Will parents blow off the make-up days?

It's been a pretty slow news week here in Portland. We're still digesting all that turkey, I suppose. The last of the turkey soup here at Blog Central didn't get consumed until yesterday.

The big news in town is the settlement of the public school teachers' strike, and now the dithering about how they're going to make up the two-weeks-plus of classroom days that the students missed. You gotta feel bad for the kids. First Covid, now this. It's a miracle they learn anything.

The school board suits say they're going to claw back five days by cutting winter beak down from two weeks to one, which is a real drag. A lot of families have made expensive travel plans for the vacation week that's now going to be eliminated. You wonder whether the parents are going to bite the bullet, cancel the trips, and send the kids to school, or whether they're going on the trips anyway, missed school be damned.

And if they do stay home, you have to wonder whether that particular week in school is going to seem worth it. When you get much past the 15th, a lot of kids are going to be too distracted by the holidays to get much work done. If the week turns out to be a joke, you can just hear people saying, "I gave up Disneyland for this?"

Come to think of it, I doubt that anybody has gotten too much accomplished this week. For the entire months of November and December, there may wind up being only about two to two-and-a-half weeks of decent instruction. The turf on the Grant High football field isn't the only thing that's failed.

I wonder, too, about this week's attendance. Allthough school abruptly restarted on Monday, you have to wonder how many kids actually showed up ready to learn that day. They were given little to no advance notice of when classes were supposed to resume. You would think that the reporters breathlessly covering the strike story would ask about attendance figures for the week.

Oh, well. I haven't followed the issues that caused the strike much, and I don't know whether the union or the school board came out the winner of the struggle. But the kids lost, there's no denying that.


  1. The teachers deserve a better voice than the union that collected the dues

  2. Nobody here in East Clark County complained when makeup days halved Winter Break but then again we have better test scores, higher graduation rates and actual teaching.

  3. Our experience:
    1. The mental health challenges we experienced with my then 8 and 10 year-old reemerged during this period of instability. In my now-12 year-olds words, “we’re being re-traumatized.” Even though they’ve wanted to go back this transition week has been really difficult and emotional.
    2. My 5th grader was in 1st grade when he was sent home for Covid. He can’t form letters. He doesn’t know how to write and we’re paying for expensive tutors to try to help him master 3rd grade math and maybe someday catch up to grade level. He has fine motor delays we’ve tried desperately to catch up from and ADHD and other mental health challenges. This disruption concerns me.
    3. Lots of people will choose to take their vacations and I think classes will be small. I knew a strike was coming and we can’t afford to miss instruction so I didn’t make plans for Dec or June. Now I’m hearing we’ll be understaffed for those days and there may not be much instruction. My 7th grader’s teacher showed movies for the two days before the strike. It’s maddening.
    3. There are rumblings of non-PAT staff negotiations throwing more of a wrench in things. 😭😭😭

  4. You were totally silent on all of this which is surprising. Why is that? It was certainly the largest news item for the past month.

    1. I don't think totally silent is the right description. The event got a more balanced take on this blog than reddit or Portland Dissident. Not a lot of reason to provide commentary when we could see how it would all play out from the get go: hollow rhetoric about how bad education is (about how all these improvements ought to be made), and yet the teachers would completely cave on all their demands if merely given a pay increase.

  5. They wrote in the contract that if you are Black or Latino you can be disruptive and get away with it, cause you know EQUITY baby!

  6. The attendance question for this week is very predictable. Of course news wouldn't pick it up, did any one ask questions after COVID? Did any of the politicos or journalists press the school administrators for up-to-date rosters and plans of action? Of course not. I'm pretty sure the NAYA school even have students on campus most days? If the feds didn't require these numbers I think no one from the political establishment would be asking for them.


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