Dear PAT Colleagues,
Today, your PAT Bargaining team met with the District again to negotiate an agreement on a safe and equitable return to school. If you missed it live, the full session (Part 1 and Part 2) is viewable online.
We started by discussing the district’s concepts for the educator work day and the student day. The district presented schedules for Elementary, Middle, and High School to discuss. The PAT team is holding tight to our requirement that at least half the educator work day be dedicated to teacher-directed time for planning, contacting families, and supporting students. While the district’s concept for the elementary schedule came much closer to what PAT is asking for, it was not clear that the high school or middle school schedules would provide enough teacher-directed planning and communication time to allow educators to meet the demands of on-line learning.
We recognize that the district is obliged to follow ODE Guidelines on instruction time for students under distance learning (see ODE Guidelines and sample schedules for grades K-5 and 6-12). We believe that it is possible to do so while preserving educator planning time, and without asking children to be in front of a screen for most of the day.
The district shared the PPS counterproposal to the PAT proposal from last week. The PPS counterproposal stripped all the language that PAT proposed on equity and support to students and families. In spite of the difficulties Portland families face during the epidemic, PPS does
not want to enter into agreements that address those difficulties. PPS stated that it is their belief that the Memorandum of Agreement is not an appropriate place for language that supports students and families, including things like providing district communications and tech support to families in their home language, or making sure that every student has access to wifi and a usable device.
The PPS counter proposal also failed to list any specifics around educator and student safety, stating only that they would follow the Governor’s guidelines. Amazingly, the district even rejected the idea that they should agree to properly cleaning classrooms, or to providing hand sanitizer.
The PPS counter proposal rejected PAT’s ideas regarding workload for professional educators in Special Education. PPS rejected multiple proposals crafted by Special Education professional educators designed to address Special Education workload. Finally, the PPS counter proposal rejected most of the PAT proposals related to workload in the Dual Language Instruction program.
Please be on the lookout for other emails this week regarding negotiations. As always, we count on your support and your positive efforts to help the district understand how misguided their initial counter proposal is.
Our next bargaining session will be Monday, August 17 from 1 to 5. We will live-stream the session again-- please tune in!
Steve Lancaster, Chair
Portland Association of Teachers