Lindquist to head state teachers union
November 24, 2008 · Updated 4:19 PM
Longtime Mercer Island School District teacher, Mary Lindquist, will become head of the 80,000-member, state-wide union for teachers, the Washington Education Association (WEA) beginning July 1.
The 1,300 delegates at the WEA’s annual Representative Assembly elected Lindquist on March 31 in Tacoma to a two-year term as WEA president. Lindquist, who has taught English and social studies at Mercer Island High School since 1971, currently serves as president of the Island teacher’s union, the Mercer Island Education Association and the WEA Sammamish Council. Current WEA President Charles Hasse has served six years, the maximum allowed by the association term limits.
Lindquist vowed to continue WEA’s focus on improving school funding and changing the way the WASL is used.
“We should not support any single high-stakes test, not for fourth graders, not for seventh graders and certainly not to determine who graduates from our high schools,” Lindquist said. “As WEA president, I also will ensure our organization always fights for adequate lifelong compensation for all educators.”
Throughout her campaign Lindquist has repeatedly told union members that ensuring “there is an ample, reliable revenue stream to fund state education,” is the most important priority for the organization.
Delegates at the WEA Representative Assembly in Tacoma also approved an open letter to Superintendent of Public Instruction Terry Bergeson that urges her to stop using the WASL to make “high-stakes decisions such as grade retention, graduation and program options.”
The letter calls the current WASL-based student assessment system unfair, misleading, inaccurate, troubling and harmful to students.
“We have got to get out of this testing mania,” Lindquist told the Reporter. “We need high standards, no question, but we don’t have to go through all of this testing.”
Mercer Island High School teacher Mike Radow, who is already a part of the union leadership here, will most likely become the new MIEA president by May, Lindquist said.
Lindquist will remain on leave from the school district as she fulfills her duties with the union, whose headquarters are in Federal Way.
The MIEA represents Island teachers in negotiation with the school district on salaries, benefits and working conditions at the schools.