Dear Portland Public Schools Board of Education,
I am a former math teacher and high school principal. Now I teach teachers and school counselors. I want to be able to demonstrate to my students how the Portland Public School Board resisted the Common-Core-organization that seeks to break public education and teachers’ unions. Please support teachers in every way possible. Protect them. A broken school district makes youth vulnerable to predatory online education, like K12 online and privatized, chartered schools. K12 was started by junk-bond felon Michael Milken, where teachers now teach classes of up to 300. K12’s stock is up, but its dropout rate is staggering.
The Common Core reform is a set up to take the power of education out of local control and put it in the hands of corporations via broad changes state power (OIEB in Oregon) that undermine our profession of teaching. Horace Mann envisioned schools where young people developed relationships with each other across differences, across class, race, ability, in a way to create a society of skilled people that enjoy each other and work well together.
The Common Core reform is undermining your power to do that. Cuts to education have made this next to impossible and made schools vulnerable to a corporate takeover. You are in a set up. You are making decisions that impact so many children. Every child deserves an education just as good or better than the one you received. Let the public know that the organization of funding cuts orchestrated by corporate executives via Governor Kitzhaber and OEIB is damaging public education. Be a leader for schooling where you learn to work together to solve the problems our city faces.
Please accept the Portland Association of Teachers’ proposals. Please let me know that you will not impose these sanctions on teachers, nor undermine the union’s steps to protect skilled teachers. All of which is what is happening to teachers in Chicago, New York and Philadelphia.
Michelle Maher, Ph.D.