Seattle Education

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SEA Candidate statements by Jonathan Knapp and Phyllis Campano

In the spirit of fairness, because I have posted information regarding Eric Muhs who is a candidate for President of the Seattle Education Association, to follow is a statement by Jonathan Knapp and his running mate Phyllis Campano.

Every governance election within a union presents a crossroads for the membership. At the crossroads of this election we believe that there are two paths available. We can go back to the illusory notion that before the “ed reformers” came along everything was fine. Under this view, all we have to do is say “no” to the very powerful forces that are currently defining “ed reform”: Gates, Broad, the Waltons, the Koch brothers, Grover Norquist, Democrats for Education Reform, League of Education Voters, Stand for Children, the state PTA, Excellent Schools Now, Teach for America, the U.S. Department of Education under Arnie Duncan. Under this view, putting our foot down and saying “no” will stop them. We know that this is what they expect and want unions to do. That way they can blame unions and make the case that unions must be broken. For almost all of them, their agenda is to destroy public sector unionism.

Instead of falling into that trap, SEA is building on the successes that it has recently crafted and continues to take the fight to these wrong-headed, corporate “reformists” by implementing solutions that take away their arguments. In the 2010 contract bargain, SEA confronted the full array of the “ed reform” wish list: merit pay, the end of seniority, and teacher evaluation by student test scores. “Teacher quality” was the red-herring issue being pushed by then-superintendent Goodloe-Johnson and her report-for-hire from the National Council on Teacher Quality. We took the state’s then-new requirement for a 4-level rating system and created a new evaluation system that keeps student test score data where it should stay: out of the final evaluation. Since ratification, SEA’s new evaluation system has been held up across the state and country as the way to take “teacher quality” off the table as an ed reform issue. The message out of all this? That unions have better ideas and can implement them through collective bargaining. That argument is more germane than ever now that collective bargaining is under attack in our state legislature.

After the summer of 2010, SEA led the discussion within WEA about the scope and the power of the attacks on public education by the above-mentioned groups. It is mostly due to the experience in Seattle, and SEA leadership in the discussion about it, that WEA members across the state have come to understand the dangers that public education is now facing. Our experience and advocacy on the WEA board has helped WEA pivot, reorient, and ready itself for the attacks that are coming. Across the nation, in the NEA family, Washington state is seen as among the most proactive states in fighting back, not waiting to have to react. A table-pounding pronouncement about who the enemies of public education are is old news. We have been moving the state to act on that knowledge for two years now and will continue to do so in the future.

My name is Jonathan Knapp. I am the current SEA Vice-President and a former automotive technology teacher. I was a delegate to both the WEA and NEA Representative Assemblies in 2011. I am a board director for WEA, the WEA Political Action Committee board director for SEA, and chairperson of SEA’s political endorsements committee, EPEC. I led the 2010 SEA bargaining team. I am running for SEA President.

My name is Phyllis Campano. I am currently a special education teacher at Pathfinder K-8. I am a veteran of the last two contract bargains for SEA. I currently lead a work group that is gathering information about the challenges facing special education in Seattle. I am running for SEA Vice-President.

We are running together as a team. You can find out more about our individual biographies and accomplishments at our website: www.knappcampano4sea.com You will also find there a comprehensive statement about our vision for SEA, instructions about voting, as well as a list of our endorsers.

Thank you.

Jonathan Knapp and Phyllis Campano

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