Portland teachers miss class 14 days a year

A classroom in a Portland school (KOIN 6 News, file)
A classroom in a Portland school (KOIN 6 News, file)

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) – A study of big-city school districts shows Portland teachers average 14 days out of the classroom a year.

The study by the National Council on Teacher Quality included absences and professional development days in 2012-2013.

Portland Public Schools teachers get 10 paid sick days, three paid personal days and two paid days for professional leave a year. Teachers are also given paid days off for bereavement or family illnesses.

The study did not look at unexplained or unjustified days.

The study was of 40 districts that submitted data. Portland teachers had more days out of the classroom than those in all but three other districts, Cleveland, Columbus and Nashville.

On average teachers in Cleveland miss 15.6 days per year. Columbus averages 14.8, Nashville 14.2 and Portland 14.1

Twenty-eight percent of Portland’s 2,306 teachers were considered “chronically absent,” missing more than 18 days of class.That ranks fifth behind Buffalo (36.8% of teachers chronically absent), Cleveland (33.8%), Columbus (32%) and Nashville (29.5%).

Portland Public Schools spokesperson Christine Miles said they are looking into the issue. “We’re trying to figure out where did they get those numbers? Do they take into consideration our contract?”

Gwen Sullivan, the Portland Association of Teachers president, said she hadn’t seen the data.

“My guess is,” she said, “that a lot of it is the state initiative that are being put on our schools. They are being required to have a number of professional development days.”

Miles said the district is reviewing the data. “We will be working closely with the union, so if there is a question or something that we should be addressing, we will do so together.”

KOIN 6 News reporter Tim Becker contributed to this report.

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