Teachers in Seattle in Washington, US, will start the fourth day of their strike today. The teachers say they are striking for the schools Seattle children deserve. Although improved pay is important given that some Seattle teachers cannot even afford to live in the city where they teach, the union is also fighting for racial and social justice. For many children in low income and minority schools, for example, recess had been cut to 15 minutes in order to concentrate on test preparation. The union has now secured the restoration of recess but many issues still remain, including the reduction of standardised testing and increasing funding for counsellors, as well as improved pay.

There is much support for the teachers' stand. Last night there was a benefit concert given by local musicians. Introducing the event, Seattle Education Association spokesperson Jess Hagopian said: 'They say we aren't teaching right now. I say we are. We're teaching about standing up for what's right.' Meanwhile high school students showed their support by organising a read-in in one of the city squares. One student said: "It inspires me to go out there and change the world, to be really proactive about things no matter how young you are." The picket lines outside schools have been joined by families and children, supporting the teachers.

The school superintendent is now attempting to rule the strike illegal, a move which teachers' leaders have dismissd as an attempt to bully them. It is interesting to note the many similarities between this strike and the ongoing teachers strike in Kenya - in both cases the governments are trying to put moral pressure on teachers as they plead poverty in terms of paying teachers properly. In both cases they are attempting to use the courts to crush teachers. And in both cases it is the unions and their members who are standing up for public education - a fact which is recognised in the wide support both strikes have.