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  • PAT on the Murder of George Floyd

  • The Coronavirus Relief Fund for PPS Families is Live!

  • Be Sure To Vote By Mail By May 19th

  • Everyone Counts in the Census

  • Your Voice, Your Vote

  • Featured post

    Upcoming Virtual Student Loan Workshops

    Do You Have Student Loan Debt?

     

    Student loan debt is one of the most serious financial challenges facing educators today.  NEA Member Benefits wants to help!  In this webinar, you will learn how to take advantage of the Federal Loan Forgiveness Programs and the new NEA Student Loan Forgiveness Navigator.  In addition, we will cover the latest developments on student loans coming out of the CARES Act and the COVID-19 crisis. 

    The now FREE NEA Student Debt Navigator helps members determine whether you are eligible for federal student loan forgiveness programs, how much you could potentially reduce your loan debt and keeps you updated on new program features and developments.  

     

    The OEA and NEA Member Benefits is hosting two workshops:

    Wednesday July 15th  and Tuesday July 21st from 9:00-10:00am.

     

    If you would like to join one of these ZOOM meetings, please RSVP here.  Once we receive your RSVP, we will send you the zoom meeting sign-in information.  Make the most of your union membership by joining this educational workshop and taking advantage of the free resources available to members only. 

     

     

  • Latest from the blog

    President's Message: Finishing the Year Together

    Dear Educators,

    Congratulations on the completion of the 2019-2020 school year. Though it’s not the year we hoped to have, there is so much to be proud of and celebrate, while acknowledging the long road ahead.

    We end the year in the midst of worldwide protests over the murder of George Floyd, and the institutional racism and white supremacy that enables police throughout the country to continue killing people of color. 

    This uprising has sparked long overdue changes, and a much needed conversation over what makes our communities safe and how our public budgets should reflect our values and meet community needs. 

    Night after night, tens of thousands of Portlanders have taken to the streets to protest police violence, demonstrating the power of collection action and why we must continue to organize for the world we want, for ourselves and our students. 

    We know the change we want does not come easily, but we must continue to stand up and speak out. 

    I’m proud of the work our Racial Equity and Social Justice committees have done to bring together educators of color and allies. As a union, PAT will continue to raise the bar, challenging us all to do better for our students and our colleagues. Our committees will continue to lead on this difficult work, and support us all in this journey. For now, we can celebrate the removal of police as a regular presence in our schools.

    We should also be proud of the work we’ve done to secure more funding for schools--and our advocacy with PPS on directing how those dollars are spent. The District’s financial situation next year was a great unknown after the pandemic hit. We feared the worst, but once again, our collective action paid off. 

    We took the risk of agreeing to participate in the Work Share program, and delaying our full compensation, to save an estimated $10 million for the District. We fought the businesses who wanted to use the pandemic as an excuse not to pay their taxes. We lobbied Congress for added school funding. 

    And while Oregon hasn't achieved fully-funded schools yet, next year will still see an increase in our overall budget. We will have a total of 50 additional PAT members starting in the fall, and PPS is investing in the areas where we’ve highlighted our acute needs, like counselors, social workers, and special education supports.  

    If the pandemic had not happened, we would be seeing lower class sizes next year, along with many other supports. Even without realizing these gains yet, our work with students and families has paved the way for where to invest new resources as we emerge from this recession.

    We know summer means very different things for educators, and this summer is totally different than anything we’ve ever experienced. 

    Many of us work second jobs, which may or may not exist because of COVID-19. And for those of us counting on that extra income, we’re figuring out what to do. Many of us use summer to pursue education credits or develop lesson plans. Now we must do this in the context of social distancing. Some of us are figuring out how to mark your children’s educational milestones without familiar traditions and ceremonies. While others of us are preparing our children for the next step in their education, whether it’s the first day of kindergarten or moving them into their college dorm room, there will be the added challenge of figuring out what will be open and when.

    As you wrap up your year, please take a moment to acknowledge your colleagues who are retiring, switching schools, or leaving PPS. It isn’t easy to say goodbye virtually.

    And as my term as PAT President ends, I’m not saying goodbye, just see you later. I look forward to continuing to serve my students and my union as a classroom educator. I’m excited for what our incoming President, Elizabeth Thiel, has planned for us moving forward, and am grateful for her leadership.

    Whatever challenges and joys this summer brings you, take some time to celebrate the work we’ve done together.

    In Solidarity,

    Suzanne Cohen

    PAT President

    Continue reading
  • Featured post

    PAT Statement Concerning the Murder of George Floyd

    June 1, 2020

    As the Portland Association of Teachers, we believe Black Lives Matter. We stand with all Black educators, all Black families, all Black students, and all Black communities against injustice.

    Our hearts are broken. George Floyd, an unarmed Black man, was murdered by police officers in Minneapolis, Minnesota on May 25, 2020. The needless and brutal killing of Black people in this country is a crime against humanity. This type of brutality has existed since the founding of this country, and it is abhorrent and unacceptable. 

    We must do everything in our power as educators to address the insidiousness of racism and white supremacy. As the President of the National Education Association, Lily Eskelsen García said in a statement released on May 27th, 2020, “This is no time for us to look away. Police violence against Black people happens too often. The threat and real violence toward Black people daring to exist in public spaces and even in their own homes is the direct result of how white supremacy culture is the air we breathe in America.”

    It is our duty, our responsibility, to honor and uplift the lives of Black people, to nurture the young people we are entrusted with educating, to teach the truth about the injustices that run like a river through our country's history. As a predominantly white group of educators, we must do better. We must be braver. We must be committed to being actively anti-racist and we must hold each other accountable to that never-ending, ongoing work.

    PAT stands in solidarity with all those in Minneapolis and across America’s cities who demand justice for George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, and all of the other Black lives that have been taken due to racist violence. 

    As educators, we have the opportunity and the responsibility to take action with our own practice. Here are recommendations from NEA: 5 ways to address bias in your school.

    With our students, we must teach the truth about the injustices in our society. Here are some anti-racism resources for teachers:

    Teaching for Black Lives

    NEA: Black Live Matter at School Resources 

    AFT: Teaching about Race and Racism

    If you are able to give financially, here are some opportunities to lend support:

    George Floyd Family's GoFundMe 

    PDX Bail Fund

    NAACP PDX 

    ACLU Oregon 

     

  • Featured post

    May 21st, PAT’s Matching Donation Fund Campaign

    The communication sent to PAT membership on May 21st, 2020:

     

    Dear Educator,

    Many of you have been asking about charitable giving during these difficult times. We are excited to announce a partnership with The Fund for PPS where 100% of money raised will go directly to our PPS families and students in need.

    Starting today, educators and members of the general public can make donations to The Fund for PPS and every dollar will be matched by the Portland Association of Teachers (PAT), up to a maximum of $20,000. The matching fund campaign will continue through June 1, 2020. 

    Your elected PAT Executive Board of Directors take managing your dues dollars very seriously. Because of COVID-19, items in our budget related to travel or larger gatherings this spring have been cancelled. We’ve decided to use a portion of these unused funds, up to $20,000, to support our PPS families.

    All of our educators are going above and beyond right now to support our students. We know that some of you are experiencing financial hardships of your own, or that many of you have already done some charitable giving. We also know many of you are eager to work collectively to support our students and their families, and we are excited about the opportunity to double our impact.

    You can help by contributing here and promoting this matching campaign with your friends and families.

    You can read our press release here.  

    Thank you so much for all you’ve done for our students, families, and communities already.

    In Solidarity,

    Portland Association of Teachers
    http://www.pdxteachers.org/

  • Featured post

    Contract Exceptions

    Every year, the PAT Advocacy Committee receives requests from building reps about how to seek an exception to a contractual provision.  This type of exception is usually an exception that is limited to that building and limited to those teachers in the building – it is not an exception that is applied PPS-wide. We call this limited modification to a provision of the contract, a Contract Exception.

    Most contract exceptions involve requests to make changes in the teacher work year (article 6), in the workday (article 7), or in workload (article 8).  Simply, a contract exception must be initiated by an educator at a building, and not by a building administrator. The PAT Advocacy Committee creates the exceptions application process – not PPS. 

    All exceptions expire at the end of the school year in which they were granted. Meaning, if your building was granted a contract exception in this academic year, it will terminate at the end of this school year in June.   

    If a building wants to initiate a building exception, we have the exception application on the PAT website, along with a checklist to help you gather all the documents you’ll need in addition to submitting a completed form to the PAT Advocacy Committee. 

    What is a contract exception? 

    It’s a limited modification of a provision in your union contract.  

    Who can initiate a contract exception? 

    Only members of the union at your building. A building administrator cannot initiate this process. 

    What is the procedure? 

    The PAT Building Head Rep (1) educates their colleagues on the potential impact of this exception; (2) prepares a secret ballot and (3) conducts the election. Finally, the Head Rep will complete the PAT contract exception form found on the PAT website and submit to the PAT Advocacy Committee and await approval/denial. 

    What are the deadlines? 

    While the original deadline for 2020-21 contract exceptions was May 1, 2020, given our changed context we will be accepting contract exceptions on a rolling basis prior to the start of school next year. Exceptions are only valid for the school year for which it was approved. Click here for the Contract Exception application.

  • Featured post

    Q&A for Substitutes During COVID-19 & OEA Relief Fund for Subs

    FAQ's for Substitutes (as of 4-7-20)

    While the coronavirus pandemic has us asking more questions than there are answers, please CLICK HERE to get clarity on some of the most pressing questions we've received from our substitute members.

    OEA Relief Fund for Subs

    In recognition that substitute educators have been disproportionately affected by a loss of income due to the COVID-19 school closure, OEA has opened up its Relief Fund to all OEA Union members employed as substitutes who have experienced a loss in salary during this time.

    You can find more information about the OEA Relief Fund and complete an application by clicking here.

    Each individual applicant will be awarded up to a maximum of $1,000 after the application is processed. To be eligible to receive funds, you must have become an OEA member by March 2nd, 2020.

    We appreciate all your work and hope you continue to be well.

  • May 2020 Primary Endorsements

    Portland Association of Teachers PAC Endorsements for the May Primary 

    Endorsements for Local Races

    Even in the best of times, local politics have a deep impact on the success of our schools, the well-being of our students, and the strength and fairness of our economy. Considering the public-health crisis that we are facing in our community and around the world, it is more important than ever that we have elected leaders who are committed to working with impacted communities to solve problems, rethink systems that perpetuate inequity, and take action to support our public schools, workers, and the public services that so many of our students depend on. 

    Endorsement for Oregon Legislature

    This year, the issues of keeping promises and respecting workers have been of central importance to the PAT PAC Board, and to all our PAT PAC members. The passage of SB1049 last summer-- which reallocates a portion of public employees’ compensation away from workers’ retirement savings, to use it to pay down the state’s debt-- was deeply troubling to teachers and all public employees. A vote for this bill represents a lawmakers’ willingness to forgo agreements made in trust, and force public workers to pay for the state's programs.

    Nonetheless, we gave every candidate an opportunity to discuss their vote with us. Some answers horrified us- not only do some of our elected officials show no remorse for their vote, some said they'd do further cuts if needed.

    This primary season, the PAT PAC is not endorsing, or giving money to, any candidate who voted for SB1049. We are hopeful that moving forward, our Oregon Legislators will be bold champions for workers, public education, and the revenue reform to allow our state to meet the needs of all our state’s children, families, and community members. 

    Read More about the Candidates


     

    Portland City Commissioner Position 1: Carmen Rubio

    Carmen Rubio is a champion in the non-profit community and is running to ensure that the leaders making hard decisions are truly representative of everyone in our city. She has been the Executive Director of the Latino Network since 2009, and her priorities are addressing homelessness and housing affordability, climate action, and responsive government. She will be a valuable voice on the city council. Sign up to volunteer for Carmen's campaign!


     

    Portland City Commissioner Position 2: Julia DeGraw 

    Julia Degraw has spent her career bringing diverse groups together to fight for the common good. Worker’s rights, environmental justice, and housing have always been central to her work.

    She led the fight to prevent Nestlé from bottling our public water in the Columbia River Gorge – and won; and she has brought to the forefront the conversation about reforming the Portland City Council’s at-large election and commission systems. Sign up to help get Julia's elected!

     

     

    Portland City Commissioner Position 4: Chloe Eudaly

    Chloe Eudaly ran for the CIty Council 4 years ago to get a renter’s perspective on the City Council. Since then, she has passed historic tenant protection policies, and advanced initiatives addressing climate change, air pollution, immigration removal defense, transportation justice, and racial equity. We look forward to continuing to work with her to make sure our city works for all our community members, especially those who have been under-served. Sign up to volunteer for Chloe's campaign!

     

     

    District Attorney: Mike Schmidt 

    We are lucky to have two highly qualified candidates in this race. Mike Schmidt’s focus on criminal justice reform, and his vision for re-thinking the systems that replicate inequity make him the ideal candidate in this race. His role as executive director of the Oregon Criminal Justice Commission, as well as leadership in national justice organizations, position him to spearhead 21st century justice reform in our state. Sign up here to help make Mike Schmidt our next DA!

     

     

    Metro Council District 5: Mary Nolan

    Mary Nolan has proved herself to be a powerful ally to workers and schools, in numerous roles in the past. During her twelve years in the Oregon Legislature, including as the majority leader in the House, she was a steadfast advocate for keeping the state’s promises to workers. She has a long history of advocating for women, public transportation, and environmental protections. In her role at Metro, she is committed to collaborating with unions to make sure that public sector projects embody a commitment to increasing stable, living-wage jobs in our community. Read more about Mary here.

     

     

    Metro Council District 6: Bob Stacey

    Bob Stacey has served on the Metro Council since 2013. He is committed to advancing affordable housing throughout the metro region, and expanding transportation options throughout the region. He continues to work to make sure families in all parts of the region have access to natural spaces, clean air, and efficient transportation options. Learn more about Bob Stacey here.

     

     

    Multnomah County Commissioner District 1: Sharon Meieran

    As an emergency room doctor, community health advocate, and mother of two children in Portland Public Schools, Sharon is committed to  addressing homelessness, addictions, and mental illness, and improving access to meaningful healthcare. Although being a County Commissioner is a full-time job, she continues to work shifts in the emergency room because of her belief in centering front-line workers in decision-making. Learn more about Sharon Meieran's campaign here.

     

     

    Multnomah County Commissioner District 3: Jessica Vega Pederson

    At Multnomah County, Commissioner Vega Pederson has championed the County’s efforts to combat climate change, increase access to public transportation, and has focused on expanding access to early childhood education. Before being elected to the County Commission, she was the first Latina elected to the Oregon House of Representatives. Sign up here to get involved with Jessica's campaign!

     

     

    House District 33: Christina Stephenson

    As a civil rights attorney, Christina has centered her career around protecting workers. She is a fierce advocate for labor rights, housing affordability, school funding, and the revenue reform we need to make Oregon a place where all our community members can thrive. As the mom of a kindergartener in PPS, she sees first-hand how direly our schools need the resources to lower class sizes and offer all the supports that our students need. Help elect Christina here!

     

     

    House District 36: Laurie Wimmer

    We are fortunate to have a strong field of progressive candidates for the HD 36 seat, but Laurie Wimmer surpasses all with her in-depth knowledge of the issues and policies that are most important to educators and families. Her decades of experience as an OEA lobbyist, advocating in Salem for educators and students, give her the political know-how to get things done.Above all, Laurie’s passion for public education, economic justice, racial equity, and collective bargaining position her to be a champion for PAT members, students, and working families. Volunteer to help get Laurie elected here!

     

     

    House District 42: Paige Kreisman

    Paige Kreisman deeply believes in fully funding public schools, strengthening workers’ rights, and providing needed human services to all Oregonians. Her background as an organizer and advocate for the Portland Democratic Socialists of America demonstrated a willingness to take a stand and fight for crucial issues. Although she is not an educator, she gave a firm commitment to collaborate with educators and the PAT on education legislation. Sign up here to get involved with Paige's campaign!

     

     

    House District 46: Khanh Pham

    Khanh Pham brings an organizer’s spirit to the constituents of House District 46. She is a working mom, and long-time community organizer, policymaker, and advocate for the diverse communities of the district. A long-time organizer for environmental and economic justice, she will be a leader in Oregon's transition to a renewable economy. Join the force working to elect Khanh here!

     https://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/pdxteachers/pages/922/attachments/original/1586391766/Screen_Shot_Ben_Bowman.png?1586391766

     

    Senate District 18: Ben Bowman

    Ben Bowman has been advocating for public education since childhood, when he walked picket lines with his mother, a teacher and union leader. With a background in education policy, Ben has a deep understanding of the challenges that Oregon’s teachers and students are facing, as well as what’s needed to solve them. He is also deeply committed to issues of social justice and economic inequality. As a school board member, he has been an ally to our colleagues in the Tigard-Tualatin School District; in Salem, he will be an ally to educators across the state. Get involved with Ben's campaign here!

     

     

    Senate District 21: Kathleen Taylor

    Senator Taylor’s record on public education and labor rights speaks for itself. Not only was she a vocal advocate for the Student Success Act, she has consistently voiced the need for structural revenue reform in Oregon so that we can fully fund education, social services, healthcare, and all the things kids and families in Oregon need. She voted no on SB 1049, rejecting the notion that workers' retirement accounts be raided to pay down the state's debt, so our support for her is PERSonal. Sign up here to volunteer with Kathleen's campaign!

    OEA PAC Endorsements for Oregon Statewide Races

    Attorney General: Ellen Rosenblum 

    Secretary of State: Shemia Fagan

    Treasurer: Tobias Read

    OEA PAC Recommendations for Federal Races

    US Senate: Jeff Merkley

    Congressional District 1: Suzanne Bonamici 

    Congressional District 3: Earl Blumenauer 

    Congressional District 4: Peter DeFazio 

    Congressional District 5: Kurt Schrader 

     

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  • Latest from the blog

    May 29 Communication from PAT- re Update from PAT on PPS Work Share Rules

    Message sent to our membership on May 29th, 2020

     

    Dear PAT Colleagues:

     

    The PAT learned this week that Portland Public Schools is enforcing the Work Share requirement of a 20% reduction in work in a way that was never discussed or agreed to. While the District's expectation remains that educators should be working 5 hours a day or 20 hours a week, if in the course of your week you anticipate working beyond 32 hours, please notify your supervisor immediately. Your supervisor must then tell you what duties they will be taking off your plate for the week to ensure that you can complete your work within the 32 hours, or proportion thereof if you are employed at less than 1.0 FTE. If your supervisor fails to provide adequate adjustment to your workload for the week, you should not work beyond your 32 hours. Otherwise you risk being removed from the Work Share program for that week. 

     

    Because PAT members work about 40 hours per week (when the two-hour staff meeting is counted), the four-day furlough total number of hours worked must be no more than 32 hours (four days of eight hours a day). As such, PAT advises you to keep a careful record of your work activities. 

     

    What does tracking your hours mean? For each type of school that is a little different. Keep in mind that the current collective bargaining agreement requires that you follow a particular distribution of time each day. 

    Continue reading

    May 21st, PAT’s Matching Donation Fund Campaign

    The communication sent to PAT membership on May 21st, 2020:

     

    Dear Educator,

    Many of you have been asking about charitable giving during these difficult times. We are excited to announce a partnership with The Fund for PPS where 100% of money raised will go directly to our PPS families and students in need.

    Starting today, educators and members of the general public can make donations to The Fund for PPS and every dollar will be matched by the Portland Association of Teachers (PAT), up to a maximum of $20,000. The matching fund campaign will continue through June 1, 2020. 

    Your elected PAT Executive Board of Directors take managing your dues dollars very seriously. Because of COVID-19, items in our budget related to travel or larger gatherings this spring have been cancelled. We’ve decided to use a portion of these unused funds, up to $20,000, to support our PPS families.

    All of our educators are going above and beyond right now to support our students. We know that some of you are experiencing financial hardships of your own, or that many of you have already done some charitable giving. We also know many of you are eager to work collectively to support our students and their families, and we are excited about the opportunity to double our impact.

    You can help by contributing here and promoting this matching campaign with your friends and families.

    You can read our press release here.  

    Thank you so much for all you’ve done for our students, families, and communities already.

    In Solidarity,

    Portland Association of Teachers
    http://www.pdxteachers.org/

    Continue reading
  • Everyone Counts in the 2020 Census

    The Census affects $800 billion in public education funding, and we're asking PAT members to help make sure everyone is counted! 

    One place to start is by reassuring students and families that participation in the census is safe, important, and necessary. If we are successful, our community will receives its fair share of federal and state funding for schools and other critical services.

    We're also asking PAT members to join educators across the country who will be teaching students about the importance of the census during in Statistics in Schools Week, March 2-6, 2020.

    Even if can't participate in Statistics in Schools Week you should check out the extensive collection of lesson plans, maps, coloring pages, word finds, and more on the Census Bureau website. Resources are tailored to different grade levels including:

    Our national union, the National Education Association also has a Census toolkit with similar resources.

    You should also consider sending home a reminder about the census with your students. Flyers are available on the NEA website in English, Spanish, and Vietnamese.

    Continue reading