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Seattle Schools Cancel First Day Of Class Over Teacher Strike

Teachers at West Seattle Elementary School begin walking a picket line Wednesday morning, after last-minute negotiations over wages and other issues failed to avert a strike.
Teachers at West Seattle Elementary School begin walking a picket line Wednesday morning, after last-minute negotiations over wages and other issues failed to avert a strike.

Instead of welcoming some 53,000 students to the start of the school year, teachers in Seattle are marching in picket lines Wednesday, going on strike over issues that range from pay to testing.

From member station KUOW, Ann Dornfeld reports for our Newscast unit:

"The district said it was offering the teachers a generous pay raise, but teachers said they deserve more, after waiting through the great recession for higher pay.

"The district had asked teachers to work a longer day; the union says the district didn't plan to compensate teachers for the extra time. Teachers also want a say in which standardized tests students take."

The school district had offered raises of "2 percent this year, 3.2 percent next year and 3.75 percent the year after that," as member station KPLU reports. But the 5,000 members of the Seattle Education Association proposed "5 percent in the first year and 5.5 percent in the second year of a new deal."

Lily Eskelsen Garcia, president of the National Education Association, tells the AP that the issues being contested in Seattle are "issues that every educator in the country is grappling with right now."

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Bill Chappell is a writer and editor on the News Desk in the heart of NPR's newsroom in Washington, D.C.