The student-run newspaper of Cleveland High School


The student-run newspaper of Cleveland High School


The student-run newspaper of Cleveland High School


The First Strike In PPS History: Why Is It Necessary?

Clarion photo Mattie Cross
Picketing: Cleveland High School teachers, Ms. Muhs, Mr. Ereckson, and Mr. Shalman holding signs on the side of Powell Boulevard next to Cleveland.

On October 31st, Portland Public Schools sent out a message announcing the cancellation of all classes to students, parents and staff. The Portland Association of Teachers or the “PAT” announced the deadline to strike after failed negotiations throughout this bargaining cycle. All 81 schools that support the Portland area are not available to provide families with child care or students with their learning needs.

The district’s latest offer would raise teacher’s salaries by 11% in the next three years, which is nowhere near the social security administration’s advised 19%, and provide additional bonuses of $3,000 for special education and new teachers. Previously, the district was offering a 7.5% raise in cost-of-living–so this is a significant change.

This is the first strike seen in Portland Public Schools, with the closest being strike negotiations in 2014, when the district settled the same night that PAT members voted in favor of authorizing the strike. Now, PPS teachers spent November 1st picketing outside of schools around Portland. At Cleveland, the demonstration was from 8:30am-10:30am.

Cleveland’s PAT representative, Mr. Bauer, told the Clarion, “We’re out here for the students. Our working conditions are your learning conditions. […] The position of the union is that the district does have funds they could divert back into the classroom, where the money should be.”

Mr. Shalman, a biology teacher, explained, “ We’re fighting for schools that have temperature-controlled classrooms. We’re fighting for buildings that are clean. We’re fighting for safety in the buildings and in classrooms. We’re fighting for limits to class sizes.”

Ms. Goldbloom, an ELD support teacher (and the yoga instructor), sees the strike as an opportunity to emphasize equity within PPS, not just equality in classroom welfare, “I’m striking today for students, because I care about teaching. I care about learning. I care about having classrooms that are safe, that are well supported, and that are comfortable learning environments. I’m in solidarity for equity in our school system.”

Shalman continued, “We’re fighting for cost of living adjustments. Teachers supporting their families on a single income can’t afford to buy a house, some teachers can’t afford to support their families. This is the second most expensive city to live in as a teacher, right after San Francisco. Teachers are highly educated, most of us have master’s degrees, some of us have two master’s degrees, and we should be fairly compensated. Other professionals, who have the level of education that we have, make twice as much as we make.”

Ms. Incorvia, an English teacher, is here to demonstrate for the extended community, but additionally, “I also have two kids in the school district. One goes to Cleveland and one will go, and I feel like I’m standing on the picket line more for them than for myself. I want my kids to go to schools that don’t have mice, that are in a reasonable temperature range, where their teachers get treated with respect and pay the way they should be.”

Many students gathered in support, including, senior Selena Schilling–who sacrificed their 18th birthday to come and support Cleveland community members, “I really love our school and I was sort of hoping to come in today.”

Sophomore, Pearl Dixon Veal, explained, “I’m striking today because the district is completely unfair and has refused to give the teachers a fair contract. They’re having to use their own, unpaid, time in order to support their students, they’re fighting for students’ mental health, and they’re fighting for their own fair wages so that they can continue this work. I’m striking today because I stand with the teachers. I think that the district doesn’t value the teachers as much as they should. I don’t think they recognize just how much the teachers do for the students and the community.”

Portland Public Schools has already announced the closure of schools for November 2nd, and students worry about how long schools will stay closed. As schools close throughout this indefinite period, students and families in some schools are still able to access meals and healthcare, college coordinators are available to seniors, and young students will likely be able to access tutoring next week.

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About the Contributors
Henry Callahan, Online Editor
Hello! My name is Henry Callahan and this is my 4th year on the Clarion. I spent my first 3 years writing for the News team and now I am the Online Editor. I enjoy fishing and playing tennis in my spare time!
Lily Lockwood-Keil, News and Commentary Editor
Hi! I'm a junior and I'm really excited to edit during my second year with the Clarion (which is also my second year at Cleveland overall). I most enjoy writing about school-wide administrative changes, city-wide political news, and student opinions. During my free time, I like to make zines, write fiction, travel, and explore with my friends!

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