No contract yet, but a court order made the teachers wake up and smell the chalk dust.
The Seattle Times: School days finally arrive for Marysville students, teachers
This strike was by no means solely the teachers' fault. Both sides have displayed a remarkable paucity of common sense in the 51 days since the strike began. But to hold the schoolkids hostage, to require a court order to return to work without a contract when they could have done that 50, 49, 40, any number of days ago since this started—well, in the spirit of our big purpose of "sending a message," what kind of message does that send to people?
"Hey, I know! Let's strike, make no progress toward settling our differences, delay the lives of thousands of people to make a point, but then return to work without a contract when we might face fines or other penalties!"
I believe public-school teachers shouldn't have the right to strike, so I don't side with the teachers. I understand their complaints and concerns, and I agree with many of them, but I do not support striking as a method of achieving better conditions for them.
And one question no one has answered to my satisfaction yet: The Marysville teachers didn't take their strike vote until September 1. Why were negotations for a new contract not started months ago so the two sides could hammer out any differences with enough time that a strike would be shorter, if it occurred at all? I know the budget may not have been finalized, but budget work isn't done in a matter of minutes; the school district had to have a good idea months in advance what expenses it would be able to justify for the next contract period.
Why wait until a strike even COULD go on this long?
The school year now ends July 27, since the kids have to make up 36 schooldays to meet the state-mandated 180-day school year.