Across the country, racial equity work in our public schools is under attack. Right wing groups such as “Parents Defending Education,” the Freedom Foundation, and Project Veritas, are using aggressive and underhanded tactics to undermine anti-racist work in school districts across the country, and here in the Pacific Northwest.
Here in Oregon, a pattern is emerging. Conservative groups are harassing and threatening educators involved in ant-racist work, including weaponizing the use of public records requests to access our personal information and use it to intimidate individual educators. Their aim is to generate inflammatory stories in right-wing media outlets and silence those committed to building anti-racist education in public schools. There has been a barrage of threats against individual educators in recent weeks, causing many to fear for their own safety and that of their families. Please know that our first priority as a union is to protect the safety of our members, including respecting the privacy of those impacted by these hateful acts of intimidation.
This spring, at least three candidates in communities across Oregon ran for local school board seats on a platform explicitly rejecting anti-racist work in school. As of last night’s election results, I am relieved to say that none of these candidates won. This victory, however, does not signal our work is done.
As educators, we know that the foundation of anti-racist work is love. We do equity work because we care deeply about our students, colleagues, and our community. We know that none of us can be free until all of us are truly free, and this work is at the core of our union. As with any complex endeavor, as our union undertakes anti-racism and anti-bias work we will always strive to create long-term and sustainable change. We are only as powerful as we are united, so it's important to engage as many PAT members as possible in our anti-racism organizing. There are no shortcuts to building the unity that is our collective power.
And we know there is much work to do. For anti-racist work to be successful, we need to thoughtfully and intentionally create spaces where students and educators can be vulnerable and have important conversations, and we must be bold in our push to change systems and practices that reinforce inequalities. We need our school districts and our state education leaders to commit to protecting educators engaged in this work from harassment, and to stand up to groups aiming to undermine our progress.
PAT unequivocally supports racial equity and anti-bias work in our schools. As a union, our job is to stand up for one another and for our students, and for a racially-just society. Anti-racist work has never been safe. Your union is here to protect all our educators who are boldly undertaking this difficult work.
We stand in solidarity with educators in our community and across the country engaged in anti-racist work that directly centers the safety and well-being of our students of color.
To those who seek to undermine our critical anti-racism and anti-bias work, we will show them through our ongoing commitment that we are undeterred.
Please join us in celebrating all of our wonderful educators who have retired this school year. We recognize that this was an especially challenging year and a half for educators, students, and families, and one that none of us would have imagined as the final year of our careers. The PAT is overjoyed to take some time to reflect and celebrate the careers of all of our retired educators.
Please join us to honor our retiring PAT members. RSVP here.
After hearing concerns from many of you about the schedule the week of Memorial Day, PAT has been working through our Contract Administration process to make sure the schedule honors our agreements. Here are some updates:
For Middle School and High School:
- Educators must have at least 80% of their regular “Educator Directed” time over the course of the 4-day week (724 minutes for Middle School, 720 minutes for High School).
- To create equity between cohorts, there will be no “Asynchronous Day;” instead, Cohort A on Tu/W and Cohort B on Th/F.
For Elementary Schools:
- Elementary School WILL have the Wednesday Asynchronous day, with hybrid students coming in for in-person instruction on T/Th/F.
- This preserves services for students, including Special Education and small groups.
- Educators must have 80% of their regular “Educator Directed” time over the course of the 4-day week (648 minutes).
For K-8 Schools
- Like Elementary Schools, Wednesday is an Asynchronous day.
- PPS has stated that Middle Grades in K-8 schools only have one in-person cohort, so creating symmetry between cohort A and cohort B is not an issue. Please work through your building reps to contact your UniServ Consultant if that is not the case at your school
Since mid-school year the PAT has asked the District to enter into conversations about health benefits eligibility for Substitute educators. The reason this has been an area of concern is that the current collectively bargained agreement requires that an educator work a minimum of seventy days in a year to be eligible for benefits in the following year.
The COVID-19 pandemic has essentially made it impossible for most substitute educators to work 70 full days. That means that most substitute educators who have Health and Welfare Trust insurance face the loss of that benefit.
We are happy to report that the District has stated that it is willing to bargain a reduction in the number of days that a substitute educator must work for insurance eligibility, but that is the best we can say. Unfortunately, PPS has stated that it will discuss the issue only as part of the full-bargain for a successor agreement. In addition, even though the two sides met to begin bargaining, the District did not make an insurance proposal.
Your PAT Substitute Bargaining Team asked the District to consider bargaining a separate MOU for next year’s insurance requirements. The District rejected that request.
As we move through bargaining, we will do all we can to keep you informed about this extremely important issue. To accomplish that we will be sending substitute members substitute-specific bargaining briefs.
We are seeking applicants to be part of the 2021-22 PAT Advocacy Cadre. Apply here! Read more below.
What is the Advocacy Cadre?
This small group of members will work closely with UniServ Consultants to become experts on our contract, and will provide member-to-member support.
The Advocacy Cadre will run a Zoom Advocacy Hotline, where Reps and other members can get immediate answers to questions about the contract and support to resolve problems in their buildings.
Cadre Members Commit to:
- 2 days Advocacy Training August 17-18, 2021. (This will be held either live, or remotely, depending on safety recommendations at that time.)
- 1 Zoom Hotline shift a week, during the school year, Mondays, 4:30-6:30pm at PAT.
- In addition to answering the hotline, this time may include ongoing training and other advocacy work with UniServ Consultants. Additional dates may be added depending on need.
- This is a 1-year opportunity and commitment, paid at the OEA cadre-rate ($33/hour).
- Active PAT membership;
- Experience as a PAT building rep or other similar union experience preferred;
- Interest in continued union advocacy work;
- Special consideration given to applicants with an interest in pursuing work as a UniServ Consultant;
- Special consideration given to applicants with characteristics that help create a group that represents the racial diversity of our membership, and of the job-types that our members hold.
Goals for PAT:
- Build capacity among members to enforce our contract, support member rights, and organize and problem solve in buildings;
- Develop leadership within PAT that represents the diversity of our membership demographics and workforce positions;
- Create a pathway toward UniServ Consultant work for interested members.
- Fill out application form by June 4th.
- Interviews to be scheduled in mid June.
You can read about this year's Advocacy Cadre here.
Recruiting, supporting, and retaining educators of color is crucial, for our students and for our profession. Starting this spring, we are excited to award two $6,000 scholarships to people of color seeking a rewarding future career in education.
Congratulations to Gabriela Cano-Hernandez, recipient of the $6,000 Student Scholarship, and to Melissa Brabham recipient of the $6,000 PPS Employee Scholarship.
As an additional effort to support future BIPOC Educators, the PAT Executive Board has also awarded the following PPS employees with $2,000 scholarships and $500 stipends.
$2,000 PPS Employee: Alyssa Anaya, Cole Reginald, David (DeAnthony) Maza, Bao Ngoc Tong, Lien Tran, Natalie Vega
$500 Stipend Award: Robert McDonald, Taiya Weiss
We look forward to working with all of these amazing people as PAT Certified Educators. Finally, thank you to the Racial Equity Scholarship Committee and the PAT Board for their efforts to support future BIPOC Educators.
Fundamentals of Being an Effective Building Rep
When: Thursday, June 3, 4:30 - 6:00 PM; or Monday, June 7, 4:30 - 6:00 PM (both days are the same training, so pick the one that works best for you)
Sign up here to receive a link to the meeting
Are you a new building rep this year and want to know what your role and responsibilities are? Do you want to learn more about legal rights you have as a rep when you sit down to represent a member with admin or when you are advocating for your colleagues? Where does the building rep fit into the larger structure of the PAT?
This virtual workshop will provide an overview of your rights and responsibilities as a PAT building rep and focus on teaching you the fundamentals of being an effective building rep. You will learn some of the most important tools for communicating, organizing, advocating, and building a strong union at your school or site. Building reps are the frontlines of the PAT and this fundamentals training will provide you with the most important tools you need to do the job.
Your PAT AAPI Month planning committee has been hard at work. We are excited to share lessons, resources, and events for AAPI Month. There are a variety of ways to get involved-- from visiting a local AAPI-owned business in the community, to teaching a lesson we created for you, to checking out a new podcast that centers AAPI folx. Once members complete "three in a row" on this Choice Board, you can enter a raffle to win a rad prize such as a $25 gift certificate to a local AAPI owned juicery or restaurant.
We broke up the month of May into 4 different themes. We are now in Week 3!
- Week 1: Week of Action
- Week 2: Asian American History
- Week 3: Centering Pacific Islanders
- Week 4: AAPI Joy
Please note: this is NOT the month to teach about Asian history, culture, or traditions. Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have a long and rich history in the United States. We need to teach about those histories and experiences to expand ideas of who is an American.
Affinity Space for Asian and Pacific Islander Educators
You are invited to this weekly PAT AAPI Affinity Group- Register here
When: Every Friday at 3:30 pm during the month of May
Hosted by PAT Members Sarah Lee and Tiffany Koyama Lane
In April, PAT PAC contributors elected new members to serve as Directors on the PAT PAC Board. Jacob Jonas Closs and Tina Lamanna will each serve a three year term beginning on July 1st.
In addition to the newly elected Directors, next year’s PAT PAC Board will include these members whose terms continue: Joanne Shepard, Mary Watkins, Ami Fox, Greg Burrill, Erika Schneider, Elizabeth Thiel, and Gwen Sullivan.
To run to be elected as an at-large director of the PAT PAC, one must be a contributor to the PAC; a member of PAT or PMAE-Retired; and a member of the PAT Legislative Committee.
Members may donate up to 40 hours of sick leave annually. Employees who have submitted notice of resignation are exempted from this maximum limit, and may contribute as many hours as they would like.
This year, it is easier than ever to donate hours: you can donate hours by filling out this online form! You will need to log in with your PPS email account and include your PPS employee ID number on the form.
The PAT Sick Leave Bank (see PAT/PPS contract Article 188.8.131.52) provides aid for colleagues who have exhausted their accumulated leave balances but are unable to work due to extended or recurring personal illness. With the help of the Sick Leave Bank, they are able to avoid the additional hardships of lost salary and lost insurance coverage during their illness.
The Sick Leave Bank is funded completely by voluntary contributions of sick leave days from PAT educators. Thank you for considering making a donation today!