Portland Teachers Rise Up Striking for the Schools We All Deserve

This isn’t just any demonstration. This is 4,500 teachers from Oregon’s largest school district, under the banner of the Portland Association of Teachers (PAT), laying down the gauntlet. Their ask? Simple: Fair investments in the future of our nation – our students.

“Making history in Portland!” were the battle cries from Angela Bonilla, PAT’s president, during a powerful rally that reverberated through North Portland’s streets. The message? Portland communities deserve nothing less than exceptional public schools.

The situation heated up so intensely that all 81 public schools had to shut their doors. Imagine the ripples of chaos that spread out from that—parents frantically searching for daycare options, and even basics like food for their kids who usually rely on school meals.

But beyond the immediate disruptions, let’s talk about what these educators are demanding. They’re advocating for more counselors, extra planning time, support for special education students, and, of course, better salaries to reflect their tireless dedication. This isn’t about teachers wanting a bigger paycheck—it’s about valuing their worth.

How serious is the situation? Some teachers work up to 20 unpaid hours weekly, class sizes are bursting at the seams, and mental health resources for students are dwindling. Brittany Doris, a local teacher, even shared her struggles of dealing with overcrowded classrooms and the dilemma of barely being able to afford rent, despite having advanced degrees.

This isn’t an isolated Portland problem. Becky Pringle, president of the National Education Association, jetted in from Philly to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with these educators. As Pringle aptly puts it, while teaching might not be a path to riches, educators should at least expect a living wage to provide for their families.

The cherry on top? Survey says… the public’s got their back! A whopping majority of Oregonians support these teachers in their strike for better education conditions.

Even on Capitol Hill, there’s a rallying cry. Oregon’s senators, both from Team Blue, came out swinging in support of the teachers while also urging both sides to find common ground for the sake of our next generation.

So, while the politicians and union reps try to hash out their differences, let’s ensure we amplify the voices of these educators. Because every student, in Portland and across the nation, deserves an educational environment where they can truly flourish. Let’s stand with our teachers!