Saturday, April 28, 2012

Take Back Our Public Schools: Get UPSET and a Day of Action!

When this picture was taken, my children still had PE, music, and library teachers at their neighborhood school.  They still had small and manageable class sizes.  We dreamed of Outdoor school in a few years and learning Orchestra in 4th grade.  We went to our neighborhood school because it was of quality, and we felt connected to our community.

Teachers and our district had a collaborative working relationship when it came to the contract.  That was three years ago.  Since then, we have seen this dissolve.  The only thing left we can count on now is the teachers in the classroom. PE, music and library teachers cut. Orchestra in elementary school cut. Outdoor School cut to 2 days and only if parents can fundraise the money and the board graciously agrees to match funding. Class sizes ballooning. Parents moving their children to charter or private schools. Increased demands on expectations with cuts to funding. Teacher and district negotiations annually in strife.

I want the old days back.

We thought we were weathering a brief storm when the cuts came, but it is clear that this goes beyond an economic downturn.

Current headlines show that this state is losing its ways with regards to taking care of our public schools.

Over 100 teachers to be cut in Portland Public Schools.
Over 330 teachers to be cut in Beaverton Public Schools.
Parkrose teachers narrowly avert a strike.
Gresham-Barlow teachers go on strike.
Reynolds School District and their teachers are headed for strike as mediation continues to stagnate.
Eagle Point Education Association from Jackson County are headed for strike as well.
Coos Bay Education Association teachers are also in mediation.
Programs are cut throughout the state: music, PE, library, Outdoor School, sports, languages, journalism, drama, etc...
Day have been cut.
Schools have been closed.

When will it end and what does all this have in common?  A lack of stable and quality funding for public schools in our state.  A lack of leadership to fund our education system.

Our state refuses to step up to its constitutional duty to provide our children with a quality and funded public education.

This will continue to spiral downward until we as parents, teachers, business leaders, and community members stand up and demand revenue reform from our legislators.  

What can you do?

Attend the UPSET event on May 11th to protest cuts to our public schools.

Also join Oregon Save Our Schools and others for a day of ACTION on May 31st!  

On this day pledge to take ACTION and demand revenue reform from our state.  DEMAND that they fund public education to give each and every student a well-rounded education.

Here's the plan for May 31st:

We commit on this day to unite from all across Oregon to take action to demand Revenue Reform NOW to invest in Oregon. We are Oregonians united for all of Oregon. Our schools and services can no longer bear the brunt of disinvestment. On this day, you commit to taking action in your community in one or more ways, best summed up as: RALLY. WRITE. RESOLVE. REPEAT

RALLY in a visible location so your community and elected officials will know you care about this issue! Rally your friends and family to join you and share your photos and videos from this event and your personal stories. 

WRITE your legislators, the Governor, and letters to the editors. Tell them how these cuts are personally affecting you. Hold writing parties and gather friends to do the same. 

RESOLVE to sign up for your legislators' newsletters and show up to as many of their town hall/coffees as you can! They need to see and hear from you on this issue! Resolve to sign Initiative Petition 35 to reform the corporate kicker and send the revenue to K-12. Resolve to sign the National Resolution on High-Stakes Testing to move away from the standardized testing craze that takes precious learning time and scarce resources from school classrooms. 

REPEAT until revenue reform is achieved and we fully fund our public schools and services, creating the Oregon we want now and for our future.

It is going to take all of us to work together to demand better from those who serve us.  


Our kids deserve better!  

Tell your friends and join us for action!

Oregon Save Our Schools

The school is the last expenditure upon which America should be willing to economize.

Franklin D. Roosevelt