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Portland Schools On Strike

Teachers Cite Students’ Mental Health and Academic Needs
Portland Schools On Strike
LaTerrian Mclntosh

In Portland, Oregon, teachers are taking a stand and getting national attention by going on strike and
interrupting the education of tens of thousands of students in the state’s largest school district. The
echoes of this labor dispute resonate beyond local boundaries, prompting a broader reflection on the
challenges faced by educators and the impact on education systems nationally.

About 3,700 teachers and other counselors and employees are in the Portland Association of Teachers. Teachers are doing this strike for higher wages, a cap on class sizes, and more time for lesson
planning. The reason for this is that students’ mental and academic needs have gone up since the
pandemic.

The union’s president, Angela Bonilla, said, “We are on strike not just for ourselves, but for our students.” Bonilla described crowded classrooms that needed more space for children’s desks. She also said that teachers work up to 20 hours a week unpaid to keep up with their workloads. Bonilla explained
that schools are extremely overwhelmed by students’ mental health challenges.

The average salary for a Portland teacher is $87,000. That is almost above the median income for a single person and almost below the median for a family of four, according to Portland Public Schools.
Those involved have yet to determine exactly how long the strike will last but say it will continue until they come to an agreement. Strikes that have taken place in other districts have lasted from a few days to a few weeks.

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