As we head into a much-deserved winter break, I hope everyone will be able to take full advantage of the last few weeks of the year to reflect and recharge. I know the past few months have been difficult for so many PAT members, whether it’s the escalating safety problems rippling across so many of our buildings, or fact that we’re heading into our third year of negotiations with the District. But I continue to be inspired by the work you do every day, despite these challenges. And this week demonstrated, once again, just how powerful we are when we stand together—educators, parents, students, and community members. Continue reading
Not all of last night’s election results in our State and National races are the results that many of us wanted for the students we serve. Unfortunately, we lost on both our Measure 97 campaign and in the Presidential election. On the positive side Governor Kate Brown, who won her election, has said she expects proponents and opponents come to the table to “tackle the revenue challenges facing Oregon.” Our union has always been strong because of our collective action, and our solidarity has only been strengthened by our work on the measure 97 campaign. We took our message to the doors all across the city, and Portland Voters did support Measure 97 and public education. Despite the election results, we know that educators are trusted voices and we have the respect of our community. We are committed to Fighting for the Schools our Students Deserve, and it’s clear that fight will continue. We will fight in Salem this 2017 session to ward off cuts. We will advocate through our contract the best allocation of PPS dollars to meet our students' needs. We will work with the National Education Association to fight for strong public schools for all our students. I can’t thank you enough for your service. In my first president’s message in August, I quoted Nelson Mandela: “Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world.” Thank you for being involved in that change. I think it’s important to remember is that the result for our campaign wasn’t a referendum on public education or Oregon’s educators. The opposition painted Measure 97 as a hidden sales tax, or a blank check to Salem, precisely because they didn’t want to talk about the state of our public schools or the fact that Oregon is dead last in corporate taxes. Thank you to everyone who joined us in this fight against corporate interests and greed. We did an amazing job! Because of our work on Measure 97, Oregon’s broken corporate tax system is now politically unavoidable. Last night, we didn’t win the battle. But we are stronger together and we are stronger than ever. We live to fight another day.