PORTLAND, Ore. (KPTV) – The Portland Association of Teachers (PAT) is looking to reduce in-person teaching for students.
In a bargaining meeting Monday with Portland Public Schools (PPS), the union offered high school students a four-day school. The fifth day would be at home, with the first half devoted to office hours and the second to online learning.
Elementary and middle school students would have a five-day week, but one day would either have a two-hour late start or early dismissal. The union argues that this extra time without students will give teachers more time to create future lesson plans. Steve Lancaster, president of the PAT negotiating team, also said it would give students a chance to “breathe”.
“There has to be a time for everyone to catch up and keep up with it,” Lancaster said at Monday’s meeting. “This is what we think this asynchronous day would do for our students and give at least some time in the week for teachers to be able to differentiate their instructions.
PPS deputy superintendent Shawn Bird said the district was rejecting any plans to cut face-to-face teaching. He said the students should be in class after two years of autonomy.
“We certainly agree that it has been difficult over the past couple of years and we know there are issues we need to resolve, but the district cannot support any proposal that reduces in-person instructions,” Bird said.
Rene Gonzalez founded Opening PDX Schools, a group of parents who advocate for keeping students in the classroom. He agrees with the district.
“We’re sympathetic to the teachers and what they go through and all the educators,” Gonzalez said. “We have no doubt that the schools are in a very difficult situation right now and we have to work together to understand how we are going to have a more positive future. But sending the children home is not the solution.
The union also wants to postpone teacher evaluations by one year and create more professional development days. If the district accepts the proposal as it is, these changes will begin after the winter break for that school year. But the two parties are still in the negotiation phase.