Voices of Roosevelt

The Student News Site of Roosevelt High School

Voices of Roosevelt

Voices of Roosevelt

Portland Public School Teacher Strike

Credit%3A+PAT+Instagram
Credit: PAT Instagram

For the first time in PPS history, teachers might strike. You may have seen your teachers wearing blue on Tuesdays or students making remarks about an even shorter no school November. When and why is this happening? How will it affect students and our community? 

The PAT or Portland Association of Teachers is a union that represents teachers within Portland Public Schools. Teachers within this union will be voting this week to decide if a strike will happen later this fall, most likely around early November. Roosevelt chemistry teacher, Chris Schweizer is heavily involved with the PAT, he is the head building representative, zone five captain, and head of contract action team with Sarah McKinnon. He explained that the union is currently bargaining a proposal with the district on the contract that would be voted on by members of the PAT.

 The proposal in question is focused on supporting students and teachers through class size caps, mental health support, increased pay, building safety, and workloads. In an interview Schweizer provided details for these aspects of the contract. Starting with class size caps: many schools in the district have classes with more than thirty students to one teacher. Schweizer explained that many of those students have high needs, and aren’t able to get the support they need in such large classrooms, which disrupts everyone’s learning. Providing mental health support for students includes requiring all schools to have social workers and experienced mental health providers. Increasing teachers’ pay to reflect the rising costs of inflation, and building safety including temperature and pest control. Adjusting teacher workloads, and providing time for teachers to plan and prepare for classes, so that teachers aren’t working on the weekends or before and after their workday. Mr. Schweizer explained during the school week, “I come in for instance between 6:30 and 7:15. I’m here and my actual paid time does not start until 8:15, so we do unpaid work.”  

While many of the aspects listed above have reached tentative agreements with the district, many vital aspects have not. The district proposed a 2.5 percent wage increase which was then changed to 4 percent, but due to inflation teachers have already experienced an 8 percent pay cut, so with the proposal from the school district, teachers’ pay will still be cut short. Other aspects that have not been met are class size caps and building safety. 

If the PAT members all vote for a teacher strike to occur, that would mean school being put on pause. This may cause detriments to AP tests, college recommendation letters, and childcare. When asked about the impacts of the strike Mr. Schweizer said,  “A school strike does affect the community, it has a big impact so it’s not taken lightly. But ultimately, that crisis hopefully makes education better for students and families.” He added, “ The detriments to students a hopefully short strike would have are not to add confusion to the PAT’s purpose,” Schweizer explains,  “our working conditions are your learning conditions.” 

The only other time the PAT has thought about going on strike was in 2014, but they were able to come to an agreement with the district before the strike could occur. Teacher, Ms. Pasion explained her perspective as someone who was a RHS student during 2014, “As a student here, I saw the conditions of what my teachers were going through and I rallied my peers to stand in solidarity with our teachers. That was 2014, that was almost ten years ago. Not much has changed since then, now I am a teacher here and we are facing the same obstacles, and so it’s just as important to me now that we really make some moves to transform public education. This contract is one of those moves, I also hope that this inspires some students to take some actions.” Some actions RHS students can take to further educate themselves on this issue is to ask teachers questions, discuss with peers, and look at the union bulletin board in the main office. Also, read articles online, and look at the PATs social media linked below for more information. This story is still developing, and there are more updates to come.

 

UPDATE: 

As of Thursday October 19th, the PAT has voted and emails were sent out to families from PPS informing students and families that the PAT has voted to authorize a strike beginning November 1st. This means teachers will be striking and at the picket line, and school will be canceled. According to PPS during the strike there will be meals provided at select schools,  and the Roosevelt student health center will be open. Fall varsity sports will continue as scheduled, but other sports, theater, band, and clubs will shut down. If the strike continues through the week, Roosevelts theater productions of DOA and Night of the Living Dead could be canceled.  More updates to come. 

 

PAT instagram: https://instagram.com/pdxteachers?igshid=MzRlODBiNWFlZA==

Leave a Comment
Donate to Voices of Roosevelt
$0
$500
Contributed
Our Goal

Your donation will support the student journalists of Roosevelt High School. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
About the Contributor
Orianna, Layout Team/Staff
Orianna Reid is a 16 year old junior who transferred to Roosevelt at the beginning of the school year. She grew up in St Johns and has lived in the same neighborhood their entire life.
Donate to Voices of Roosevelt
$0
$500
Contributed
Our Goal

Comments (0)

All Voices of Roosevelt Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *