President's Message: This is Only the Beginning!

May 8th was electrifying—over 25,000 teachers, parents, students, and community supporters rallying on the waterfront and marching through downtown.

Thousands more filled the streets in Eugene, Medford, Bend, and Klamath Falls. Educators even took over the Capitol in Salem driving home our message, that it’s time to fund the schools our students deserve.

Despite Republican shenanigans, the Student Success Act passed the Senate on May 13th. This historic legislation, providing over $2 billion in new funding, is a substantial down-payment on what our schools require.

Make no mistake, this wouldn’t have happened without rank-and-file educators standing up and saying enough is enough.

But our fight is far from over.

Two days after our historic walkout, the Governor and legislative leadership introduced a series of bills designed to cut PERS benefits for hundreds of thousands of Oregonians. And you can bet the new taxes contained in the Student Success Act will be referred to the ballot early next year.

Clearly conservatives and the big corporations believe that the best defense is a good offense, and too many of our elected leaders are wavering.

But May 8th showed what we can do when we take a stand.

Now that educators understand our power—the power of organized people—there is no way we’re going backward.

In Solidarity,

Suzanne Cohen
PAT President