Tone It Down, Teachers

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Boy, the fight over the Seattle School District's bid to cut one day of paid teacher training sure seems like a tempest in a teapot--undeserving of the front-page coverage it is getting. Sure, Superintendent Maria Goodloe-Johnson's letter to teachers was supremely clumsy bureaucratese, something the district is particularly adept at. In telling teachers it was canceling their contract, and offering them a new contract with one less day, it sowed understandable confusion. But the Seattle Education Association's fury, and its announcement yesterday that it was pursuing legal options, seems over-the-top for a move that was instigated by the state's elimination of funding for the contested training day. One less day? When others are being forced into weeks-long unpaid furloughs, and 10 and 15 percent pay cuts, that is if they still have their jobs at all-- it's hard to work up a lot of outrage.

Seattle Education Association President Olga Addae is doing her best, though. In her statement yesterday, she referred to the district's notice to teachers as "effectively terminating their jobs" (though the district insists it is doing no such thing) and sent her own letter to teachers telling them that what was at stake was not just one paid day but the "integrity of our collective bargaining agreement."

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