Nothing is official, or to be found on local news, or even communicated to us from anyone with an identity behind the scenes. But all the teachers in Medford, Oregon have regained access to their district email accounts as of tonight approx 7:15pm. I'll update when something "real" happens, but this is a sign it is over! Details when details are known.
Presented minimal comment. I will explain why later.
Press Availability - Teachers' Spokesperson - Raw vid, can't hear the questions: from KOBI
Press Availability - District Superintendent - Raw vid, can't hear the questions: from KOBI will clarify the title...
From The Oregonian
From The Mail Tribune
Hello, again. This is the 13th calendar day since I last reported to work. It's the 5th day school buildings in the Medford district have been open, providing students with 'quality educational opportunities...'--or so sayeth the various spokespeople on behalf of the district when they go on record with local media. It's the 8th day of the school calendar where something other than a normal schedule has been in place for 549c's students.
The contract discussions are clouded. Side by sides published by the Association (.pdf) and District (.pdf) do not even agree on what is agreed upon and what is still in discussion, nor do they agree on what is the latest offer (e.g.: the District's report of their own compensation offer aligns with the Association's report of the District's previous offer...; there is zero mention of a difference on drug testing on the District's sheet, but it's there on the Association's).
As we roll into the Tuesday following a long weekend, there has been NO BARGAINING since last Thursday. The front page of the district website brags about the 22 hour marathon session that immediately preceded the strike... weak compared to Portland's marathon, and today's session won't start until 1:30pm. The timing of this is entirely on the District. The Association was willing and the state mediator was also available, but the District... had... something more important? to do? Reports had the School Board chairman in Las Vegas, as part of a soccer tournament his daughter was participating in. A legit prior engagement, but lousy optics. Meanwhile, the Portland schools, with a strike looming on Thursday morning, have been bargaining daily. There seems to be no urgency with Medford to get this done. Even when Portland goes out on Thursday, there is no plan to reopen PPS until the following Tuesday, so the substitute pool won't be taxed until this week concludes.
Hello, all... coming back from the All Member meeting mid-Friday, one thing I have available to discuss is a side-by-side comparison of the proposal. I'll do a detailed break down of that document tomorrow or Sunday. We are also getting more press from afar. It might just be slow news day time, but here we are in the Atlanta Journal Constitution. It's a retelling of our local paper, but hey, word is spreading...
We are getting more blog traffic, too, though still largely local: Amy Whitley gives a good treatment.
Parents are rightfully horrified—myself included—but you know what? This crisis has been a long time coming. Teacher union and district negotiations have been ongoing for a year, and other Oregon districts are approaching crisis-level disagreements as well. As I’ve commented on this week’s situation on social media, I’ve heard the same thing over and over, from parents like me all over the country: Same here, they’ve said. We have problems, too. That happened to us; wait until I tell you about our strike. So many parents have a horror story of their own to tell. While difficult and long and stressful, these past seven days ‘off’ have forced me to take a long, hard look at Oregon public education, now that the curtain has been pulled back to expose the full extent of the shambles behind it.The District bargaining team won't be back to the table until Tuesday of next week. Meanwhile the clock is ticking on AP class credits. Attendance has dropped to under 50% district wide (Thursday, the low building was at 24% and on Friday it dipped to 22%, though in fairness, it is the alternative HS that is usually at 52%). The district average for February is 88%, on Friday, attendance was at 44%.
The Trib seems to think that because we pulled together for an all member informational session in the middle of the day that we were done with picketing for a while...
Hundreds of teachers forwent picketing this morning to meet at a conference room at the Ramada Inn on Biddle Road to dissect how the most recent round of negotiations played out.The knives have come out on social media. The teachers' association public facebook page brought up several allegations of specific misconduct by subs and district supporters inside particular buildings during the week. The comment threads have ratcheted up the invective on both sides of the situation.
The negotiations didn't go well at the end, yesterday. No agreement. No continuation of bargaining until TUESDAY.
I'm headed to the line to greet my students this morning, and we have an all Member meeting slated for later today. I will update with more links when I have the chance. Meanwhile, you can follow additional news yourself from the Mail Trib link above, the facebook pages of KRDV, KOBI and KTVL (our local TV stations).
It's day 3 of students back in schools in Medford, Oregon. Overall, it's day 6 of the Medford Education Association strike against District 549c. Traffic on 'larger' social media has been fairly low. #strikemedford didn't really trend (yet) on Twitter. Facebook traffic is such that 80 "likes" seems about the upper limit on comments related to the event. Nevertheless, I'm still sitting in a side room in the Strike HQ and NOT teaching American Studies, Intro to Theater, Advanced Theater, Stagecraft, or advising senior projects. I am not providing technical consultation to the students needing sound and lighting for upcoming concerts or dances, and I am not building set for or directing Noises Off, though we have already paid for the rights and scripts and bought lumber and hardware to make the two story tall, revolving set. (As a self-serving aside, feel free to make a donation to my theater to offset the revenue loss that is looming - we've also missed the audition window for the spring musical, forcing a cancellation there. Noises will likely move into the May dates and the stage will be dark at the end of Feb. Link is in my sig).
For the latest on the event, go to the media aggregation below the Squiggle d'Orange.
Last spring, I directed a production of The Wizard of Oz at North Medford High School; you remember the moment--Toto tugging the curtain aside and revealing the fraud of the Wizard. Well, that curtain was tugged aside yesterday in the Medford School District. Attendance across the District was just shy of 70%, with a high of 87% (at a small rural elementary where all but one teacher crossed the picket line) to a low of 51% at two elementary schools with students who are reporting to buildings other than their normal site. Even with the diminished numbers, there were issues with classroom crowding and coverage, with having as many replacements as were planned for, and with addressing parent concerns about safety.
"It was a disaster," said North Medford High School senior Gerardo Rodriguez. He estimated some classes had as many as 60 students, resulting in an impromptu walkout by the seniors.
"People were sent into the common area, sent to the gym, the library," the 17-year-old said. "We were told to work on our projects, but there's not really anything to work on. Our papers were due a month and a half ago, and everyone's project is outside the school."
North Medford senior Megan Hyland agreed, saying the decrease in instructors and increase in class size made it difficult to structure the day.
"It was more we were just there hanging out," Hyland said. "There wasn't anything really for us to work on. I could have done just as much at my house."
Well, the first day has unfolded. Terming it a train wreck would be unfair to train wrecks.
Here's an overview of the coverage:
Medford, Oregon doesn't make a lot of national news. It's a rare (and usually not happy) story that comes from the largest community in Southern Oregon into national awareness. Our little labor action made that leap yesterday, as the AP pickup from one of our local TV stations made it to the Washington Post. The angle that is catching national attention is that while we are the 8th largest district in modestly sized state, Portland is 10 days away from walking, as well. They are the single largest block of students and teachers in the state.
It's not a good scene. Tomorrow, after three days of closure to prepare for reopening with replacement workers, Medford students will be expected back in the classroom. Schools have consolidated into combined campuses (my site, North Medford High School will have half days in the morning, Hedrick Middle School will use our campus each afternoon). With this consolidation, the district is hoping to cover nearly 600 striking teachers with more like 225 subs, plus administrators teaching, plus a handful of line-crossers from the regular staff. As of yesterday's training session 112 people got off the sub busses.
As this looms, the District isn't at the negotiation table again until Wednesday. The School Board has canceled 4 of the past 5 scheduled meetings to avoid public interaction. For how we got here? Follow my below the Civil Disobedience Squiggly!
So Willard decided to compare the current unemployment numbers to a sports score and equated President Obama to a failed coach worthy of firing (and we remember Mitt likes to fire people).
One of my peeves about sports analogies is their ubiquity. As a teacher, I get a lot of them from admins who used to coach. While they overuse them, they usually* use them correctly.
My other peeve is the rampant misapplication of sports analogies. And here's where Governer Romney comes in (dive past the squiggly)...
This actually started about a week ago, when Willamette Week, a left leaning print and online Oregon publication, gave Sal Esquivel (R), who represents the 6th district in Oregon's state legislature, their "Rogue of the Week" award. I noted those events in a diary ('scuze, POST) here, "In it for a Buck..."
I also tweeted a bit and posted something on my facebook wall, and that activity caught the eye of a former student of mine who graduated from high school a little over a year ago. He took it on himself to post something on Representative Esquivel's facebook wall... and that triggered a back and forth I found very amusing, detailed in a post last night, "GOP Rep treats 19 yr old constituent like crap..."
dKos comments were minimal (traffic was focused on other things of greater import), but the saga continues. Several updates were made to the second diary as the facebook wall exchange continued, and the one that caught my eye was a contribution from a new participant.
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