Thousands of teachers in Washington state strike over salaries

Aug 30 (Reuters) - Nearly 80,000 students in Washington state were unable to attend the first day of school this week as thousands of teachers went on strike seeking higher salaries, teacher's unions said.

Educators in seven school districts in southwestern Washington were on strike as early as mid-August and the number of walkouts was expected to rise, according to the Washington Education Association, which represents teachers in the state.

Teachers seeking enhanced education funding also have walked out in recent months in West Virginia, Arizona and Oklahoma.

RELATED: Secrets teachers know about your kids that you don't

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Secrets teachers know about your kids that you don't
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Secrets teachers know about your kids that you don't

Your kids want to talk about family issues they might not understand

“You think what happens at home stays at home? We hear about your financial problems, your nasty fights, your drinking problem. We end up knowing way too much about everybody.”—Anonymous principal

“Kids dish on your secrets all the time—money, religion, politics, even dad’s vasectomy.”—Anonymous teacher   These are some more things your child’s teacher won’t tell you.

Your kids come into their own when they aren’t with you

“Your kid is a lot less shy and a lot more competent than you think.”—Anonymous camp counselor   This is what your kid’s principal is secretly thinking.

Yes, your kid lies to you. Even the one who gets all As

“Don’t tell me your child would never lie to you. All kids make mistakes, and great students are often the ones most afraid to tell their parents when they screw up.”—Anonymous principal    You should steal these secret habits of straight-A students.

Your kids wish you weren’t a know-it-all

“Your child doesn’t want you to be an expert in his sport. I believe a big reason lacrosse has become so popular is that the kids know their parents don’t understand the game, so all Mom and Dad can do is watch the match.”—Anonymous coach

For whatever reason, your kids are cutting back on studying

“Most kids aren’t spending as much time on their work as they say. A lot of the time, I can tell that the hour they’re working with me is the only hour they’re working on that subject.”—Anonymous tutor

Your kid might be short some very basic life skills 

“Kids used to go out and play after school and resolve problems on their own. Now with computers and TV, they lack the skills to communicate. They don’t know how to get past hurt feelings without telling the teacher and having her fix it.”—Anonymous teacher   Make sure you teach your kids these 17 very important manners.

Your kids might be too easily distracted

“It’s really tough to keep kids focused these days. I’ve had players who were text messaging in the locker room before the game. Last year, I kicked a player out of practice because he had his cell phone in his sock.”—Anonymous coach   Next, learn these teacher-approved tips that’ll help your kid get ready for back-to-school.

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More Washington educators would walk out next week. Teachers in Seattle - the state's most-populated city - on Tuesday gave their union authority to call for a strike unless a contract deal is reached before classes resume there on Sept. 5, according to the Seattle Education Association.

Seattle Public Schools officials said the district backs educators and believes it has provided them with fair and competitive salaries, but it said on Wednesday that it must also manage its budget to provide services for students.

"We must balance our desire to support our educators while at the same time sustaining critical services and programs students need and families expect," Seattle school officials said in a statement. "Even with offering every state dollar, starting in 2019-20 the district is projecting a budget shortfall that will grow over time."

Contract renegotiation began in most of Washington's 295 school districts, which serve more than 1 million students, after state lawmakers this year approved an additional $1 billion hike for educators' salaries for the upcoming school year, according to the Seattle Times.

The Vancouver Education Association union said its proposal for salary increases only includes the money specifically allocated by the state for salaries and that it would not negatively impact students.

"School districts across the state have already settled fair contracts," the Vancouver union said on its website. "We are currently in the midst of a statewide educator shortage crisis. We cannot afford to have our highly qualified teachers leave for other, more competitive districts." (Reporting by Gina Cherelus in New York Editing by Bill Trott)

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