President's Message: Now's Our Chance to Fully Fund Oregon Schools

In 2019, let’s give our students the gift of fully-funded schools.

The November election brought us a pro-public education legislature, and a governor who is calling for tax increases to fund public education. There can be no doubt about it: this is OUR time.

No one in Salem has spelled out where the revenue will come from, but it’s clear to us.

It should come from large corporations, who not only can afford it but haven’t been paying their fair share for years.

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Get Your PAT RED FOR ED T-Shirt

In time for the 2019 Legislative Session, we are getting new t-shirts. They are red, in keeping with the nation-wide movement to demand adequate funding for public education. Ours will say "Fund our Future; Fund our Schools" on the back, with our PAT logo on the front.

We have shirts available for a suggested donation of $10, to defray the cost and allow us to order as many shirts as we need. We will have shirts in sizes small through 3XL, in both a unisex style and a women’s cut.

To get your T-shirt, you can order one through your Building Rep, or come by PAT to pick one up.

It's time the Oregon Legislature fully funds the Quality Education Model! Plan our wearing Red for Ed every Tuesday until Oregon meets its commitment to our students.

Bargaining Update

In January, the District and PAT will start formally negotiating a possible one-year contract extension. If the District offers an inadequate COLA (like 2%), we will not extend. In the event we cannot agree on an extension, we will exchange a full set of proposals 75 days later. If we do extend our current contract, our plan is to begin negotiating the successor contract in the fall of 2019.

Either way, we need to get ready and we need your help! Starting in January, PAT will be recruiting bargaining team members and bargaining organizers. You can also support your bargaining team and show your support for additional statewide school funding, by wearing red on Tuesdays, and coming to Salem on Presidents’ Day.

A Win on Master's Degree Credit

After almost a year of deadlock and disagreement, PAT has prevailed. The District has agreed to honor our new contract language, and ensure members get paid for Masters degrees earned prior to receiving a teaching license, according to the following terms:

  1. The District is granting column salary credit for PAT members with fully completed graduate degrees.  This credit will no longer be based on whether the degree was obtained in connection with the employee’s license. In addition, the District will not limit credit to a single graduate degree.
  2. The District will grant salary column advancement for graduate credits earned after licensure and outside of a degree program. They can now be treated as “Master’s Plus” credits.
  3. The adjustments will be retroactive to the July 1, 2017.

Members should know that making these adjustments will be labor intensive and time-consuming process. However, the District has already pulled some of the necessary data together from employee files in conjunction with related salary grievances.

Promising Practices Grant

Do you have a plan that could enhance your classroom skills or boost student achievement? An idea for a site-based professional development activity that could build partnerships? OEA’s Center for Great Public Schools awards Promising Practice Grants to individual PAT members.

There are two $500 grants available to PAT members. To apply, please complete the short application form available online. The completed grant application form must be sent to martin.pavlik@oregoned.org by February 4th.

Resolution for Black Lives Matter Week of Action

Come with us to ask the PPS School Board to support a Black Live Matter Week of Action in Portland Public Schools!

As a project of our Racial Equity Task Force, PAT members are planning a Black Live Matter Week of Action, February 4-9, 2019. This is part of a National Movement, which the members voted to support at both the OEA Rep Assembly and the NEA Rep Assembly.

We are seeking the support of the PPS School Board, so that this Week of Action can positively impacts students in every school across our district, and educators in every school can know they have the support of the district in participating in activities and lessons designed to uplift and educate.  Toward this goal, we are preparing a Resolution to bring to the school board, date to be determined.

Special Education Social: December 6th

Back by popular demand, the PAT Social Justice and Community Outreach Committee will be hosting another Special Education Social, dedicated to members on the special education team! This event is open to any educator who works as a special education educator, whether in a self-contained learning center, as an SLP, or as a school psychologist. Come network with other special educators, find ways to support each other, and build community. Let’s get organized! The social will be December 6th from 4:30-6:30 PM at the PAT office. RSVP so we can order enough dinner.

The Color of Law Curriculum Workshop for Teachers: December 13th

Portland area teachers, Oregon Writing Project coaches, and members of the Rethinking Schools and Zinn Education project team have been hard at work on a curriculum based on Richard Rothstein’s 2017 book, The Color of Law. You are invited to help us workshop this new curriculum and learn more about the history of housing discrimination. You’ll leave with new ideas and resources to bring back to your classroom.

When:     December 13th, 4:30-6:30

Where:    Portland Association of Teachers, 345 NE 8th, Portland, Oregon 97232

Who:      Chris Buehler, Angela DiPasquale, Alex Stegner, and Ursula Wolfe-Rocca will lead the workshop.

Please RSVP here.

Join Us in Salem on President's Day!

Monday, February 18th, is our first opportunity to bring a sea of red to Salem, to show the Legislature that Oregon educators expect and demand that they fix our funding problems now.

Please save the date, and spread the word to families and community supporters.

President's Message: Update on MAP Testing

Happy Thanksgiving! I hope the holiday provides everyone with some well-deserved rest.

In the meantime, I wanted to give PAT members an update on MAP testing in PPS. On Monday, November 5th, we had a productive meeting with Deputy Superintendent Yvonne Curtis about some of the concerns you’ve expressed regarding MAP testing. We left with an ask: PPS should go back to the original plan of MAP Testing only in Math for 3rd-8th/Algebra grades, and students should only take the test once, in one language.

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PERS Bubble and Retirement Incentives: Don't Miss Key Deadlines!

In the last bargain, PAT stopped the District from taking away a valuable benefit. We protected what is called the “PERS Bubble” (officially called “Re-employment of Retirees”) and the Early Retirement Incentive. Both of those provisions are explained in detail in Article 15 of the PAT/PPS contract.

The PERS Bubble refers to the ability of a PAT member to officially retire under the PERS system during the middle of the school year, but work through the end of the year. This saves PPS money, as they no longer have to make PERS contributions for the educator who retires, because they are essentially “substituting” for themselves for the rest of the year. The educator’s earnings remain intact, PPS saves money, and the students have continuity of instruction. It’s a true win-win.

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Speech Language Pathologists National Board Certification Reimbursements

After weeks of discussions, we’ve been able to resolve how Speech Language Pathologists will be paid for their National Board Certifications.  The District will handle the stipends as follows:

1) If you were previously eligible for a stipend under Article 12.1.6, but did not receive it, that will be corrected for the remainder of the grandfathering period, and the correction will be retroactive.

2) Any SLP whose certification lapsed, and who subsequently was denied the stipend, will have that stipend restored pending proof of recertification. That correction will be retroactive if you were denied the stipend because your certification expired. The correction will not be retroactive if you did not request the stipend because you hadn’t renewed your certification. SLPs who renew their certification now and become eligible for the stipend will have that stipend processed as they currently do under Article 12.2.1.3.

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When Do I Cover for an Absent Colleague?

The PAT Office has received numerous questions about whether or not members must cover class for an absent colleague. 

The answer is in Article 8, Section 7 which states:

Every effort will be made to employ substitute teachers to cover classes of absent teachers. Except in true emergency situations and except as otherwise provided in 8.7.2, professional educators shall not be required to substitute for other professional educators.

What constitutes a “true emergency”?  In discussions with the District we’ve agree that an emergency is understood to be an unforeseeable circumstance, such as a colleague having a medical emergency while at work, that creates an uncovered class. 

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Educators of Color Social - November 28th

The Racial Equity Task Force is hosting a social for PPS educators of color. This is a meet-and-greet where dinner will be served.

Come network with others, in a safe space, and help build a supportive community. RSVP here.

Black Friday Protest: Fund Education and Make Nike Pay Their Fair Share

For years, Nike has received outsized tax breaks and paid far too little in state taxes. Join Portland Jobs with Justice and Oregon Public Employees United for a Black Friday demonstration in front of Niketown Portland. Make Nike pay its fair share so we can fully fund education!

When:    Friday, November 23rd, 4:00 PM to 5:00 PM
Where:   Niketown Portland, 638 SW 5th Ave

Find out more information here.

Special Education Social - December 6th

Back by popular demand, the PAT Social Justice and Community Outreach Committee will be hosting another Special Education Social, dedicated to members on the special education team! This event is open to any educator who works as a special education educator, whether in a self-contained learning center, as an SLP, or as a school psychologist. Come network with other special educators, find ways to support each other, and build community. Let’s get organized! The social will be December 6th from 4:30-6:30 PM at the PAT office. RSVP so we can order enough dinner.

The Color of Law Curriculum Workshop - December 13th

Portland area teachers, Oregon Writing Project coaches, and members of the Rethinking Schools and Zinn Education project team have been hard at work on a curriculum based on Richard Rothstein’s 2017 book, The Color of Law. You are invited to help us workshop this new curriculum and learn more about the history of housing discrimination. You’ll leave with new ideas and resources to bring back to your classroom.

When:     December 13th, 4:30-6:30

Where:    Portland Association of Teachers, 345 NE 8th, Portland, Oregon 97232

Who:      Chris Buehler, Angela DiPasquale, Alex Stegner, and Ursula Wolfe-Rocca will lead the workshop.

RSVP here

Don't Be Tricked on November 6th

Today is Halloween, but Election day is the real trick or treat experience.

This vote will have a lasting impact on our students and our profession, and some choices are really frightening!

Ballots are due on November 6th, and it’s clear we need Kate Brown to be our governor.

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Make Sure Teachers Have a Voice in Politics

The Portland Association of Teachers Political Action Committee (PAT PAC) is proud to announce its candidate endorsements for the November 2018 general election. The board considers candidates’ positions on public education, their commitment to union values, their alignment to PAT strategic goals including racial equity, and their electability. PAT PAC funds come from the voluntary contributions of PAT PAC contributors, not dues dollars. To contribute to the PAT PAC, return this form to the PAT office.

Oregon Governor: Kate Brown

Portland City Commissioner Position 3: Jo Ann Hardesty

Metro Council Position 2: Christine Lewis

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Get Out the Vote! Canvass for Jo Ann Hardesty, PAT Candidates, and Ballot Measures

The November election is incredibly important in Oregon, with a historic city council race, and control of the Governor’s seat in question. We also have numerous ballot initiatives which could either move our state forward with new funding for affordable housing, jobs, and clean energy, or send us backward with more tax loopholes for the rich, racial profiling, and limits to women’s reproductive rights.

We are partnering with the Jo Ann Hardesty campaign to run a Get Out the Vote Canvass on Saturday, November 3, from 10 am to 1 pm, at the PAT office. Come help reach out to Portlanders who have not yet voted.  This is an opportunity to make a real impact on voter turnout, the weekend before ballots are due. RSVP here, and bring along a friend!

Elementary First Quarter Grade Reports

PAT and PPS have extended the MOU on Elementary Report Cards, which means Elementary teachers should use the PPS Parent Teacher Conference Form, and not the grade report card, for the first quarter.

The MOU says, “All Pk-5 and self-contained 6th grade PAT bargaining unit members shall be required to prepare the PPS Parent-Teacher Conference Form instead of grade reports and shall not submit grade reports at the end of the first quarter grading period. These forms will be discussed and presented to parents/guardians at the parent/teacher conference scheduled in November (or in August for Rosa Parks Elementary School).”