Portland teachers feel classroom environment is unsafe, according to union survey
About 34 percent of Portland teachers who took a recent survey feel their school environment is unsafe, according to the Portland Association of Teachers union.
The union presented key survey results to the school board at its Tuesday night meeting. About 1,000 of the union's members responded to the survey, which was distributed online this spring.
Suzanne Cohen, union vice-president, said the survey was in light of an increase in reports of teacher injuries and organized by a union committee.
The survey's main conclusions were that the district was not effectively implementing new discipline practices and failing to provide adequate special education services, Cohen said.
Superintendent Carole Smith has named reducing exclusionary discipline, or the number of suspensions and expulsions, as one of the district's key priorities. The goal is reduce overall exclusionary discipline by 50 percent and disproportionate discipline by 50 percent by June 2016.
A presentation to the board Aug. 25 showed that the percentage of students who were excluded from school has dropped from 7.2 percent in 2008 to 2009 to 2.4 percent last year. Disproportionately has also decreased. Racially historically underserved students were about 2.9 times more likely to be excluded than white students in 2012-2013 and 2.6 times more likely last year.
The district is implementing positive behavior supports, culturally responsive teaching and restorative justice programs to reduce rates. The district focused on 12 schools last year, which saw the percentage of students excluded at least once drop from 9 percent to 4 percent over a two year span.
However about half of teachers said they didn't feel the district clearly communicated Portland teachers feel classroom environment is unsafe, according to union survey | OregonLive.com: