What a return to the school year! I’ve been thinking a lot about the transformative nature of our Bargaining Proposal and the way systems are changing here at PAT. This, in conjunction with the new budgets being set at the district and state level, has me feeling like I’m Charlie Day using red yarn to connect different paths forward.
Bargaining and Budgets:
We are at a pivotal moment in our movement towards fully funded public schools. Right now, 3 major discussions are taking place:
- PPS’ process for the 2023-24 Budget begins: PPS held a meeting with labor leaders to share that (surprise!) it is unsustainable to use our reserves to make up for our budget shortfall. We need a State School Fund budget of at least $10.6 Billion in order to maintain Current Service Levels. Last biennium, the budget was $9.3 Billion. We lost dozens of classroom educator positions in the last budget cycle. Now more than ever, we need to ensure we have safe staffing levels in our schools. PAT also believes that a review and restructuring of non-building based administrative positions could support finding ways to improve student and educator experience while reducing the budget.
- The Oregon State School Fund Budget for Biennium 2023-25 being Debated: During this session, the Oregon Legislature will be deciding on school funding for the next biennium (SY2023-24 and SY2024-25). According to the Quality Education Model, in order to have K-12 class size averages of 20 students, full time school nurses and school counselors at the nationally recommended 1:250 ratio, it will cost the state $11.9 Billion over the two years. The estimated proposal listed in the ODE report is $9.372 Billion.
- Student Success Act Application cycle ramps up: ODE has provided new guidance on the fund applications, as it is now integrating 6 different programs into one: High School Success (HSS), Student Investment Account (SIA), Continuous Improvement Planning (CIP), Career and Technical Education - Perkins V (CTE), Every Day Matters (EDM), Early Indicator and Intervention Systems (EIIS). The guidance came down February 2022, and plans are reaching the public comment stage now, during Winter 2023. Keep an eye out for communications from PPS about these “engagement sessions''. See the Legislative Report from 2022 HERE.
This means we have a very clear path forward to fully funding our schools at the state level. PAT’s Legislative Committee is and will continue to work closely with the Oregon Education Association (OEA) Government Relations Team to identify lobbying and organizing opportunities for advocacy. The Bargaining Team and Committee will continue to keep these numbers in mind as we push forward our most ambitious proposal yet.
Budgets are moral documents. They show us what we collectively prioritize and are willing to fund. Our school system and our students can no longer maintain after decades of underinvestment and mismanagement. The current timeline is perfect for all educators, students, families, management and community to stand up and advocate for what we know our students deserve.
I believe in us. I believe we can change this world for the better. We do that one button wearing campaign, one conversation, one rally, one step at a time. We do that together.
And in case no one told you today, you are awesome and we love you!
Probationary educators must be evaluated each year during their 3-year probationary period. The process is described in the contract and the Educator Handbook for Professional Growth and Evaluation. Performance ratings must align with the PPS Performance Evaluation Rubric and ratings must be based on direct evidence included in the written evaluation.
- Bargaining-- Monday, January 30th & Tuesday, Jan. 31st! Set your reminders! Wear your buttons & Blues!
PAT Committees and Meetings at PAT Office: RSVP Today
- Tuesday, Jan. 31st- 4:30-6:30 PM Substitute Committee
- Wednesday Feb. 1st-4:30-6:30 PM *Advocacy, Legislative, PAT/PAC Committee
- Thursday, Feb. 2nd-4:30-6:30 PM Internal Organizing
- Wednesday, Feb. 8th-4:30-6:30 PM *Bargaining, +Racial Equity, Instructional & Professional Development Committees
*Marks closed committees
Legislative, History, and Unionism
- Monday, January 30th- Understanding the Attacks on Public Education in Oregon and How We Fight Back (4:30PM-6:30PM at PAT)
- Monday, February 6th- Best Practices of Handling Plans of Assistance (4:30PM-6:30PM via Zoom)
- Monday, February 13th- Beginning Building Rep Training (4:30-6:30 PM at PAT office)
Secrets of a Successful Organizer
- Saturday, February 25th - Secrets of a Successful Organizer Training (10AM-4PM)
See our flyer for more training opportunities through the year!
Black Lives Matter Week of Action (BLM WOA) is fast approaching (February 6th-10th) and PAT’s Racial Equity and Social Justice Community Outreach Committees encourage all educators to take part. The PPS school board unanimously voted to adopt a resolution encouraging educators to take part in this powerful event. Building reps already have a sign up sheet with a link to the BLM WOA participation pledge and for collecting size information for your beautiful BLM PAT Tee Shirt (optional $10 donation). You can PLEDGE in advance now and then connect with your building rep next week to provide tee shirt information.
By the time you read this, you may have concluded your teaching about MLK or you may already have your lesson plans in place. We know as educators that every day is an opportunity to build on previous lessons and, as needed, to expand, correct, or provide new perspectives.
The SJCO and RE committees are well aware that most of us experienced a sanitized version of Martin Luther King Jr. in our own educational experience, one in which he was elevated as a lone hero with a singular dream of peace. This simplification gets used against those who disrupt racism in a supposed “non-peaceful” manner. The focus on “I have a dream…” allows many to lean into the idea that simply loving each other will solve the harms of racist systems. With a narrow memory of desegregation as his primary aim, many rest in some relief that his dream has become reality, disregarding the simultaneous beliefs Dr. King had about worker’s rights, advocating for the houseless, and anti-war sentiments, not to mention that while segregation may not exist in law, in reality it continues to this day in many ways.
We remember that Dr. King believed in non-violence, but push to the side the violent resistance he was met with. We remember him as the leader, and minimize the vast network of accomplices and allies he was in community with. We remember the strength of his voice and his speeches in soundbites, but have not taken in the fullness of his message and calls to action, particularly white people.
If any of this describes your experience, you are in an opportune position to disrupt the legacy of sanitizing Dr. King’s work. This link from the Zinn Education Project, The Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. You Won’t Read About in Textbooks, has some wonderful resources to get you started. There are lesson plans, adult reading, and a one hour recording of a webinar from earlier this month hosted by Jeanne Theoharris (author of “A More Beautiful and Terrible History, the Uses and Misuses of Civil Rights” and “The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks) and Jesse Hagopian (co-editor of “Black Lives Matter at School: An Uprising for Educational Justice”).
If you are someone who has a deeper knowledge and understanding of the Civil Rights Movement (past and present) and Dr. King’s role amongst many collaborators and how his philosophies developed and changed over time, we hope you will share your wisdom with your colleagues and with us! What does racial and social justice education look like in your classroom, in your team or department? How does it disrupt the whitewashing of Dr. King? How do you connect it to today's BLM demands? There is strength in numbers and in transparency… the more we share with one another our efforts, the more inspired and brave others may become to elevate this important work!
Here are a few events that we have been up to as we seek to develop and strengthen bonds with our Portland community:
Monthly coalition meetings with our PPS partner unions: In these meetings, we learn about the successes and needs of all union employees and discuss how we can support one another.
Community Listening Sessions: By now you have probably heard about these! The first was at Harriet Tubman Middle School and the next two were at Scott & Rigler Elementary Schools today. The purpose of these sessions is to build connection and engagement with community members to vision-dream what our schools could be.
PAT Members participated in the Don’t Shoot PDX 9th Annual Reclaim MLK Jr. Day March & an awesome screen printing event at PNCA! Look out for more opportunities to connect with Don’t Shoot Portland and community during Black History Month & Black Lives Matter Week of Action, Feb. 6th-10th, 2023.