We Need Time!
As professionals, we need time to do our jobs well. Unfortunately, the District’s bargaining proposals shortchange teaching and learning and will only add to our overstretched workload.
We feel the squeeze on many levels.
For example, despite the fact that we have an equivalent number of instructional days as many other districts in the region we have far fewer professional development and grading days.
We are also the only district in the region with a two-hour mandatory staff meeting beyond the regular work day.
As everyone can attest, these staff meetings are overloaded with paperwork, new initiatives, and cookie-cutter professional development.
They don’t offer the time we need to collaborate with colleagues, or learn from our peers.
Elementary School Crunch
The time crunch is particularly acute at the elementary school level. In some schools there are not enough minutes in the day to complete all the mandates.
Portland also has significantly less Elementary planning time than other districts in the metro area.
|District||Elementary Planning Time|
|Beaverton||675 minutes per week|
|Tigard-Tualatin||300 minutes per week, non-student time,
additional 150 minutes per week within student day
|Portland||260 minutes per week|
PPS Takes Aim at Workload Protections
One of the biggest sticking points in negotiations is the PPS proposal to eliminate our contractual workload protections in Article 5, Section D.
1. Except as modified by the workday provisions of this Agreement, the workload of professional educators shall be generally comparable to that which existed in the 2010-2011 school year.
This is a critical section of our contract, and we will not give it up.
Our Bargaining Chair Steve Lancaster summed it up as follows:
What seems to be most important to the District? They want to do more with less. They have a long list of programs, initiatives, and policies that cost money. They also fear that future budgets will be tight.
Rather than rethink their wish lists & policies, they want educators to just keep doing more and more and more, while simultaneously keeping compensation as low as possible.
Our workload language prevents this, requiring PPS to balance all the dimensions of an educator’s job.
Balancing Our Workload
Under our contract, if new workload is added, it should be offset in another area, such as cutting instructional minutes, increasing planning time, or decreasing the number of preps.
Without these protections, PPS would be able to unilaterally introduce a whole host of new responsibilities.
“Between the two schools where I teach art, I reach 1018 students.... I am somehow expected to know each student, their struggles and talents, their IEP and 504 accommodations, their language proficiencies and learning styles.”
- Sarah Brown, Art Teacher, Ainsworth and Maplewood Elementary
The power of our workload language has been proven in court. In three separate cases arbitrators have ruled that the 6 of 8 high school schedule was an increase in our workload.
The arbitrator’s remedy in each case was for PPS to limit high school loads to 180 students or provide compensation for any overload.
However, its important to remember that workload is much bigger than the high school schedule.
“All the teacher guides and math supplements are provided to me in English. This means that I have to translate every lesson into Spanish before I can teach it to my students.”
- Francisca Alvarez, 2nd grade Dual Language - Spanish, Scott K-8.
That’s why we’ve introduced several proposals designed to strengthen our workload protections.
Additional PAT Workload Proposals
- Overload pay at every level for educators with student loads exceeding contractually specified targets.
- Overload relief for exceeding three preps at high school and middle school. Additional provisions for AP and IB educators.
- Four additional professional development days in the school year.
- An additional planning period for secondary special educators for case management.
- A dedicated case management day for elementary special educators once a month.
- Translation services for dual language instruction materials.
- Additional elementary planning time.
** The 2010-11 school year is the workload benchmark in our contract because it was right before the move to a 6 of 8 high school schedule, and before SPED moved to full inclusion (without adequate supports).