Thousands of teachers, educators march on Oregon Capitol to demand funding – Salem Reporter

Thousands of teachers, educators march on Oregon Capitol to demand funding - Salem Reporter

The Latest: Oregon teachers walk out to protest funding

FILE – In this Jan. 18, 2019 file photo, Oregon Senate Republican Leader Herman Baertschiger, Jr., left, Senate Democratic Leader Ginny Burdick and Senate President Peter Courtney speak to the media at the State Capitol in Salem, Ore. Baertschiger told reporters Monday, May 6, 2019 that Senate Republicans in Oregon have fled Salem to avoid a Tuesday vote on a $1 billion per-year funding package for schools. They oppose the proposed half a percent tax on businesses with sales over $1 million. (AP Photo/Andrew Selsky, File)

SALEM, Ore. – The Latest on a walkout by Oregon teachers to protest education funding (all times local):

Oregon’s Republican Party railed against “forced vaccines” from its official Twitter account on Monday evening.

Oregon GOP criticizes vaccine mandate | TheHill

Holding signs and wearing T-shirts declaring "Proud Educator," teachers across Oregon are staging a one-day walkout to rally for more money for schools.

Meanwhile, California, Mississippi and West Virginia have successfully prevented parents from using their moral beliefs to not vaccinate their kids. The reason why physicians and some legislators say the moral allowance deserves backpedaling has to do with something called herd immunity. It takes a vaccination rate of 95 percent to protect a population from an unwieldy disease. Alan Melnick, the public health director in Clark County, Washington — the source of the outbreak in the Pacific Northwest — previously told VICE News his county had vaccination coverage of around 80 percent at K-12 schools, making the area ripe for an outbreak.

Video: Thousands of Oregon teachers walk out over funding

Report: Oregon Senate Republicans issue list of demands, education funding bill stalemate continues

Many schools in Oregon were to be closed for at least part of the day Wednesday, including dozens in the greater Portland area.

Oregon schools have some of the largest class sizes and lowest graduation rates in the United States.

Oregons Democrat-controlled House on Monday passed a bill that would strip that exemption and save the state some outbreak-related money, recognizing the exemptions had fueled the genesis of the 71 measles cases between Oregon and Washington earlier this year. (Washingtons House passed a similar bill in March.) Oregons bill was introduced with bipartisan support, but ultimately passed 35-25, with only two Republicans supporting the legislation, according to the Oregonian.

The action follows a wave of teacher activism that began in West Virginia in 2018 and was followed by Oklahoma, Kentucky, Arizona and elsewhere.

Oregon is one of 16 states where parents can claim a moral reason for not vaccinating their child with the mandated and highly effective measles, mumps and rubella shot before they enroll in school. Parents who have fallen prey to vaccine misinformation, such as inaccurate claims that the measles vaccine results in autism, take advantage of the moral exemptions.

Schools around the state will close for at least part of Wednesday as teachers try to put pressure on lawmakers for more money.

Pulling back the tax bill — the passage of which stands as a central goal of Democrats this session — appears unlikely, but talk in the Capitol has begun around what it might take to bring Republicans back to the building. There’s a suggestion that Democrats could opt to kill a bill the opposing party dislikes in order to secure a commitment that Republicans return, agree not to stage further boycotts, and not force Democrats to read bills in their entirety before a vote. Courtney’s office said Wednesday morning it could not provide updates on the state of negotiations.

Oregon schools have some of the highest class sizes and lowest graduation rates in the United States.

The action follows a wave of teacher activism that began in West Virginia in 2018 and was followed by Oklahoma, Kentucky and Arizona.

If all 18 Senate Democrats are present, just two Republicans are required to attend floor sessions to secure the 20-member quorum. Baertschiger said Wednesday he’d grant a quorum so the Senate could conduct “mundane” business, but that he would not allow a vote on the tax measure. It would take 24 hours or more to get all Republicans back to the statehouse, he said. 

Teachers in North Carolina and South Carolina rallied at their respective state capitols last week seeking more money.

The state's school funding problem can be traced to the 1990s, when voters passed two ballot measures to limit property taxes.

Oregon Teacher Rally 2019

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