What do teacher strikes do?

Thousands of kids missed classes Tuesday as teachers in Seattle, Mercer Island, Issaquah and Peninsula school districts staged a one-day walkout to rally for smaller classes and higher pay. Thousands of teachers filled the streets of Seattle in a show of support, while the Legislature continues in special session trying to forge a budget deal.

As KING 5 reported, some of the teachers hitting the streets “say they are hoping parents will call their lawmakers to tell them to find the money to pay for smaller classes, teacher raises and other public school needs.”

Which raises the question: do you plan to contact your lawmaker about this? Do you honk your horn in support when you drive by the teachers, but leave it at that? Just what do the walkouts accomplish? (More districts plan walkouts, while others have already held theirs.)

Some people might support the idea of higher pay and lower class size but disagree with teachers walking out during instructional time and adding a day to the school year. “Closing down schools to air grievances is antagonistic to students,” wrote The Seattle Times editorial board. “Public education in Seattle earns a failing grade on Tuesday.” 

So are the walkouts lost learning time, or a lesson in civics and politics? Perhaps it depends on who’s teaching.

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