Portland Business Alliance gives Portland schools & teachers union an “F”

by NW Spotlight

The Portland Business Alliance, a longtime ally of Portland Public Schools, sent a letter this week to the Portland Public Schools Board and to the Portland Association of Teachers. The letter chastised them for failing to “effectively manage teachers and other personnel to ensure the best outcomes for students and prudently manage its budget,” and for the unconscionable failure that led to Portland walking away from a $40 million federal Race to the Top grant. A failure caused by a disagreement between the school district and the union’s “obstructionist behavior”, a failure that “comes at an ultimate cost to students.”

The letter, printed in the Oregonian, describes the support the Portland Business Alliance has given to the Portland schools “For years, the business community has repeatedly been asked to come to the table to provide resources for schools. Not only have we supported campaigns for local levies and bonds, including the Multnomah County i-tax, operating levies and this year’s capital bond, we also worked at the state level to provide more resources for schools.”

The letter concludes that they doubt the current leaders of the district and the teachers union can resolve their differences, and states the intent of the Portland Business Alliance to “ask Dr. Rudy Crew, the state of Oregon’s chief educational leader, to step in.”

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Posted by at 05:00 | Posted in Portland Schools | 25 Comments |Email This Post Email This Post |Print This Post Print This Post
  • Bob Clark

    Portland Public schools is become a bit of a black hole where public monies are increasingly wasted. We are constantly told by our various local governments the School district is a victim of budget shortfalls, yet if you look at actual PPS expenditures they’ve been increasing about 4% per year over the past ten years and yet student population has been pretty flat over this period (student population fell in the middle 00s and only lately is rebounding). The last labor contract boosted benefits from 50% of base salary up to 55%, besides including COLAs and step increases. So, PPS is hamstrung by a dominate union with increased compensation its goal and a City demanding any school construction be of only the highest standards (pretty much gold plated).

    I would advocate some of the schools be allowed to be specialized charter schools with much more autonomy (especially the ability to hire individual teachers outside a union). I think of Benson High School as a prime candidate for deregulating from PPS school administration. Here is a school whose enrollment is capped by the District, and yet it has great vocational and technical educational potential. Equity is not the answer, because it only means all are equally poor (as what works is treated as equal to that which isn’t working).

  • bartles

    Portland Schools and Teachers’ Unions would TWINKIE the whole operation before they would compromise..

  • Done Waiting for Superman

    Thank you Ptld Biz Alliance for speaking truth to power, but where was this evaluation before November 6th when the voters could have elected leadership to do something about this? Even better, how about releasing this closer to Labor Day so every could debate what this means and candidates could answer questions about it?

  • Rupert in Springfield

    Personally I would give Portland Schools an “A”. They do an astonishingly good job, and like many school systems in Oregon they do better every year.

    What has been lost here is perspective. Our public school system is first and foremost a jobs program. It exists, indeed Oregon government generally has funding of PERS as its primary funding consideration, to come before all others. If a teacher is doing a bad job what happens? Is the teacher fired or do the kids just get screwed over for the year? That’s right, you got it, the kids get screwed over. And that’s appropriate when the primary consideration is the job, not the product: education. Jobs are protected and prioritized first. If education occurs sure that’s fine, but it has zero bearing on the maintenance of those jobs, how much one gets paid, and the cush retirement.

    In that regard our public schools are doing an incredible job. Teachers and administrators are making quite a bit more per day worked than they were even just a few years ago.

    What’s more, teachers work less days out of the year than ever. Ok, ok, if your boss came to you and said you were going to get paid more and work the same that would be pretty good right. OK, but what if the boss said you were going to get paid the same but work less? That’s not too shabby either is it?

    Well, that’s what we got. Teachers in Oregon now make a pretty tidy sum compared to the average Oregonian. Add on top of that mega time off and this is probably the best jobs program Oregon has going.

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