Three-Week Teachers Strike Comes To An End In Oregon

About 45,000 students will be headed back to class in Oregon after staying home for over three weeks because of a teachers’ strike.

Since Nov. 1, 2023, teachers in The Beaver State have been protesting salaries, class sizes, and the amount of time they had to prepare for a given class, according to One America News (OAN).

As a result of the month-long strike, students at Portland Public Schools (PPS), Oregon’s largest district, were unable to receive an education during that time frame. Nonetheless, a tentative agreement was struck between the school district and Oregon’s teachers union to pave the way for education to continue in The Beaver State.

“We are relieved to have our students returning to school and know that being out of school for the last three weeks — missing classmates, teachers, and learning — has been hard for everyone,” Superintendent Guadalupe Guerrero said.

The teachers union celebrated its deal with the school district, claiming it would benefit teachers in areas of pay, health, and safety while providing better resources for students, whose mental health was gravely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Students will make up for the days they lost from school by adding new days to the school year and removing one week from winter break, per OAN.

“This contract is a watershed moment for Portland students, families, and educators,” Portland Teachers Association President Angela Bonilla said in a statement. “Educators have secured improvements on all our key issues… Educators walked picket lines alongside families, students, and allies, and because of that, our schools are getting the added investment they need.”

PPS reported that the agreement would raise teachers’ cumulative cost of living by 13.8% in the next three years while providing educators with nearly an 11% annual step increase, according to the Associated Press (AP).

Starting in the 2024-2025 school year, the agreement would increase the amount of class time for students in elementary and middle schools and would raise teachers’ planning time by 90 minutes in such schools.

The recent teachers’ strike by the Portland Association of Teachers marked the first in the school district. For months, the teachers’ union bumped heads with the district for a new contract after the expiration of its previous one in June 2023.