By Lauren Ware Stark, English Language Development and Humanities teacher at Cleveland High School OnContinue reading »
Who are Social Equity Educators (SEE)?
Social Equity Educators is a rank and file caucus of Seattle Education Association educators that focuses on democratic, anti-racist, and anti-oppression policies and practices in our classrooms, schools, and communities. SEE engages in local, national, and international social movements for liberation and radical change by building alliances and addressing the roots of institutional racism and other forms of injustice.
Our Points of Unity:
Organizing and bargaining for equity from the bottom up
We believe in building a union that is driven by the vision and bottom-up organizing of educators and community partners, that fosters transparency and accountability of the elected leadership, and that bargains for the rights of educators, students, and communities. We believe that a contract supports equity if it is developed and ratified through democratic, transparent processes that involve educators, parents, students, and community allies. We believe that both educator organizing and bargaining should advocate for a democratically-developed vision for the schools all students deserve, including such goals as high-quality learning environments, anti-racist pedagogies and practices, and competitive compensation that allows Seattle to attract and retain strong educators and student support professionals.
Anti-racist, anti-oppression pedagogy and practices
We believe that every student has the right to a curriculum that reflects the needs and desires of their community, as well as addressing and challenging racism and other forms of oppression. All students have the right to learn about their own culture and those of their peers, and to discuss and respond to the inequalities that shape their everyday lives. All students further have the right to not only a strong education in the core subjects, but also holistic education that includes the arts, experiential learning, libraries, and civic engagement. We further believe that educators have the responsibility to advocate for and develop curricula and practices that reflect these rights and challenge racism and other forms of oppression in in school structures.
Supporting social movements through community alliances
We believe in supporting social movements for equity in schools and society through alliances with community partners such as parents, students, progressive education community advocates, and other unions in the labor movement. We seek to strengthen these alliances through democratic processes, dialogue, and strong coalitions. Through this work, we hope to address inequities in education and society by supporting struggles that are led and guided by the communities we serve.
Full and equitable funding for public education
We believe in fully funding public education for the schools all students deserve. Washington State has been ruled in court to be in violation of the Basic Education Funding Act. As Seattle educators, we know that the legislature’s failure to fully fund schools is racist, with schools that serve students of color and students living below the poverty line most dramatically affected by austerity and funding cuts. We demand that the state fully fund schools, using a method that creates funding equity across school districts.
We oppose corporate education reform, market-based approaches, and the privatization of public education, including such policies as charter schools, high-stakes testing, merit pay, online and blended learning, and school closures and turnarounds. We believe that these policies attempt to quantify and commodify student learning and teacher practice, narrowing teaching and learning through culturally biased, undemocratic standards and high-stakes tests. We further believe that these practices take time away time for high-quality, holistic education and drain desperately needed funds from public schools. Likewise, we believe that these policies benefit corporate reformers while imposing a vision for public education that undermines and ignores the cultural resources, expertise, and vision of community members, educators, parents, and students.
If you are an educator in Seattle, a member of the Seattle Education Association, and support the platform of Social Equity Educators, you should join us!