The Portland Association of Teachers (PAT) launched a strike last week, closing schools for the Portland, Oregon school district’s 44,000 students. The union is demanding a 23% pay increase over three years. The union also wants the district to hire more teachers, even though student enrollment is “cratering.”

The district offered a 10.9% salary increase, which would raise Portland’s average teacher salary to over $87,000 with 62% of teachers earning more than $90,000 and 40% of them earning over $100,000. 

Teachers union strikes keep students out of the classroom and prevent essential instruction time. Unfortunately, Portland students were already struggling:

  • In the 2022-23 school year, no grade level of Portland students had more than 56% of students meet state standards. Only 27% of 11th graders and 8% of black 8th graders passed the state math assessment. In science, no grade level had more than 44% of students meet state standards. 11th graders fared particularly poorly with a 39% pass rate. 
  • Chronic absenteeism is on the rise with 36% of Portland’s students missing more than 10% of school days last year.

To learn more about teachers unions, read Portland Teachers Union Puts Students Last AgainSchool Choice Is Better For Democracy Than Government Schooling, and FACT CHECK: How Much Do Public School Teachers Make A Year?

For more information about teachers unions and school choice, visit