Press release by SEE:

Jesse Hagopian to the right of the sign and other teachers in Olympia.

On the opening day of the last special session of the WA state legislature, Garfield High School teacher, Jesse Hagopian made headlines when he got arrested trying to arrest the legislature for being out of compliance for fully funding public education. Mr. Hagopian was interviewed by Keith Olbermann on Countdown and has written about his reasons for his actions in an article titled Why I Am Shopping for Handcuffs on Black Friday: Occupy the Capitol!

This afternoon and evening,  March 16th from 4-7:30 PM, at the Grotto (under the Rendezvous in Belltown) where for ONLY $5, friends of public education and democratic unions will be able to dance, swing, and “shake that thing” for a righteous reason, to help Jesse Hagopian pay the legal bills he incurred by getting arrested for attempting a ‘Citizen’s Arrest’ of the Washington State Legislature for the crime of not fully funding public education.

You’ll also be able to meet Social Equality Educators endorsed candidates for the offices of SEA president and Vice President, Eric Muhs (who will be performing) and Jennifer Hall.

Social Equality Educators is a rank and file group of progressive educators who have come together to strengthen public education. Teacher members of SEE regularly share best practices in their respective disciplines. SEE has helped to energize and focus the Seattle Education Association by organizing events including public forums with national and local education experts, including Diane Ravitch and Wayne Au. SEE founders have worked successfully to forge connections between the SEA the King County Labor Council. SEE is committed to increasing member engagement and participation in the SEA by increasing advocacy for members, and dramatically increasing member education, member involvement, and community outreach. It is unusual for a caucus within a Washington State educators’ union to run a slate of candidates against incumbents or entrenched union leadership. For at least the past two decades, SEA elections have seemed to be foregone conclusions. SEE members saw a need for democratizing the elections, and building a more inclusive union. SEE members believe that the unions of Washington State have a major role to play in fostering a resurgence in union membership nationwide.

As political attacks on Washington State teachers and their unions have increased, the Washington Education Association (WEA) and locals including the Seattle Education Association have done a tremendous job of `upping their game’, in terms of mobilizing members to contact legislators and lobbying in Olympia. On Monday, March 19, SEE members will stand with their SEA union brethren to rally against attacks on collective bargaining, which include a proposed state takeover of school employees’ benefits, and more cuts to education.