In the news: district seeks mediation for stalled contract talks

7:54 am

In a press release yesterday, Portland Public Schools announced it would seek state mediation in their stalled contract negotiations with the teacher’s union.

The district is offering a retroactive 2% cost of living raise for the past school year, but would force teachers to take five furlough days in the coming school year, the equivalent of a 2.5% pay cut.

Rebecca Levison, president of Portland Association of Teachers, questions the spending priories of the district.

“They want to give nothing in (2009-10) and yet they pay for BlackBerries for administrators, outside consultants, off-site administrative meetings and new deputy superintendents,” sad Levison in an article in today’s Oregonian. “And teachers have more responsibilities and more put on their plate every year.”

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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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8 Responses

  1. Comment from S. Wilcox:

    I just watched (an old?) news video about the 80k the district spent on hotels for administrator meetings. I am back in my room this week trying to organize and generally do what teachers do. I changed grade levels this year, and was told there was only one novel set for my grade level. No money had been allocated, and so I am scrambling trying to figure out what I am going to teach. This is unpaid, by the way. This whole week is. The district has roughly 80 schools, and I can’t help but think what $1,000 would do for my school, just in terms of books. It is difficult enough to try to fit in planning time as a teacher, but when we are expected to somehow scrounge for our materials? Outrageous! And then be asked to take a pay cut? Words cannot fullt describe my disgust with the district!

  2. Comment from Miss Merry Sunshine:

    It is my personal mission in life to dissuade ANYONE from GOING INTO TEACHING. So far, I’ve convinced two folks that getting into debt over$30 thou + to become a teacher is seriously not worth it!

    Reading S. Wilcox’s story sounds so familiar–I’ve had to scrounge for ages for the most basic of materials, most out of my own pocket. Oh, geez, I could go on and on….but the public thinks we are paid too much as is, we whine too much……I’ll take some cheeze with my whine, thank you!

  3. Comment from Steve Rawley:

    Rather than dissuading new teachers, I wish we could persuade society in general that educating our children (and, by extension, treating their teachers like the well-educated professionals they are) is a worthy investment.

  4. Comment from Steve Buel:

    I just talked today to a very bright father who was unhappy with his college son’s choice of the teaching profession. After 42 years of teaching I couldn’t help but agree that his concerns were well founded. It is just not the treatment of teachers, nor the lack of repect engendered by the people in government, the media, and the public in general, but also the attitudes of teachers’ themselves. We have accepted the idea that we are to be feared since some have been child molesters, that if only we were trained better the problems would dissipate, and that experience in our ranks is a hindrance not a blessing.

    As long as we stick with the new status quo then I would be hesitant to see a son enter my profession also. Darn, I wish it wasn’t so.

  5. Comment from Nancy R.:

    You guys aren’t dissuading me, sorry. I’ve always liked a challenge, haha. It’s why I managed to graduate from high school and then college in the first place, even though I statistically had a lousy shot at both. My mom’s boyfriend told me at one point, I thought you’d be dead in the street by now.

    What a sweet man.

    Thank God for my teachers — they were the only ones I had to turn to, most days.

    My students trust me to be there — the library is their rock. I’ll be glad when I get through my master’s program and am finally certified. OK, Sherman Alexie (“Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian”) is far more eloquent than I:

    “As Neil Gaiman said in his recent Newbery Award Winner acceptance speech, he was a ‘feral kid raised by libraries.’ And, trust me, I’ve learned that there are hundreds of thousands of those feral kids out there reading dozens of books a year. I am proud to be writing for them.”

  6. Comment from Steve Buel:

    Nanc, as you know there is not a bigger proponent of quality libraries in the whole city than me. I would tell any student who wanted to become a librarian that it is one of the best jobs in the world. Get kids to read more — what could possibly be any more worthwhile.

    I am just sad that education has deteriorated in the manner it has. A good example is how we have treated the libraries in PPS. As you know it has been horrible. And there are many, many parallels in the general education realm. And we don’t address them honestly and openly as you also full well know. I am just saying that young people who want to become school teachers need to be given the straight story, not some fictionalized account of how it works. The public relations message has become not much different than corporations advertising their wonderful environmental contributions etc. Yes, teachers can make a big difference still in the lives of their students, but it is not like it once was in that category. Maybe it is just a sign of a changing world, but I think it is also the advent of the accountability movement and the new educational establishment thinking. Obama and Arne and Susan Castillo etc. seem to be making it worse. Ted Kennedy was one of the sponsors of NCLB and I can only think that he would have been hoorified if he really had known how it has been instituted.

    Kind of remings me of a story years ago when a teacher I had worked with was often lauded by the wonderful Matt Prophet about the great changes she had brought about in special education programs. She told me she never had the heart to tell him it was still a mees.

  7. Comment from Steve Buel:

    Rereading my post reminds me that Teddy would have been horrified also.

  8. Comment from Nancy R.:

    (pssst — Buel won’t tell you this, but I will. He showed up at my library last year with an enormous bag of brand-new books for my students. Big softie.)