Teachers in Seattle in the US met last week to vote on a strike from this Wednesday if the City continues to refuse their demands. An overhwelming majority of teachersin the hall, many wearing the red T shirts which have come to represent so many teachers in struggle in the US, shouted 'aye' for a strike while not a single voice was raised against.

The strike for the schools Seattle children deserve is about much more than pay according to Seattle teacher, Jesse Hagopian, in an for the Real News. 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 has been cut to 15 minutes in order to concentrate on test preparation. The union wants recess restored.

Another major demand is for race and equity teams in all schools, since the Seattle school district has been shown to be excluding four times as many minority students as white ones for the same infractions. Hagopian says that there is great support in the local community and that, learning lessons from the Chicago Teachers Union, the union intends to develop itself as a social movement union, working with parents and students to improve public education. 

Meanwhile in the smaller Pasco school district, also in Washington state, teachers were on strike last week demanding funding for curriculum and basic classroom materials, democratic involvement with the development of the curriculum, class size limits, fewer standardised tests and a salary commensurate with neighbouring districts. On Friday a the teachers to return to work, causing anger among the many teachers rallied outside the courtroom, who say it is impossible to teach under the present conditions. One young school student said after the judgement: 'Keep striking, even if they have to go to jail. It's standing up for what is right, that's more important than just giving up now.'