Tuesday, October 14, 2003

Last night's rally

Oh, man, what a rush! We really needed that. Last night, much of the MEA, plus some of our colleagues from around the state, gathered in Everett to talk about our experiences so far, our goals, and to reaffirm that we're doing the right thing. Many Marysville teachers talked about why they were out and would remain out, how the strike has reaffirmed their love of teaching and the relations with their colleagues, how they've seen the district plummet downhill over the last couple of years, and so forth. The real affirming talks, however, came from teachers in other districts. They came from nearby — Everett, Arlington, Granite Falls, Sultan, Edmonds, Northshore — and from far away — Seattle, Bellingham, Lake Washington, Hoquiam, Central Kitsap, Sequim, Port Angeles, even Spokane. All came to tell us to hang in there, as we're not fighting just for Marysville, but teachers all over the state. They don't want to see other districts fall into the same mess Marysville is in.

What's truly impressive, however, is that now we're having an impact outside the state. A group of teachers in Colorado sent the union money yesterday, and we've gotten noticed in that other Washington, as the state delegation to Congress is keeping track of things and seeing what they can do to help. The biggest news, however, came from representatives of the British Columbia Teacher's Federation, who came down from Canada on their Thanksgiving to show their support, and annouce a pledge of $10,000. (Okay, that's Canadian, so with the screwy exchange rate, it's a lot less, but it's still an impressive gesture.) The WEA also promised that there would be money to keep us going, so we won't have to be forced back to work for economic reasons.

Today probably will feel a bit anticlimactic, although I gather someone is coming from the NEA. Tomorrow will be the big test, as a judge is expected to make a ruling in the lawsuits seeking injunctions against us. Should the ruling go against the teachers, I do have an idea that would end up being a pretty impressive show of unity, if it can be pulled off…

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