President's Message: Time to Turn Up the Heat

PAT members have every right to be angry.

We’re all hitting a justifiable breaking point, as PPS continues to pile on new initiatives and demands on our time, all without proper support, thoughtful planning, or adequate input.

Every day it feels as if we have another fight on our hands, whether it’s curriculum changes, additional testing, or the lack of respect for our contract.

To make matters worse, our class-size/caseload language, which was intended to be a first step towards reducing workload, was hardly implemented last year. Faced with a projected budget shortfall, we are looking at even bigger class sizes next year.

We have a pro-public education Governor and a super-majority in the House. But the budget from the legislative co-chairs is going to be even less than what the Governor proposed, meaning more cuts in our classrooms. This is unacceptable!

On Presidents’ Day, 5,000 people came from across the state to rally for more funding. We were polite and positive. Despite the bullhorns, the legislature clearly didn’t hear us. It’s time to turn up the volume.

When public schools are under attack, what do we do? We stand up and fight back!

Through our statewide union, the Oregon Education Association, we’re working with educators from across Oregon to amplify the voices of frontline educators and students. Your building rep will be talking to you soon about a series of ways you can support our demand for full funding in all our schools.

For example, on March 13th, the I-5 corridor will have banners presenting our message, simply and clearly, all the way from Eugene to Washington.

We are also planning a double “walk-in” on March 19th, to make sure our families understand the impact these cuts will have on their students and to demonstrate our unity to the PPS administration. First, we are walking into the building together at the start of the day. Then we are walking into our staff meetings together.

We have more activities planned for April, and, if needed, we are preparing to take bold action on May 8th.

Now is not the time to back down.

Our students deserve fully funded schools and we must be prepared to use our collective voice to demand it. Please continue to wear red on Tuesdays, and ask your building rep how you can be part of our upcoming actions.

Our students are worth fighting for—and everyone from the BESC to the Statehouse should know we intend to fight!

In Solidarity,

Suzanne Cohen 
PAT President