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Community Organizes Occupy Movement

TEACHERS UNIONMEDFORD, Ore. — Parents, students, and community members in Medford are gathering on the steps of the school district office for a new strike demonstration being called an Occupy movement.

At 7 a.m. on Friday, the group started walking up the stairs trying to move into the building. The doors were locked, so the organizers took their places on the steps in front of the doors.

Some of the demonstrators traveled from Corvallis to support their former high schools. They say part of the Occupy message is to deliberately be in a restricted public space.

“An occupy protest is showing that people are willing to stay and hold down until they’re recognized and I think that because the school board has been ignoring phone calls and e-mails, that it’s extremely important to show that we demand to be recognized as a community,” said Nick Groves, a South Medford High School Alumnus.

The group plans to stay in front of the district until the two sides reach a settlement.

24 comments

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  1. Brooke says:

    If it’s not about money then perhaps the teachers ought to,get back to work!!

    It’s suppose to be about the kids, not the teachers bottom line.These teachers are making w benefits n bonus’s on the average of 100k a yr here in the valley. But they want more benefits and money. It’s an absolute joke that this is about lesson planning time! What a rues! All the while our kids are graduating w out a basic education. They have a diploma but still can’t do eighth grade algebra or spell for the most part. The school system in the USA is broken. Sadly the USA is amongst the dumbest in the world..the most powerful country in the world has some of the dumbest people. What’s wrong w this scenario?
    Get rid of tenure and hold teachers accountable for their failing students. In any other profession you get fired for failing at your job, not more money and benefits.
    Why are we not protesting the teachers for NOT doing their jobs?!?! Parents! Fight for your kids to get an education worthy of 100 k a yr! Demand it! It’s your tax money paying them!

    1. cc says:

      You are probably the most ignorant and uninformed person. Such a representation of who is out there moaning…but doing nothing to help the situation. You think teachers are the issue? Seriously? Get a clue.
      How are teachers different than a fireman who can’t put a fire out or a police officer that can’t get a criminal? You think teachers can reach EVERY KID? They are just easy targets for people because from the outside it might appear like they’ve got it easy. Go teach a room full of kids day in and day and see if your narrow opinion will change. BTW, 100K is NOT what they are bring home…you are confusing this with the administrations that get raises on a yearly basis. The USA takes all kids, even kids who don’t belong in a mainstream classroom, and take a ton of time away from the kids who should be in there because we have a society who believes everyone is equal.
      What’s your education level?

    2. Real Talk Homie says:

      It’s fairly obvious that you have little to no idea what you’re talking about.

    3. Mary says:

      The children in Medford will never get a decent education when teachers are more interested in the almighty dollar. The Ashland school district has open enrollment for all students regardless of where you live starting in March. Looks like my kids are going to be Grizzlies!

  2. Mom says:

    These people are out of line and taking thisout of hand!!! Push the teachers to settle this. They are the ones that are proving they aren’t able to negotiate fairly. MPD if these clowns are occuping restricted public space…arrest them!!!!

  3. Randi Mims says:

    I pay property tax for the school in Medford and Eagle Point. I don’t think I am getting any value for the high taxes. A 67 percent graduation rate at 549C is a failing grade; or at least a D-. What say do we, the people who help support the schools, have in this mess. The teachers are after money. They already get enough. PERS is bankrupting our state. Let’s start over. I support the school board!

    1. debra smith says:

      what do you mean a d or d- ? no such thing anything 69 and below is an F that’s how our kids are graded so be it for the system too.

  4. Earl says:

    Brooke, you’re swallowing the district lies.

    A starting teacher makes less than 40k per year. If you want to see what teachers really make in Medford, try this link:
    http://www.teachersalaryinfo.com/oregon/teacher-salary-in-medford-school-district-549c/

    Then compare that info to the lies the school district has been spreading.

    Also, tenure is a myth. There is no such thing as tenure for any teacher in the Medford school district.

    Why don’t we talk about holding administrators responsible for the sad state of American education? While the teachers in 549c have been taking cuts and accepting promises for years, the administrators have been getting nice, comfy raises all along. Phil Long is making over $200,000 this year as a double dipper.

    Why do we keep giving the corporate owners, administrators etc. in this country a pass as they continue to hog more and more of the wealth and turn the middle class against each other? That’s exactly what’s going on with this strike. If more of us followed the teachers’ lead and said “No More!” this would be a better country.

    1. rylo says:

      I don’t think anybody really supports either side. I am sure the administrators pad their pockets just like all elected government officials. That is the real problem. People in general need to stand up to the abuse by government at all levels. However, they signed up for a job to teach, and that is what they need to do. If I protested outside my place of employment, I would be fired. If you don’t like the way things are at your place of employment, quit and look elsewhere. Over the last 10+ years I have taken several pay cuts in wages and benefits. I quit one job because of it. Now I have another job which I have received no raise for this year, and they have also cut the 401k match the last 2 years. Everyone, not just teachers has to deal with this stuff. I expect teachers, or anyone who spends the time to get a degree to make a good wage, but sometimes the money is not there. Telling others that they are ignorant, only makes you ignorant. Everyone has an opinion, some are just better than others. I have a friend who has a masters degree, and was not making the kind of money he expected, so he went back to school to become a translator. He had to go overseas for some of his education. He is now making good money. Just because you have a degree, does not mean it’s all peaches and cream. People need to come together to create solutions, not call out people or call names because they don’t agree.

      1. dilligafftu1 says:

        Many of you seem to be disregarding the fact that these teachers were PROMISED different things when finances improved. So, finances improved, administrators TOOK their hefty raises and are now going back on their empty promises. It isn’t all about greed. It’s what is RIGHT!

        1. rylo says:

          Who decides what is right? You? Promises, Promises. You ever broken one, or broke one yourself? Beleiving that any goverment agency will fulfill their promise is foolish.

  5. E.Q. says:

    Earl, beautifully stated. Thank you for bringing clarity to the situation. We need to address the corporate owners and administrators for epic failures in our school systems. Blaming teachers is comparable to blaming the waitress when your food is not properly cooked. As always, when you follow the money you’ll discover just who is at fault for causing major problems.

    Brooke & Mom, please educate yourselves before stating such regurgitated, nonsensical propaganda. Your ignorance is what is holding you back from being able to ascertain the true situation.

    1. Mom says:

      Unfortunatly Earl did not state anything but garbage! “A starting teacher makes less than 40k per year”. Come on people we all know that your gross isn’t your bottom line dollar. Take in to account the monies paid on your behalf for other benefits. I have to account for what my employeer pays toward my health insurance premium and my 401(k). Because this has to be budgeted in our corporate expense year after year. I have a family and therefore I am awarded more, so my single co-worker gets less….but they knew this when accepting the job offer. As did all these teachers!

      1. Earl says:

        Mom, I work in HR in the private sector. You are correct that the true cost of an employee includes pay plus the cost to the company of the employee’s benefits. But, in an effort to stir up resentment toward our teachers, the district has been telling the public that a “typical” teacher’s salary is $69k per year, when the actual numbers show that the typical teacher’s salary is about $48k per year. So I’m just using the same terms as the district. If the district actually had any interest in telling the truth they would be saying that the typical cost of a teacher’s salary plus benefits is $69k per year. Don’t forget that included in the “benefits” calcuation (as it should be) is Social Security which every employer has to pay, public and private.

        My calculation is that the true cost of the district superintendent this year is approaching $300k (salary plus benefits plus PERS payout), which would buy us five new teachers. As for the starting teacher’s salary, do your homework before resorting to name calling. In Medford it’s $34,000. With benefits that goes up to about $44,000. The median family income in our county is about $44,000. I fail to see how those numbers show teachers to be the rich, greedy types the district and school board are painting them as

  6. Chad says:

    These “community” and “parent” events are mainly attended by other unions members, their families, MEA families and union indoctrinated children who attend High School.

    “Support” from REAL Medford citizens dwindles as each day passes. As should the compensation package offered by the district. Offer less each day Or fire them all.

  7. Tinkerton Farmwell says:

    Here is what I find interesting. Seems like there are a lot of residents who seem to take responsibility for singlehandedly paying teachers salaries by their property taxes. News flash !! Teachers pay property taxes too, probably 80-90 percent own homes if they plan on staying in Jackson County. They also pay social security tax as well. When our city building department raised home building permits 20% no one really noticed. Fire and police employees get a cost of living raise every year, not news worthy. Sheriffs with a bit of overtime make around $75,000 a year plus benefits, good for them. I would not do that job for double that. Heck, taco bell just raised the price of a bean burrito 30 cents and hardly anyone cared. However, if a teacher asks for a meager 1.9 % raise for a cost of living expense we accuse them of being greedy, bankrupting the district, only work 9 months of the year for exorbitant wages, they should be grateful for a public hand out. Lets give teachers some credit. Do you HONESTLY think they wanted to go on strike? When 97 % stood up to protect the classroom environment and 120 other items the board decided to take away and not ONE crossed the line that speaks volumes for their dedication to the students. Congratulations on a average 80% graduation rate between North and South High Schools. Meybe the district can answer these questions. Why did the board fail for 9 months to negotiate on the issues? This 2 year bargaining process has been occurring for a century or so. and always been resolved. Why was the board so focused on letting the strike happen on their watch? Could not be money, there is $14,000.000-$15,000.000 funds available. Was it early retirement? The newly hired teachers forfeited early retirement benefits years ago. Im not into conspiracy theories but there appears to be underlying motive or motives for the board allowing the strike to occur during their term.

    1. rylo says:

      Trust me, people care. People are fed up with all of it. They continue to tax people to death. Citizens didn’t want to pay new taxes for a new police station, so instead they will just ad an excise tax to your utilities. It’s all corruption. Citizens on all levels are getting screwed while politicians are getting rich, but we continue to vote for the same people that don’t give a darn about us.

    2. Kittyone says:

      Tinkerton Farmwell, thank you for your excellent comment. I have also wondered what the motives of this board are. And I have wondered why Superintendent Phil Long has spoken so negatively towards teachers as the board’s spokesman after a member or members tried to have him terminated without cause? There is something not quite right about that.

  8. Zoyd says:

    Can’t believe people are actually supporting these teachers. They get all summer off, 2 weeks for Xmas, 2 weeks for spring, another new “winter break” plus all the in-service days…having had 2 kids go through these schools, I have yet to meet one good teacher.

    In my opinion, they already make more $$ than most in the valley, work less–yet they want more and more.

    Finally, teachers in this strike seem to be very mean people. No wonder we have so many mean students.

  9. Randy says:

    I can see the issues from both sides as I taught for 549C for several years. The big complaint I had was being forced to pay dues to a union which would then support many political candidates I despised – example – someone like Obama and other lefties who pander to the union vote.

  10. Michael says:

    I think both sides have forgotten they are public servants. Phil Long was mistakenly given the power to raise his, and his useless administrative cronies, own salaries, and the teachers are unfortunately monopoly holders in educating our children. Public employees that hold a monopoly over one section of our society shouldn’t have this much control over whether the Medford education system is or isn’t operational. Any public servant that demands better benefits than those that pay taxes are spoiled brats. We’re not talking about a bunch of Surgeon’s going on strike, yet these teachers act like no one else could possibly do their jobs. I think most of the teachers are too timid to stand up to the union’s goons because of how they will be treated after the strike if they cross the picket lines, but I also think most of the teachers don’t support this strike. And I’m also sick of the teachers using the student’s to help further their cause. This is a great learning opportunity for all the students into what Socialism is about. Maybe these types of ‘educated’ people shouldn’t be the one’s teaching our kids anyways with this mentality. Sure, let’s keep paying them more than their worth (average 65k/year per teacher, 10 month work year, great benefits, a pension, etc.). It must be nice that a very small portion of the population can demand that they shouldn’t have to be negatively affected by a bad economy like the rest of us are.

  11. A Grandma says:

    To the teachers (and others supporting them) of the Medford school district;

    As one of many citizens in the community, I am compelled to speak out concerning the conduct of many teachers (and parents?) during these last 3 weeks. There has been some shocking behavior observed during the strike. As the days have gone by, things are getting more heated and tempers are flaring. (i.e.) Reprehensible behavior has been observed at the picket lines towards others, as well as blocking traffic, endangering lives out on the road around town. (This applies to citizens as well, who are displaying bad behavior towards the teachers too).
    While it is important to stand on the principles of something you believe in strongly, and have the privilege to protest – to assemble peaceably – Don’t forget there are young eyes and ears watching and listening (whether they are standing in solidarity with you or not – they are learning – good or bad). When your students have crossed the picket line to go into the schools, what are you shouting to them, instructing them to do? Will you look back and know that you handled yourself with integrity, or will you look back with regrets, because you said or did things that seemed justifiable at the time, when you were caught up in the heat of the moment. What will your students, children, grandchildren have learned from you – what will they remember? Will they be disappointed, because their favorite teacher, mom, dad etc. – acted out in a way that was very unbecoming, or will they be able to know you stood your ground, with head held high, with honor, dignity, integrity for what you believed? What memory will you leave behind in the hearts and minds of these precious children? Don’t forget teaching doesn’t just take place in the classroom. WE as adults have the awesome privilege and responsibility of shaping future adult citizens, and they will conduct themselves in the manner that has been modeled before them. What legacy will you leave behind – what memories will they be left with.

    Signed
    A grandparent of students in Medford School District

  12. Lucy says:

    A Grandma: Do you have any clue what those teachers were yelling at the kids? Were you there? My husband is a teacher in the Medford School District and has been on strike. Would you like to know what he was yelling? He was yelling hello to the kids! I did not hear one teacher saying ANYTHING negative directed toward a child. Not one of those teachers would do that. They would certainly not tell the kids to not go to school. Do you not have a clue how much these teachers care about these children? My husband attends his students choir and band programs, he attends when they are in the Rogue Valley Chorale, when they are in a play, when they play games and then he attends the high school graduation of his former students (no, he does not teach high school). Those kids are thrilled to see him. Does he get paid for that? No. Does he pay for the tickets with his own money? Yes, he does. If you think these teachers are so horrible, what does it say about you as a grandmother that you would send your grandchildren back to such a horrible person. If my grandchildren were going to be in a classroom with someone I thought was so bad, they wouldn’t be going. Educate yourself, talk to a teacher, volunteer in the classroom of your grandchildren. What you will find are teachers that truly care about these students. In other words, EDUCATE yourself before you start spewing outright lies! Remember, “young eyes and ears are watching and listening.”

  13. A grandma says:

    Lucy: Just to make it clear, this was not directed to those who were civil. I’m sure your husband is a fine teacher. He and others, whom modeled good behavior, were not the ones I was addressing.
    I have no doubt all the teachers were supportive and respectful to the children, and care deeply about their students. In fact the majority were encouraging to them and were saying nice things. I was not insinuating that teachers were mistreating the children, or angrily shouting “at” them. The teachers were shouting to be heard from a distance. Some were instructing kids to “give heck“ to the people who were working inside of at least one of the schools. I was addressing some teachers, (& parents, as well as some in the community opposing the teachers) whose questionable conduct were viewed by children.
    There were demonstrations held in multiple locations around the valley, so there would be differing experiences. I know people who were there at certain locations who witnessed some incidences first hand. (As well as some traffic situations)
    I know teachers would never purposely hurt the children. I was hoping that they, whom were behaving in an unbecoming manner, might give it some serious reflection concerning their conduct. We all need to take some time for inner reflection, to improve our character, and to think about how our actions affect those around us – especially the children. Being the imperfect human beings that we are, we sometimes in the heat of the moment can find ourselves saying or doing something that we might later regret. Not because we are bad people, but we are still growing – the need to reflect & grow never stops as long as we live. It was never my intent to call anyone undignified names or publicly embarrass anyone. I love people and I wrote this for the love of our children.
    Also, as a grandparent, I am not the one who makes the decision as to where and when my grandchildren attend school.
    Signed,
    A grandparent of students in Medford School District

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