The impacts of a teachers’ strike: What about the children?


  • BY Wire Service
  • Wednesday, August 19, 2009 7:01pm
  • Opinion

In all of the news reports and contract negotiation updates, we’ve heard about the views of both the teacher’s union and the district. But, what about the children? What will happen to them if school does not begin on time on Aug. 31?

Currently, all children under the age of 18 in Kent School District are eligible to receive free lunch all summer long. The last day of this program is Aug. 26; therefore, Aug. 31 may represent the first day that some of these children do not have lunch. The longer the strike, the longer some children go without this meal.

It is a fact that children lose some academic skills during the summer. Each day that the school year is delayed, the longer it will take to see academic progress when school finally begins. Academic achievement affects confidence and important curriculum based milestones that must be met during the school year.

College applications may be negatively impacted and graduation dates of thousands of seniors may be delayed.

The families of 26,000 students will have to miss work, organize extra childcare, or leave children at home.

Children are more successful with structured routines to follow and depend upon. Not knowing when school is going to begin and what the environment will be like when it finally does, will make adjusting to the changes of a new school year even more stressful.

Extracurricular activities such as clubs and sports will be adversely affected due to a delay in the start of the school year compared to schools in other districts.

As advocates for all children in the District, it is our sincere hope that Kent School District and Kent Education Association resolve contract negotiations as soon as possible. As Article IX, Section 1 of our state constitution clearly states: “It is the paramount duty of the state to make ample provision for the education of all children residing within its borders, without distinction or preference on account of race, color, caste, or sex.”

Let’s give our kids what they deserve: A quality education.

— Written by Jen Harjehausen, Brooke Valentine, Agda Burchard and Jen Ritchie of the Kent Chapter of Stand For Children. For more information about Stand For Children, visit

Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 300 words or less.

More in Opinion

Don C. Brunell is a business analyst, writer and columnist. He is a former president of the Association of Washington Business, the state’s oldest and largest business organization, and lives in Vancouver. Contact
Thoughts on Memorial Day and the ultimate sacrifice | Brunell

On Memorial Day, we traditionally honor Americans in our military who gave… Continue reading

Robert Whale can be reached at
In search of fairness, morals and good sportsmanship | Whale's Tales

Ah, the Golden Rule. We all know it: do unto others as… Continue reading

Robert Whale can be reached at
If you're right, and you know it, then read this | Whale's Tales

As the poet Theodore Roethke once wrote: “In a dark time the eye begins to see…”

Robert Whale can be reached at
The key thing is what we do with our imperfections | Whale's Tales

I have said and done many things of which I am not proud. That is, I am no golden bird cheeping about human frailties from some high branch of superhuman understanding.

Robert Whale can be reached at
Grappling with the finality of an oncologist's statement | Whale's Tales

Perhaps my brain injected a bit of humor to cover the shock. But I felt the gut punch.

Cartoon by Frank Shiers
Legislature back in session next week | Cartoon

State lawmakers return Jan. 8 to Olympia.

Cartoon by Frank Shiers
Santa doesn't drive a Kia | Cartoon

Cartoon by Frank Shiers.

Cartoon by Frank Shiers
Salute to veterans | Cartoon by Frank Shiers

On Veterans Day, honor those who served your country.

File photo
Why you should vote in the upcoming election | Guest column

When I ask my students when the next election is, frequently they will say “November 2024” or whichever presidential year is coming up next.

Robert Whale can be reached at
Here's a column for anyone who loves their dog | Whale's Tales

It is plain to me in looking at dogs small and large that a decent share of them are exemplars of love on Earth, innocents who love unconditionally and love their chow.

Robert Whale can be reached at
Please protect your children from BS spreaders | Whale's Tales

Among the most useful things I studied in college were debate, and… Continue reading