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

Array

  • 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 www.stand.org.


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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 thebrunells@msn.com.
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