Educators want to remain in classrooms—teaching students—and they’ll go at great lengths to do so. In recent years, they have been shown to work with expired contract or work without pay to ensure students don’t miss an academic beat. At times, however, educators are pushed to take a hardline against practices that weaken the quality of their students’ educational experience, as well as their profession. And that is what’s happening in Medford, Ore., where educators have gone on strike.
A few hours north of Medford, in Portland, educators are also standing up for their students and profession. For the past ten months, they have been negotiating a contract that would result in smaller class sizes; give teachers the flexibility to teach creatively, not to the test; support students and schools who need it most; and provide fair compensation.
The National Education Association is committed to supporting educators who know what is best for their students, school, and community. Below are letters of support from NEA President Dennis Van Roekel.
Gwen Sullivan, President
Portland Association of Teachers
345 NE 8th
Portland, Oregon 97232
On behalf of your 3 million colleagues, I want to salute you for standing strong in your efforts to secure a fair and equitable contract. You are on the frontlines – giving students the tools they need to succeed in school and in life. I applaud you for “fighting for the schools Portland students deserve” by taking a firm stand to reduce overcrowded classes, provide students with adequate support and resources, and ensure that every member receives professional pay for the important work that you do for children and public education.
Portland teachers encourage, inspire, and serve the community’s children every day. You deserve a level of compensation and a voice in professional issues that recognizes your valuable contributions.
You’re fighting for your schools and your students—your commitment to create great public schools for every student in Portland motivates you to stand tall and make your voices heard until you get a fair and equitable contract.
NEA is behind you! The outpouring of public support you’ve received is inspiring and shows a deep appreciation by the community for its teachers. Thank you for what you do and for standing up for what you know is right.
Cheryl Lashley, President
Medford Education Association
On behalf of your 3 million colleagues, I want to salute you for standing strong in your efforts to secure a fair and equitable contract. You are on the frontlines—giving students the tools they need to succeed in school and in life.
I know that our members never make a decision to strike lightly, but sometimes when negotiations fail to produce a contract we are left with no alternative. We all regret any inconvenience to students, but we know that you are fighting for measures that will benefit students in the long run.
Please convey to your members that they have the full support of their National Education Association. NEA is behind you! Stay strong and united—and continue to stand together for professional pay, decent health care, and the greater professional respect that you so rightfully deserve!
Dennis Van Roekel