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Thursday, September 8, 2022

Seattle Teachers on Strike


9/8/22 Seattle teachers on strike

Yesterday was supposed to be the first day of school for Seattle public school students, but the Seattle Education Association (the union representing Seattle teachers) delayed the opening by going on strike. According to the Seattle Times, “Demands from SEA include maintaining staff ratios for disabled and multilingual students as the district aims to provide more services in general education classrooms, and ensuring the district provides them with interpretation and translation services in meetings with parents and on official documents.” 

I don’t follow education news closely, but I figure that with all that teachers have been through the past few years, their grievances must be legitimate, and they deserve to get whatever they are asking for.

Today on the second day of the strike, I went over to Roosevelt High School. Parking several blocks away, I approached the school on foot. Expecting to see them pacing in front of the school’s front entrance, I was surprised to see a line of teachers marching toward me. I let them all pass, then tagged along behind them as they walked around the block. (I’m out of practice sketching while I march: The last – and only – time I did that was during the 2017 Seattle Women’s March. Like the pink hats we all wore then, the teachers’ bright red SEA T-shirts gave them visual solidarity and made them easy to sketch.) Sympathetic drivers honked their support as they passed.

Eventually the strikers took a break in the shade of one of Roosevelt High’s many large trees. Across the street in the shade myself, I could have easily taken more time (although I didn’t know how long their break would last). But the nature of the news I was trying to capture felt urgent, and I found myself sketching with unnecessary haste. As a result, my sketch turned out messier than I like, but I’ll chalk that up to the medium being the message.

Striking teachers take a break at Roosevelt High School.

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