Newberg teachers choose not to walk out
While teachers around the state donned red shirts and walked out of classes Wednesday to protest a lack of education funding, Newberg teachers walked in and got to work. It doesn't mean they don't support the Red for Ed movement by any means, however. Their show of support was a "walk-in" instead, and they still donned the signature red shirts that have become representative of a growing movement around the country.
Newberg Education Association President Gail Grobey said a "rough year" from a financial perspective influenced the decision. Teachers, she said, couldn't afford to skip class Wednesday due to the strain budget cuts have already put on students and staff.
"When we think about the concept of funding, we all want to have more, stable funding," Grobey said. "We are all for that and I support those districts for whom it is right to walk out. It just isn't in this district because of what we went through financially in the last year."
Other districts around Oregon took a similar approach, Grobey said, and those districts have expressed their support for Newberg. The Oregon Education Association gave its blessing as well, reassuring the NEA that it made the right choice for its students and for the movement.
The district is fully supporting its teachers and officials from the district joined teachers on Wednesday by wearing red and standing alongside them. Among that group was Superintendent Joe Morelock, who Grobey said would be sporting a red tie.
After cutting four days from the school year last year, it wouldn't have been right – in Grobey and the NEA's view – to walk out. So instead, teachers gathered outside NHS on Wednesday, joined by administrators and other supporters all wearing red, and they chanted and spoke on behalf of increasing school funding. The moment was like that of many other schools across the state and unique in the way it was handled by teachers.
Ultimately, it's about sending a message to the Legislature that schools deserve additional funding, Grobey said. The message was a widespread one from those who chose to walk out or walk in, as Newberg did.
"We get to send that message, show that solidarity with one another and continue to serve our students," she said. "We're still doing what we do in this district with as little as we do it with, and that's tough. As a community, we want to maintain as much stability as we can."