Striking Kent teachers prepare for long-haul: ‘We’ll be out here until we get a fair contract’

Aug 25, 2022, 12:40 PM

[12:31 PM] Michael Simeona YouTube

Striking teachers took to the picket lines Thursday, delaying the school year for students of the Kent School District.

The district has been bargaining with the union that represents the educators — the Kent Education Association — since July, according to Yoko Kuramoto-Eidsmoe, a spokesperson for the union.

At stake are three central teacher demands: fewer students in individual classrooms, expanded mental health resources for students, and improved pay.

Striking teachers on the picket line outside the Kent School District offices told KIRO Newsradio that the bottom line is teachers simply need more educators and mental health counselors in schools.

“We definitely want to see lower class sizes, something more manageable,” said Reby Parsley, one of the people striking outside the district office.

Counselors can work with up to 400 students apiece, striking members with the union added.

Kent teacher union OKs strike using ‘children as pawns,’ think tank says

When asked for how long teachers would be willing to strike over their demands, the union declined to comment on specifics, simply noting, “We’ll be out here for as long as it takes … We are prepared to carry this out until we get a fair contract,” Parsley added.

“We are just really disappointed to be at this point,” said Alisha Gray who teaches sixth grade at Sunrise Elementary. “The district’s anti-teacher proposals have thrown the entire community into unnecessary upheaval. I hope that we can get a fair deal as quickly as possible and go back to educating our kids.”

The Kent Education Association represents 1,700 classroom teachers in the district, approximately 50 of whom struck outside the district’s offices Thursday.

“We want to be back in the class with the students just as much as they do,” Parsley added.

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Striking Kent teachers prepare for long-haul: ‘We’ll be out here until we get a fair contract’