Target: Portland Public Schools Board of Education
Goal: Reinstate language limiting class size into final contract between Portland Association of Teachers and Portland Public Schools
All over the United States, cuts to education are resulting in second-rate schooling for our nation’s children. Thankfully, the city of Portland, Oregon is fighting against this degenerative trend. The city’s teachers’ union is fighting for the opportunity to better educate its students by ending excessive use of standardized testing, allowing teachers more preparatory time, and mandating smaller class sizes. Support these improvements to public education, and provide a better future for our country and its children.
So far, the Portland Association of Teachers (PAT) and the Portland Public Schools (PPS) have been in contract negotiations without much agreement. So rather than negotiate about the issue, PPS’ Board of Education has attempted to remove smaller class sizes from the table by striking language limiting class size from the final contract. In response to this move, students staged a walkout to show their support for the teachers.
Teachers and students are not just upset because small class sizes are crucial for all students’ to get a quality education with individual attention, they are worried that class sizes will get larger.
A report in The Oregonian showed that Oregon teachers have 35 percent more students than the national average. In addition, the experience of the nearby Beaverton School District suggests that striking the class size-limiting language from the contract will result in ballooning class sizes without the opportunity to renegotiate the contract. Although the classes at Wilson High School in Portland are currently “around 25 students”, Beaverton’s classes have between 35 and 55 students with many teachers having more than 50.
It is easy to forget how hard a teacher’s job is, but, with larger class sizes, teachers have even less time to plan new lessons, find new learning strategies for their students, and give students’ individual attention.
Sign the following petition to tell PPS Board of Education that class sizes are important to quality education and Portland students deserve a quality education.
Dear Portland Public Schools Board of Education,
As you know, education is the key to a successful future for our nation and our world. But it is very challenging for teachers to provide the individual attention which is essential to a quality education when classes are too large. Oregon teachers already face class sizes that are 35 percent higher than the national average so PPS should endeavor to limit class size.
Therefore, as the Board of Education, who collectively has a duty to ensure quality education, it was irresponsible for you to throw small class sizes out of contract negotiations with the Portland Association of Teachers. I urge you to renew negotiations with PAT and to replace the language limiting class sizes in the contract.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Brad Perkins via Flickr