As a parent of two school age children, I’m concerned about the recent proposal put forward by the Portland teachers union which would reduce in-person instruction time for our kids. We should be talking about ways to expand in-person learning opportunities for students to address the immediate learning gaps that emerged during the last two academic years, not eliminating roughly 20 days of in-person instruction for high school students and 10 for elementary and middle school.
Teachers are struggling, and we are asking them to do too much. We need to help teachers, but this proposal shifts the burden back to parents and kids, who already know that virtual learning doesn’t work. Balancing work and parenting when kids are at home during the school day is nearly impossible. And what are parents who cannot work virtually supposed to do, pay for childcare?
It is time for the Legislature and the State to step up and make clear that our kids are a priority and deserve the best education we can provide, and that teachers deserve the support and resources they need to deliver that great education. We have to acknowledge that our current situation is not working and that cutting in-person instruction for kids is a non-starter.
We cannot continue to fail our kids or our teachers. We must and we can do better.
School districts across Oregon face a shortage of substitute teachers, and have responded by making it easier for qualified professionals to sign up to help. And districts are looking for adult volunteers who can help provide classroom support and another set of hands to assist learning. I’m signing up today with my school district, Beaverton, and will look for opportunities to volunteer and support their teachers. I urge you all to do so as well.