Teaching Profession

Tacoma, Wash. Teachers Defy Judge, Continue Strike

By Christina A. Samuels — September 16, 2011 1 min read
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Despite a judge’s order to return to the classroom, teachers in the 28,000-student Washington district have continued a strike, now in its fourth day. Edweek.org’s Teacher channel has a story on the situation, as does the local Tacoma News Tribune, which has a package of articles, including reaction from the lawmakers and a history of the dispute on its site.

The teachers say they are striking because the school district wants to increase class sizes and institute staffing changes that would allow the district to shift teachers around capriciously. The district contends that the changes it wants to see are necessary to deal with budget cuts.

Both sides have dueling websites, where you can compare and contrast the teachers’ perspective to the school district’s updates. Both sides appear at this point to be unwilling to budge.

So far, the strike action has proved to be popular with teachers: 87 percent of the total union membership voted to start the strike, and after a judge issued an order requiring them to return to work, 93 percent of teachers voted to keep to the picket lines anyway.

But will the teachers garner the same level of support in the community, especially in an era of persistently high unemployment, and the economy in the doldrums? That will be an important factor to watch, especially if the strike drags on.

A version of this news article first appeared in the District Dossier blog.