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Teacher March and Rally 1/27

Today's rally at the Portland district headquarters was attended by nearly 2,000 teachers, union supporters, and community members.
For your beleaguered teachers, today's rally was inspirational. While the public enters the final hours of deliberation before Measure 28, we teachers have continued to work without a contract. Since the bells first rang out the start of the new school year this past September, the educational climate has been hampered by the gloom of a monstrous budget shortfall.

Amidst the daily lesson plans, grading, developing positive classroom dynamics, and more grading, the value of schools as a public institution has been eroded. While the economic downturn has wreaked havoc with the private and public sectors alike, the Portland School Board's proposed contract limits teacher autonomy and goes against best practices for student achievement.

We're well aware of the PERS mess. Most teachers are more than willing to accept revision to its policies and tables. Further, we have seen our pay frozen or diminished several times over the last decade. Instead of demanding higher pay, we bargained for strong health benefits. Now those too are on the block. Even here, many teachers are willing to cap their plans to work on balancing a massive budget shortfall.

But the Board's decision to mandate transfers at a whim has galvanized Portland educators. This proposal has no fiscal benefits. At a time when it is important to settle the contract so we all can get back to what matters-the students-our school board has made impossible demands. Educators across the world know how long it takes to build a program and develop continuity and strength in a learning environment. I would challenge any member of the board to cite any pedagogical precedents that would indicate tearing teachers from their school would well serve anyone.

And so, today's rallying was heartening. Amidst the greater global strorm that looms on the horizon, there is no substitute for the strength of people in the streets. I have hope for my classroom. I believe the people of this city, of this state, will demand more for their children. I'll continue to give my students every ounce of energy and devotion to their education I can muster. It's what we do. But I will not sacrafice the bargained rights that our union has worked so hard to maintain. They're asking way too much.
Teachers take a stand!!! 27.Jan.2003 22:07

teacher 4 peace

I am totally with you fellow teacher. After attending sparcely attended school board meetings and rallies these past months, this evening's rally filled me with hope that Portland's teachers are finally going to stand up and be counted. Also in attendance were members from the United Auto Workers and Jobs with Justice, as well as educators from surrounding school districts. All were there to support our union, the Portland Association of Teachers, and our efforts to attain a fair contract. From what I understand, the district has conceded the items concerning transfers. The issue that binds the negotiations is the health insurance cap. We cannot give in on this. We already have agreed to a 15 day unpaid 'furlough' as well as a salary freeze. We cannot allow them to break our union. It is a trend that is happening in major cities across the country. I believe it is part of the movement towards the privatization of schools - running schools for profit. What will become of democracy then?

Transfer Policy Still On Table... 27.Jan.2003 22:37

pdx

The transfer policy has been deemed "non-negotiable" by the district. This doesn't mean that they have conceded it. Quite the contrary, they are saying that it will be implemented outside of any bargaining. Pure union busting...they're forcing us to strike.

28 Down? 28.Jan.2003 20:35

ranger

Things do not look good for M28 so far. Looks like the public has again been duped, the balance are just being cheap or selfish. The slide downhill is almost confirmed, if this measure fails. Yet another vote against those most in need. Screw public education, damn the mentally unstable, the elderly, who cares about more layoffs. - PATHETIC

I hope the early results prove me wrong.

Steal their tactics 28.Jan.2003 23:00

Adam Leckie ohmsford@email.ro

I realize that many of you may see this as backward thinking, but a previous comment here prodded to speak up. In much the same way that the school board is forcing teachers to strike by making conditions so unbearable for them, the failure of measure 28 may actually be a step in the right direction. This measure is intended to only minimize the 'blood loss' rather than treat the 'wound.' If we continue to rely on measures like this one to save our schools we'll only end up dragging out a process which is rather inevitable. By voting no however, we can accelerate the erosion of public education, creating a greater and more immediate outcry and thus make it impossible for the Oregon Legislature and Federal government to not address the real issues at hand here. If conditions become unbearable the people will howl with rage, and when that day comes the government better tread lightly or fix a big problem.
~ADAM LECKIE
Grant HS Student