Does PPS want a teacher strike?

11:26 am

It’s a concept I brought up without much thought: since a major sticking point in contract negotiations is a five-day furlough for teachers, does the district want to force a strike, then, after five days of teacher picketing, come back to the table without the furlough in their contract offer? At least one teacher thinks that’s exactly what the district has in mind. Discuss.

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Steve Rawley published PPS Equity from 2008 to 2010, when he moved his family out of the district.

filed under: Labor Relations

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38 Responses

  1. Comment from Steve Buel:

    A teachers strike is about as devisive as anything in our society. (Ask older teachers in David Douglas where years later there was still huge animosity, particularly between teachers who were for and against the strike.) PPS is such a mess a teachers strike would be disastrous. This is a situation where the leadership needs to come from Carole Smith. She is the person who needs to make sure the contract gets settled. A lot of people think it is the school board, but it is actually the superintendent who makes things work. So the onus is on her. Let’s all hope she is up to it. If she is not, heaven help us.

  2. Comment from Steve Rawley:

    I agree, Steve, and from my conversations with Rebecca Levison and Nancy Arlington at PAT, it’s absolutely the last thing they want.

    I’m not so sure about the district, though. They want teachers to take five days without pay. Forcing a strike would take care of that and undermine the broad and deep support teachers enjoy in the community.

  3. Comment from howard:

    History says no. In February 2003 teachers were on the brink of a strike. The district let them off the hook by accepting a rescue engineered by city and county politicians.

  4. Comment from marcia:

    The district did not let us off the hook. The district wanted a strike…PAT orchestrated the deal with the city and county to avert the strike..which left teachers working free for 10 days.

  5. Comment from marcia:

    I might add, many teachers are saying they are tired of having the budget balanced on their backs. All other groups in the district received a 3 percent raise last year…

  6. Comment from Miss Merry Sunshine:

    I’ve been through two teacher strikes, one so nasty that teachers were hit by cars—-any strike is nasty. Been there, don’t want to go there again. But what is the option at this point?

    You can bet that the PPS and the board knows EXACTLY WHAT THEY ARE DOING, and they know why they have been dragging this contract out so long that it’s criminal. I subscribe to the theory #1 that they want to provoke the PAT into some action to further erode what is left of respect for teachers and get us to work MORE than 5 days for free. Yup, teach us a lesson!! A LESSON IN A RECESSION.

    Theory #2: The PPS also knows that the young teachers, saddled with $30k or more in college debt, desperate for jobs, with families dependent on them, are probably NOT going to support a strike. These are the folks you want for ‘Merit Pay’–the district says work 70 hours a week paid for 40? Sure! PPS says “jump”, they say “How high? How long?”

    Do I smell a split-and-divide tactic here? “If we could only get rid of those pesky labor unions”….hmmmmmm…..let’s exploit this and see what happens…..

    When did the PPS get so DIRTY?

  7. Comment from S. Wilcox:

    I am so livid by the whole lack of leadership and misappropriation of district funds. But, back to the original question “Does PPS want a teacher strike?” Um, DUH?

  8. Comment from Zarwen:

    “When did PPS get so dirty?”

    I do not remember it ever being any other way, and I have been here since 1992.

  9. Comment from Miss Merry Sunshine:

    Well, I had a few years of total happiness, between ’86-’90–then Measure 5 hit in ’90, and while financially there has been a downward spiral, WHAT GIVES WITH THE DISTRICT’s top-down DICKtatorship along the chain of command. The total ignorance of what goes on in the classroom? The systemic low morale among rank-and-file in the PPS gets worse every year! There USED to be a decent working relationship with PAT back in the 80′s, it’s gone so far downhill. Dirty doesn’t even describe it anymore. Teachers may as well be worms or slugs on the food chain in this district, and we just need to do WHAT WE ARE TOLD, shut up about it and be glad we have a job, eh?

    Most of us carry on because we were practically born teaching (!) at heart and love kids and find our own treasures and little miracles every day in our rooms, when we can shut out the administration and district. It’s in our blood. And no matter what the district does, they can’t break the PAT or the spirit that drives thousands of us to face kids every day and give our all.

    *playing my violin off into the sunset*…….

  10. Comment from markey:

    The animosity and rancor coming from both sides is amazing to behold. Adults who spend there days teaching kids, attempting to hone their civil sensibilities, reduced to bitter, reactive dialogue. Maybe its the way it has always been, and maybe things have been hammered out this way in the past but, boy, it’s depressing to be a part of. As for the question, yes, I believe that the district would like us to strike. Recession, low public support…the timing seems perfect for the district to hold out. Someone mentioned a divide and conquer strategy and that sent chills down my spine. I’m one of the newer teachers, saddled with debt, high mortgage, young kids to care for, who would be facing financial ruin in a strike. That said, the district’s demands and subsequent stonewalling is going to make a strike unavoidable if there is no give.
    I really hope PAT and the district have a few negotiators willing to raise the level of dialogue to match the importance of the work we all do.

  11. Comment from marcia:

    The mediators have no power. They just deliver the messages back and forth. they do not participate. don’t get your hopes up. the district backed itself into a corner again, and the teachers will have to pay…AGAIN.

  12. Comment from Miss Merry Sunshine:

    Oh, Markey, wait…..you are new, you are young, and you are exactly what the district wants, I posted a reference on this blog already: in debt, desperate for a job, wants to teach and will do anything to teach. “Bitter, reactive dialogue’????? You should be thankful that these issues are brought up in the open–bitter, reactive, suspicious or whatever, by those of us willing to take the risk. SOMEBODY HAS TO SPEAK OUT, AND MANY OF US HAVE PUT OUR CAREERS ON THE LINE TO DO SO.

    I realize YOU CAN’T rattle things, been where you are. You have to jump when the district says “JUMP”, and you’d better darn well ask “For how LONG and how HIGH???”

    Welcome to teaching in Portland. I have news for you, I’ve taught almost 4 decades, and public education has been woefully funded the entire time, in other places, most of the US I’d surmise. We don’t go into this for the money, but mark my words, I’ve never seen the “level of dialogue” raised very much or very often for the work we do. Wake up, this is public education, and we ain’t livin’ in Japan or other cultures where education is truly valued and supported.

    PAT has tried to raise the level of negotiations by starting them very early (informally) before the end of the contract-this I know is true. It’s the district that has stonewalled, refused to negotiate seriously or TRUTHFULLY.

  13. Comment from Steve Buel:

    Markey, I know what you mean. It is disappointing regardless of whose fault it is. Over the years teachers have had to be pretty tough to make gains in their profession. Sometimes when you are young you don’t see this in the same way. You weren’t there — it seems like it should be easier. It should be. But PPS is such a mess that it pretty much guarantees this type of animosity. There was a time, years ago, when teachers and the school board and the administration worked together for the same goals. Those days are gone, caught up in the testing, the politics, the lack of funding, and years of mistrust. Hopefully, someone on the administrative side will show some leadership — hasn’t happened yet.

  14. Comment from marcia:

    Steve, you forgot all the top down decision making that has taken place without teacher input the last few years. This has added to the alienation.There is a time to be polite and use good manners. Miss Manners would probably agree, when you need to call the kettle black…just do it. That’s where the teachers are at right now…no more pussy footing around.

  15. Comment from Super Teach:

    Markey – It is no secret the salary teachers make. Before you made the decision to accumulate debt, in school loans or otherwise, you should have run the numbers. Complaining after the fact when went into this knowing you had a mortgage and kids is just irresponsible.

    I am a PPS teacher and am so sick of teachers complaining about what they make. State employees are looking at a non-negotiable 14 furlough days this year and we are complaining about 5? The taxpayers who pay our salaries are losing their jobs and homes. Teachers, be thankful you have job security and a fair wage.

    We do not allow children in our classrooms to throw tantrums and fits, but that is exactly what happened Monday evening at the board meeting. I am embarrassed to be a part of such a group.

  16. Comment from Steve Buel:

    Super Teach, yes, teachers knew the salary schedule before they became teachers. I have never complained about my salary in 42 years of teaching. But the high cost of college debt is something we have foisted upon any person who wants to become a teacher or just go to college and doesn’t come from a fairly wealthy family. Oregon’s college costs are rediculous and unfair. Its shortsightedness hurts both Oregon and the whole country. So go ahead and argue that teachers shouldn’t complain about their salaries, but every person in Oregon, rich or poor, should be complaining about the high costs of college!

  17. Comment from Steve Rawley:

    Characterizing a political rally as a tantrum misses the mark. As Nancy Arlington told the crowd before the march, a district administrator said to her last week they thought the teachers were pretty content.

    District administrators are completely out of touch with the professional staff doing the actual work of educating our children. They needed a wake-up call, and they got one Monday night.

    No laws were broken; the school board arranged their agenda to allow teachers to address them at the start.

    Teachers left peacefully after their address, and the school board was able to get to the rest of their scheduled agenda after a short break.

    The cop who watched from the balcony did not have to call for backup, or provide protection to any of the administrators who are raking in five-figure raises this year while the district asks teachers to return to pre-2007 pay levels.

    This is about respect. As Cheyne Cumming said, “If people felt more respected, they might have more sympathy for the district’s ongoing financial difficulties.”

  18. Comment from Miss Merry Sunshine:

    Super Teach? I doubt you really ARE a teacher! Something smells fishy about your post, but I’ll just pretend you ARE one…

    Ok, as the bulk of society slips downward financially and the RACE TO THE BOTTOM for the middle class gets faster and faster….I guess I should just adopt your attitude that I should just be content to take a loss of income, slide backward and take it like a man (or woman)!

    Yes, I agree the board meeting was loud, hostile, and at times a bit unruly—BUT WHY SHOULD TEACHERS PLAY NICE ANYMORE?? Obviously, you are content to just “get along” with what you are “given”, but y’know—-your comment: “Teachers, be thankful you have job security and a fair wage” is exactly what the PPS wants to hear, and makes me think your post is coming from inside the PPS or a board member?

    Going backwards on the wage scale, while spending more out of pocket, and working harder than ever, longer hours doesn’t make me feel glad I have a job at all.

    Sorry you feel “embarassed” to be part of the PAT. Maybe you should have attended a negotiations session, read your Advocate, or had a chit-chat with Nancy Arlington or Rebecca Levinson or other PAT folks. I guarantee you’ll have a change of ‘tude!!!!

  19. Comment from Super Teach:

    I am a PPS teacher, plain and simple. I choose not to drink the PAT kool-aid.

    I have had extended conversations with both Rebecca and Nancy about my concerns about the negotiations. I have a lot of respect for the pleasant demeanor of Nancy. Also, rather than interrupt a board meeting’s procedures, I simply emailed the board and Carole to let them know my thoughts about the negotiations.

    Sure, there was no need for police to be involved in Monday’s events, but it was an angry mob that interrupted the rules of order at the meeting.

    Miss Merry, having taught young children for a very long time, I know there is always a responsibility to be nice, whether we agree with someone or not. My point is this: when economic times are better, we will get the increases we have worked so hard for. Right now, revenues are down for the state, which means that the money is just not there to be giving anyone, no matter how hard they work, a raise.

  20. Comment from marcia:

    What did you say your name was…??I missed it…Was that POLLYANNA?

  21. Comment from Miss Merry Sunshine:

    Fair enough argument, Super Teach. I don’t think anybody at this point, in any occupation, thinks they can ‘rob the bank’ for raises–unless you are getting a bonus at some investment firm on Wall St! *giggle*

    “Drink PAT Kool-aid?” You do realize where you would be WITHOUT the PAT? For all the shortcomings of the union, they have, on occasion, supported me when I seriously needed them. Teachers in this state have only had collective bargaining since 1973, also, the labor movement in this country had a bloody and violent beginning, and I for one–will HAPPILY DRINK SOME PAT “Kool-aid”, and am glad they are in my corner when they are able to be. I do not agree on all stands the union takes, but am willing to compromise for the greater good of ALL PDX teachers when necessary.

    Try teaching without a contract, I’ll bet a google search would get some testimony on that? I’ll close with the bumper sticker on my car:

    “THE LABOR MOVEMENT.
    The folks who brought you the weekend.”

  22. Comment from Super Teach:

    I appreciate the intentions of the union, but I think they also do some teachers a disservice. I disagree with the union (for one of many reasons) because we don’t have the opportunity for those Wall Street-type bonuses. While we all know there is dead weight in every building, we know that some of us excel at what we do. There are no opportunities for folks to shine and be rewarded for our work because we are all lumped into the same PAT pot. We can get kudos from parents, principals and district folks, but kudos don’t pay bills :-) . Know what I mean?

  23. Comment from marcia:

    WOW! I don’t even know where to begin on this….First of all ..those wall street type bonuses aren’t ever gonna happen unless you change professions…union or not. Your salary and benefits are highter than if you were working non-union…try moving to Arizona or Florida if that’s what you like…The administration does not have your interests at heart..otherwise you would have a blackberry in your purse, just like your principal…and a 3 percent cost of living raise would have been given to you last year…just like your principal. You are being offered a 2 percent cost of living raise…not by the union…by the district…and I believe you need to separate the two…Perhaps you could ask your building rep to let you re-read the history of these negotiations so you can understand what you would be living with and without if the district had their way and there was no union to fight for your rights. Job security is one thing you would not have. Your rep should have that for you to read…they were given out at the last PAT meeting.

  24. Comment from Super Teach:

    Oh, Marcia, Marcia, Marcia!

    I am not in this business for Wall Street bonuses! I have been teaching for the past 15 years for my students, not for money. I love my job! Despite what others say, I am in this for the kids and their progress, not the money.

    As for the administration, screw that whole blackberry business is crap and old news. My principal (who uses his blackberry when he is out of the buildings on Thursdays to stay in touch) is respectful and supportive. He is open to suggestions and responsive to the needs of our staff. And, if my principal got a raise last year, it is only because he deserved one and is not represented by a union.

    You may not believe it, but I am well informed by both my union reps. They hold meetings, send emails and distribute The Advocate, which I read every time it is published.

    When there is new information that has not been in every Advocate and speech Rebecca gives (the info and stats are given ad nauseum), please let me know. A new argument would be a breath of fresh air, relative to the same news over and over and over….

  25. Comment from Steve Buel:

    Teachers unions began as educational organizations and evolved into a union which supports teachers per se. If you look at the union in this way, that it supports teachers, not necessarily education, then it is all the more important that you support the union which supports you. Young teachers have a tendency to think such things as decent pay, duty free lunch, prep.time, retirement, health insurance, sick leave and pregnancy leave just evolved over time, not were fought for tooth and nail, often in meetings just like last Mondays.

    It is nice some teachers have a positive and supportive administrator. Wait until you get one which is nasty and capricious, runs the school for their own edification, and doesn’t like you because you support a more sane approach to education. You will kiss the unions feet then.

  26. Comment from Steve Rawley:

    Now class… do I have to turn the lights out on this thread? ;)

    No, seriously!

    History has taught us repeatedly that if we want change and progress, we’ve got to shake up the polite order of things once in a while.

    Some people might get their feelers hurt when we discuss their salaries that are twice what a lot of teachers are making. I’m sure they’ll get over it, though. They’re adults.

    The school board planned for the rally. They knew exactly what to expect. As protests go, this was a very well-behaved one, in my opinion.

    I imagine some people might be upset to hear that I saw a large group of teachers cross the street in the middle of the block on Broadway! Cars had to slow down and nearly stop!

    Mercifully, the district coincidentally has found enough budgetary wiggle room to take the furlough demand off the table, which ought to calm some tempers. Be nice for a lot of teachers I know to not have to worry about a shrunken paycheck for the next year.

    Maybe we can stop this madness and get back to teaching and learning.

    Oh, wait…. it’s almost time to start negotiating for the next contract because the one we’re negotiating now expires in June of next year!

  27. Comment from marcia:

    Okey dokey Mr. R. I am taking off the gloves. I guess I am upset because a union is only as strong as its members… enuff said….AndI am also upset because, yes, while I am sure that principal deserved his or her 3 percent raise…I feel I too deserve that same raise..I work pretty darned hard. Just as hard as all the other employees in the district who got 3 percent a year ago…and we, the teachers, are still waiting for a contract and being offered 2 percent. Also…the contract…if we ever get one..will expire in June, and that is thanks to the district..not the union (who wanted to roll over the contract at the beginning of this fiasco)!

  28. Comment from Miss Merry Sunshine:

    Super Teach….

    I’m sure you would be the first to sign up and insist you got merit pay. And I’m sure your WONDERFUL administrators would support you in that. And who knows, you probably deserve it tenfold and have earned it!

    Me? With the battles I’ve fought with administration over the past 10 years, I’d be lucky to get minimum wage if it wasn’t for the union. Thank gawd that the union covers ALL teachers, even if a few perhaps don’t deserve it? My only crime? Speaking out, speaking up, and disagreeing. Wait, wait—your chances of getting an admin who makes your life a living hell are EXCELLENT in this district. I’m smiling because chances are: a) you will desperately need the union and the contract at some point in your career….and b) your opinion of P.A.T. and contract protections will evolve and change over time, the more years you get in this district.

    Your day will come, and you will see the divine light of collective bargaining and the value of your union, warts and all. The heavens will part and the revelation will get you, YES IT WILL :) !!!!

  29. Comment from Steve Rawley:

    Marcia and Ms. Merry, we’re in total agreement about the importance of unions and collective bargaining, especially in a profession traditionally dominated by women. Before teachers were organized, their work wasn’t even considered a profession.

    So I have no problem with folks giving lessons on the history of organized labor here.

    No doubt the teacher corps is pretty stratified in PPS. For some, it’s just a supplemental paycheck. But for many, their jobs are the sole source of income for their families.

    For those who are otherwise comfortable, who don’t question authority, and who believe in the benevolence of management systems, merit pay probably sounds like a nice way to make some extra money.

    But for those who are sole breadwinners, speak up about injustice, or advocate for students in the face of managerial incompetence, merit pay is nothing but a ticket to the bottom. Not just for them, but for the entire profession.

  30. Comment from JustaGuy:

    I am not involved in this matter other than as a grown man who pays taxes and hopes to live in a well educated, civil society. The problem I see is that you are all right and wrong, and many of you allow emotion to get you off topic. I think everyone can agree that a top down/bottom up audit of how and where the district spends the available funds would serve to aide the public in ascertaining if wise spending decisions are being made. Many citizens believe, and may in fact be correct that we do not have a funding issue as much as we have spending issues. Who can really say as of right now? It would be so easy to accomplish, yet where is such an analysis, and why isn’t it the centerpiece of this negotiation?
    Additionally, Super Teach raises some great points, but many of the responses ignored the points and began emotionally arguing beside the point, and even mockingly doubting whether it was a teacher. For instance, one post began to discuss the cost of education, which is completely off topic to the issue at hand. Another response states that no laws were broken and the police did not have to act. Super Teach used the word “tantrum” not riot. To this tv news viewer, it appeared as a tantrum, and the teachers interviewed sounded shrill and hostile, especially when the local unemployment rate is over 12%. So much of this is about tone and tenor, and my opinion is that you need a contract, but your leadership is tone deaf and doing you no favors at all. This does not imply that all unions are either are good or bad. It simply means that in my humble opinion, you folks who have chosen a profession as essential as education need to have leadership that has a better read of the public at large. One more observation from a union household; lay off the bumper sticker slogans. The labor movement also gave us Jimmy Hoffa.

  31. Comment from Steve Rawley:

    One problem with TV news is that it only pays attention when things bubble over into crisis.

    This particular crisis has been brewing for 500 days…. The frustration of teachers slowly building up over a year and half while the district stonewalls is not very telegenic.

    But the cameras are there when frustrations do finally bubble over, and teachers look “shrill and hostile.”

    “I got a right to be hostile, man, my people’s being persecuted!” –Flavor Flav

  32. Comment from Miss Merry Sunshine:

    Hey, JustaGuy–some interesting points and a good laugh with your Jimmy Hoffa point!

    I’ve got one for you–teaching also gave us MaryKay Letourneau……GUESS THERE ARE LEMONS AND BAD APPLES EVERYWHERE, EH?

    The bumper sticker is real and valid, and union bashing doesn’t accomplish anything. It’s ironic that my experience has been most people who bash unions don’t have one.

    Back to the issues: What the public, and board fails to remember is that teachers took pay cuts, freezes, and other concessions LONG BEFORE THIS RECESSION. We literally have been sacrificing in this district for years. We are not asking for the “moon” while some are jobless, etc. If the sacrifice were shared, my tenor, and that of people on this blog might have been different–but when folks in admin get raises and perks–and teachers are asked to SACRIFICE AGAIN….welll……geee, I’m getting a little “emotional” here!

    Let me address the “emotion” issue before I go off into the sunset and zip my lips for awhile. (Intermission while I go check to see if I’ve taken my hormones today! A little estrogen keeps those pesky emotions in check :) . If you are a teacher, then PASSIONATELY CARING ABOUT KIDS AND EDUCATION IS PART OF YOUR PSYCHE. Not be emotional? If someone would tell me how to take the emotion out of teaching and punch a clock and let it all go at the end of the day, I’d give it a try, you betcha.

    Couldn’t agree with you more on the district spending issues, most posts on Equity are dealing with that. It’s hard to stomach sales of surplus equipment, Blackberries, raises, etc. It undermines taxpayer confidence in the school district.

  33. Comment from JustaGuy:

    Steve and Ms. Merry:
    Thanks for the responses. Couple of things; in my earlier post I meant to state that the cost of higher education was not relevant to the current discussion. I also could have been more clear; I get my news from many sources, so my greater point was/is that although many things have occurred across many years, you as Portland Teachers are essentially attempting to close a business deal with PPS. You need the public to support you as that will add leverage and also assist when future bond measures come up, as they always do. Many Portlanders saw the news clips and it was not pretty for the cause. The question in this particular contract negotiation is not what sacrifices were made 1, 3, 5 or 7 years ago by educators. I recognize that many of you have in fact made such sacrifices, but that ship sailed, although the memories remain. The issue is what can you obtain right now, based upon the facts on the ground, and where is the tipping point at which the public looking at 12% unemployment decides that you as a group are no longer sympathetic figures? Again, I come from a union household, and I negotiate for living, so I have an academic interest in how this is playing out. I believe your leadership is doing a poor job of managing the discussion and the rank file as interviewed by TV did nothing to further your cause in my opinion. You got me with the Mary Kay Letourneau reference. Thanks for the give and take.

  34. Comment from marcia:

    Shrill and hostile…Yep, that would be me/

  35. Comment from Steve Buel:

    Justa Guy, While the cost of higher education is not in the first tier of relevant topics concerning a teacher contract, it does have two points of relevance. First, huge numbers of young teachers have huge debts from the high cost of college. Seems like this might make these teachers even more interested in their salaries. Secondly, in the Oregon Legislature college education is played off against K-12 education — most often by the unions representing K-12 education. These unions control a lot of what goes on in the legislature and since they don’t represent college professors etc. colleges are way underfunded in Oregon.

    P.S. It would be nice if we could just sit down and calmly come to an agreement. Never seems to happen that way and one reason is that the people in power are often pretty unreasonable. Ask anyone who has tried to bring about social change in this country. Heck, ask anyone on this site who have tried to get PPS to truly address the obvious unfairness of the equity issues. Try this: after 34 years of following PPS politics, teaching for 42 years (including the 1990′s in Portland), running 5 times for the school board — all in a responsible manner, though critical of much of what PPS does- I couldn’t even get appointed to a committee to help the district deal with the transfer issues. Yep, they really want to hear opposite viewpoints. It is this type of an attitude the teachers are confronting. It seems the criticism of people taking positions which run contrary to the districts’s positons is almost always done by the people holding all the power. “You could all be more reasonable and just agree with us.” Maybe this is not true in your case, but generally it is what happens.

  36. Comment from Stephanie:

    I attended the rally as a parent in support of my teacher and school and brought my daughter. She is 6 so I told her it was a teacher parade and that we were helping their bosses know that we think teachers are really great. I did not see the news but am disappointed to hear that the teachers were represented in a negative way. I thought the rally was really positive and the testimony was wonderful. I believe I am accurate in saying that the entire event was planned with PPS and proper permissions were granted. The guy with the bullhorn was shushing everyone while the children performed before the school board meeting started. I view this as using the system properly and wish that people would use the right to peacefully assemble more often actually. It is frustrating that teachers airing a grievance in a peaceful and legal way would not be celebrated. Teachers saved my life. If it wasn’t for Mrs. Gentry at King School in Urbana allowing me to stay with her after school and even giving me a ride home. I may have never developed empathy for others and would certainly be a long forgotten statistic. Sure I had a teacher that was famous for falling asleep in class while we sniffed his cup to confirm it was booze and then changed our grades but the good far outweighed the bad. I will never be able to understand why we don’t put teachers on pedestals. I do not have enough knowledge to comment on the pros and cons of merit pay but if I was a teacher I would be against it. There are too many unsung heroes that would get passed over and I don’t think it would foster good competition but rivalry.
    Where I do agree with comments on the other side is that we do have to figure out how to use the system and also partner with PPS. Public education is in the toilet and in Portland for all of it’s major problems the community still cares to make it better (even if we don’t agree yet on what better looks like). In many large districts I have heard the community has totally turned their back on the schools. I don’t know how we do it but I do detect sincerity in pockets of PPS admin and we frankly need the taxpayers to vote for more funding. I personally expect PPS to be the one to bridge the divide but also hope the teachers can meet them halfway but without selling out their integrity. Go teachers!

  37. Comment from Miss Merry Sunshine:

    Great post, Stephanie, great post! You make me feel good about being a teacher!

    That poor boozy teacher who fell asleep in class? I had a few real zingers in HS, too–they made me WANT to be a teacher, knowing I could do a better job. Sometimes poor quality and mediocrity is a motivator to others, sad but true. It gave me the impetus to pursue a career in teaching. REALLY!

  38. Comment from Stephanie:

    You know after I posted I did realize that when Mr. S was less drunk he taught us a lot about social studies that was not in the book that I appreciated :)

    Everything you read these days is so disparaging of teachers and especially so straight out of Washington DC. Why are the inspirational stories not front page news? There are certainly thousands more of those than the hot for teacher style sex scandals. Teachers are saving lives every day, probably every minute. Where are those statistics? Many kids are clothed and fed by the school so they CAN learn from a caring teacher and pull themselves up by their bootstraps (Being facetious, I hate that term). In a time when the idea of protecting children is at it’s most intense people also seem to care less for and criticize more the heroes that have always been there for children. They are so ready to hand them off to the free market to fix because that is the solution to everything right? To quote my pal Rita, “Don’t get me started”

    Can we start a “How a teacher has helped me” thread?