These Teachers Are Walking Out, But Not for Higher Pay
By Holly Yan
It's national Teacher Appreciation Week, but you wouldn't know that by talking to teachers in Oregon.
Tens of thousands of frustrated teachers will air their grievances at protests across the state Wednesday. But unlike with other teacher walkouts, these educators aren't fighting for higher raises.
They're fed up with overcrowded classrooms and a lack of support staff, including school nurses and mental health counselors.
"Nearly 45% of all reported classes in Oregon have 26 students or more," said John Larson, a high school English teacher and president of the Oregon Education Association.
Some classes have 56 or more students, he said.
So instead of going to class, many teachers will take unpaid days off work to flood at least six protest sites across the state.
The mass exodus of teachers has already forced 25 school districts to close 600 schools Wednesday, Larson said.
The biggest district to close, Portland Public Schools, has more than 46,000 students.