumulating the debt, but not earning the degree, results in the burden without any benefit,” he said. “Research still shows that, on average, getting a college degree results in higher earnings.”Beyond the basic message of “stay in school,” Fleming says it’s up to colleges to be more proactive in quelling a loan crisis that could lead to an entire section of Americans being unable to afford a home. “The post-secondary educational system and financing policies for a college education need to carefully consider, and potentially attempt to prevent, the burden of college debt without the benefit of a degree,” he said.  Print This Post CoreLogic: Student Loans Not Depressing Home Ownership The Best Markets For Residential Property Investors 2 days ago Scott Morgan is a multi-award-winning journalist and editor based out of Texas. During his 11 years as a newspaper journalist, he wrote more than 4,000 published pieces. He’s been recognized for his work since 2001, and his creative writing continues to win acclaim from readers and fellow writers alike. He is also a creative writing teacher and the author of several books, from short fiction to written works about writing. CoreLogic Student Loans 2014-07-22 Scott Morgan Subscribe Data Provider Black Knight to Acquire Top of Mind 2 days ago Tagged with: CoreLogic Student Loans Share Savecenter_img Data Provider Black Knight to Acquire Top of Mind 2 days ago Servicers Navigate the Post-Pandemic World 2 days ago About Author: Scott Morgan Governmental Measures Target Expanded Access to Affordable Housing 2 days ago Governmental Measures Target Expanded Access to Affordable Housing 2 days ago Related Articles in Daily Dose, Featured, Headlines, Market Studies, News Previous: DS News Webcast: Wednesday 7/23/2014 Next: Home Prices Increase, Still Down from Last Year The Best Markets For Residential Property Investors 2 days ago Servicers Navigate the Post-Pandemic World 2 days ago Home / Daily Dose / CoreLogic: Student Loans Not Depressing Home Ownership Demand Propels Home Prices Upward 2 days agolast_img read more