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Oregon Teachers’ Walkout Shuts 600 Schools for a Day

May 13, 2019

By Steve Wishnia and Neal Tepel

PORTLAND, Ore.—A one-day walkout by thousands of teachers May 8 closed 600 schools, including those in Portland. They took unpaid days off to go to rallies around the state to demand smaller class sizes; restoring music, art, and gym classes; and hiring more counselors, librarians, and school nurses. “Nearly 45% of all reported classes in Oregon have 26 students or more,” Oregon Education Association President John Larson, a high school English teacher, told CNN, and some have more than 55 students. According to the OEA, Oregon schools have less than one librarian per district and average one nurse for every 5,500 students, and 94% of teachers spend their own money on classroom supplies “to make up the difference between what their students need and what districts can provide.” The union wants the state legislature to pass a bill called the Student Success Act, which would increase funding for K-12 education by 18%. “It adds $1 billion a year for schools in Oregon, with districts able to figure out where they need the money,” said state Sen. Rob Wagner (D-Lake Oswego), chair of the Senate Education Committee. Gov. Kate Brown’s office told CNN she’d sign it if it passed. Read more

May 13, 2019

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