There’s no not-boring way to put this, but the Tukwila School District will now conduct future labor-management contract negotiations in meetings open to the public.
Basically, thanks to a resolution passed by the school board, if you want to go watch the Tukwila Schools go through collective bargaining with the Tukwila teachers union, now you can.
I know, I know. You don’t want to. Neither do I, particularly. But as boring as it all sounds, I am extremely interested in anything that demands more transparency out of our teachers unions. This does that.
A press release about the resolution from the Tukwila School District says, “By opening the collective bargaining process to public view, the District will provide an incentive for both parties (management and labor) to take timely, reasonable, publicly defendable positions that allow the community to better understand the budget and other implications of collective bargaining contracts.”
I like this. Teachers unions don’t always “take publicly defendable positions,” frankly, so it is pretty refreshing to see a school district saying as much in an official capacity.
Tukwila is one of the first western Washington school districts to make their collective bargaining negotiations transparent and open to the public. The timing of the change is based on changes resulting from HB 2242 (the new state education budget), but it certainly seems geared more broadly beyond short-term specifics toward creating greater union accountability.
I don't know how this will all play out, of course, but I'm optimistic. I hope it works out and that other districts will end up following suit. The new budget is bringing with it a slew of changes, and by opening the doors to collective bargaining meetings, parents in Tukwila will be allowed to interpret the new legislation as a community alongside the unions and districts instead of hearing about it after the fact.
So, that’s that, right?
Check out this beautiful nugget from the board resolution itself:
WHEREAS since 1971, it is the declared policy of the State at RCW 42.30.010:
That all public commissions, boards, councils, committees, subcommittees, departments, divisions, offices, and all other public agencies of this state and subdivisions thereof exist to aid in the conduct of the people's business. It is the intent of this chapter that their actions be taken openly and that their deliberations be conducted openly.
The people of this state do not yield their sovereignty to the agencies which serve them. The people, in delegating authority, do not give their public servants the right to decide what is good for the people to know and what is not good for them to know. The people insist on remaining informed so that they may retain control over the instruments they have created.
I love this. We do not yield our sovereignty to our schools. They are here to serve us, as are all other public agencies. As is literally the entire government. Don't forget it. This should be the platform of a national political party. It’s gorgeous.
Ok, now that’s really that.