On Tuesday, December 13th, PPS and PAT held their last Article 9 Bargaining Session of the year. PAT heard the District’s responses and counter-proposals for Article 9. There are several concepts where we have agreement, especially around the need for trauma-informed and restorative practices. The District has also proposed that the Special Education article in our contract be moved into Article 8 instead of completely removed from the contract. Thank you all for your advocacy around Special Education!
Nevertheless, it was evident during our session that the District’s team does not understand the lived experience of educators and students in our buildings. For example:
The District is opposed to designated intervention spaces for students: PPS did not incorporate our language around the intervention spaces. Again, their concerns were that students will use this space inappropriately or be a place to “warehouse” students, particularly our students of color.
However, we know that students are already leaving classes and relying on behavior to communicate their need for support. Educators and other building staff are responding in the hallways, in the counselor’s office or the admin’s office, without any privacy or dignity for students. We need identified space, staff, and materials to support students if we want to utilize real restorative practices.
The District struggled to define the different levels or “tiers” of instruction and behavior supports: Our bargaining team had to help District leaders understand the difference between the basic, first tier of support that we provide to all students, and the second tier that we provide to some students within our classrooms, but above and beyond what we can provide to all students in a class.
We pushed to add “implementing” to the current contract language: “Identifying appropriate Tier 2 and Tier 3 evidence-based behavior interventions to support schools,” since it is not enough to identify these supports, we need a commitment to them implementing those Tier 2 and Tier 3 supports across the District for each school. Unfortunately, the District wasn’t willing to incorporate this into their most recent proposal.
We are currently lining up additional dates for January, and we encourage you to check out all our bargaining sessions on the PAT YouTube channel: www.youtube.com/@pdxteachers.
Your PAT Bargaining Team:
Steve Lancaster, Chair
Portland Association of Teachers