Lily, Tell the Truth. This Strike Is Not for Kids.

Lily Eskelsen García, in her role as the NEA president, has told a lie. She asserts that the decision by Seattle’s school teachers to go on strike for the start of the school year is driven by the needs of students. And that is just not true. Despite her absurd, though predictable, platitudes about students’ success being at the center of the decision to strike, the brutal truth is that students, as usual, are not the priority. “There is no stronger voice or advocate for Seattle students than Seattle educators,” said NEA President Lily Eskelsen García of the more than 5,000 Seattle educators striking on the first day of school. “As educators, student success is at the center of everything we do, and I’m proud that Seattle educators are standing up for the schools students deserve.” Really, Lily? How do you not burst out laughing at yourself when you say these things? The purpose of the NEA and the purpose of your role as the leader is to protect your workers, your teachers, the adults. You celebrate 53,000 students being prevented from starting their school year. You actively fight against families having any choice about the school their child attends. You support spending millions to fight parents, often low-income parents of color, who just want their children to learn to read, to be challenged, and to be respected in school. What you implicitly condone of this work stoppage is the use of 53,000 school children as human shields. All depend on being there to learn, some depend on being there for meals, and many depend on being there for the structure and stability that school provides. Your NEA affiliates in Seattle, who you publicly support, have taken all of that away because adults want a bigger raise. And that is not about kids.
Erika Sanzi is a mother of three sons and taught in public schools in Massachusetts, California and Rhode Island. She blogs at School Matters.
Erika Sanzi
Erika Sanzi is a mother of three sons and taught in public schools in Massachusetts, California and Rhode Island. She has served on her local school board in Cumberland, Rhode Island, advocated for fair school funding at the state level, and worked on campaigns of candidates she considers to be champions for kids and true supporters of great schools. She is currently a Fordham senior visiting ...

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