School Boards should be managing the fiscal assets of our schools, lobbying the legislature, interacting with city, state, and federal officials and providing safe, adequate, and superior resources for teaching and learning.
But the selection of books, teaching materials, and curriculum should be the responsibility of trained professional educators. Too many board members have neither the experience nor the expertise for these tasks. Our schools are failing. More and more students are dropping out. And a majority of students who graduate are unprepared for college.
There should be no “bargaining” over these education “issues.” Education and students should come first. The school board should do their job: securing and maintaining resources for teaching and learning. But when it comes to education, over-reaching boards have provided inadequate texts and insisted on flawed methods. These demands have crippled our schools for decades. We must allow trained professional educators to get our schools back on track and effectively teach our kids.
We need teachers back in charge to get the job done.
~Tim Flanagan, associate editor at The Portland Alliance and administrator of the International Peace Resource Center Library in Missoula, Montana.
A few years back, on Wednesday, October 16, 2013, from 7:00pm until 8:30pm there was — A Community Forum — at Jefferson High School
5210 N. Kerby, Portland, Oregon 97217
The speakers were: Gwen Sullivan, president, Portland Association of Teachers; Lluvia Morello, Woodlawn School parent; Rose Murdoch, Beach School teacher; plus a Jefferson HS student
People came to hear about, question and discuss the teachers’ bargaining proposal preamble —
“The Schools Portland Students Deserve”
which calls for
· Reduced class sizes and caseloads
· More electives, music, art, physical education, libraries, and world languages
· Wrap-around support services, including counselors, nurses, social workers, psychologists, second-language and special education teachers· Equity in allocation of resources to high-poverty schools
· Maintenance of enrollment rather than school closures
·Use of standardized testing as only one tool for assessment of students
·Academic freedom and collaboration for professional educators
Portland Public Schools (PPS) has refused to bargain over these issues in a meaningful way. PPS should continue negotiations without declaring an impasse. PPS should settle a contract which provides adequate compensation and benefits as well as fair workload and preparation time. Teachers’ working conditions are students’ learning conditions.
These problems persist: perhaps now is the time for a follow-up conference…
*to contact the PPS Superintendent, Guadalupe Guerrero, call 503-916-3200 or contact PPS board members: Email the Board: firstname.lastname@example.org
Board members are elected by voters city-wide and represent the entire school district; however, they must reside in one of seven zones.
Mail may be sent to Board Members at the following address: 501 N. Dixon Street, Portland, Oregon, 97227
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