I Am Disappointed too

“Tonight, we are very disappointed that the Portland Association of Teachers voted to authorize a strike.” was how the press release from the school district began.

They are disappointed that the teacher’s union were forced down this path.  I mean, this path was set back late last year when the school district declared negotiations at an impasse.  This declaration triggered the mandatory cooling off period – and allowed the district to present, if they chose, the final contract to the school board for approval.  And by doing that, the teachers could choose to strike or accept it.   (Yes, I AM only hitting the high points.)

I am disappointed that the school district has chosen not to continue to negotiate as they have chosen in the past. I mean, the teachers once worked without a new contract for close to two years.  None of the above process was ever followed or forced.  Everyone wanted to avoid drama – so they worked together.

But what am I really disappointed in?  The fact the show stoppers to the deal are around the fact the district wants “promises outside of the contract” for things like number of students a teacher can have.  We’re not talking a teacher complaining about a class size of 33.  No we are talking about the teachers in middle school and high school wanting to keep the 150  180 student load limit in place.  Let’s think about this for a moment – 150  180 students…..that’s 150 180 student papers to grade – an essay may take 5min a paper meaning that teacher will spend 750 900 minutes grading just that set of essays.  That equates to 12.5 15 hrs – for ONE assignment!  And, oh by the way, kids and parents want that turned around in a few days, ok?  With comments. And with the grades entered into the online grade books.

I am disappointed that while they are looking at numbers and creating flexibility for themselves and how they organize the schools and classes and district that they are doing it on the backs of those on the front lines trying to make all these decisions work – who care about these kids – who want them to succeed – and who try to figure out how to get them successful when they do not.  They are putting the kids at risk – kids who need feedback from their teacher in reasonable time frames – and who need time with their teacher – time they cannot get if sizes are increased. And the kids – they are the true losers here.

I am truly disappointed in the fact the district is not showing they value education –  something they should value above all else.   I am disappointed that the district is listening to no one – not teachers, not parents, not students.

And I am truly disappointed that they seem to be buckling in for a strike they have complete power in avoiding.


**my own fact checking led me to 150 when it’s 180.  Just tells you how much misinformation there is.

What do you think?

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