" 'Help me understand why it's OK to have 35 first-graders in a classroom,' says Hanna Vaandering, vice president of the Oregon Education Association, which represents teachers statewide."
Ms. Vaandering's plea deserves an answer: It's not, Hanna. It's NOT okay for a first-grade teacher to have 35 kids. It's not okay for children in countries with poor governments to be abused, neglected, bullied and exploited, but sending the governments of those countries more money will not alleviate any child's suffering.
I taught 35+ kids on several occasions for Beaverton middle and high schools (labor-intensive English and media classes) when, at the same time, some of my colleagues had been placed in non-teaching roles created by administrators who were working with very little oversight or accountability.
My building principals, many without much teaching experience, often made teaching our students more difficult for me and others in the Beaverton Schools. The inappropriate relationship between Beaverton School District HR officials and representatives of the Beaverton Education Association, where you were once president, made it possible for unqualified BSD administrators to bully and exploit teachers in the Beaverton system for a long time. I was one of them.
When, after being bullied by lawyers for years, I asked for your help, you brought me an illegal settlement contract to a case still in federal court 3 and 1/2 years after I was fired--a case that the OEA's lawyer had used, unethically, to manipulate and demean me.
My mother was dying, I had been paid unfairly and I had asked to resign and was fired, illegally, by sneak attack. Influential people used their resources to distort a good teaching record and smear my name in my community. I lost tens of thousands on a home purchase when BSD HR representatives lied to a mortgage broker.
I have never gotten back a teaching career that was taken from me because I refused to be bullied into signing a confession for some of your aquaintances at Hungerford law and in the BSD administration. .
I needed a real teachers' union and I made the mistake of trusting representatives of the Beaverton Education Association. My contract could not have been broken without the cooperation of the OEA lawyer, Tom Doyle, and other employees of the OEA. You know that.
I have been punished unfairly since.
I am deeply saddened that public eduation is at a place where you are the spokesperson for an entire state of teachers.
From: "Linda Borquist"
To: Don Bellairs
Sent: Monday, August 25, 2008 10:39 AM
Subject: Re: correction
> Don....I received your emails. Sorry, I didn't respond earlier but I have been out of the country. Don't look for me in Central Oregon. I am half a world away. I don't live the kind of life that you think I do, the car you refer to is long gone and never was a part of me. I rarely do work for leslieconsulting and it is usually things I can do from a distance such as editing work. After 31 years in the public, I just don't enjoy it anymore. I will be in the state and in Portland from Sept 23-29, at least that is what I am firming up with family. I can meet with you during that time and would welcome a direct meeting with you. I have no ill will against you, never did. Sometimes some awful duties and assignments came with my former job. They were not of my making. Anyway, I hope we can meet. If you let me know soon when you are available, I'll work around other plans. What place would be convenient for you?
June 2004 FDAB testimony of Linda Borquist, then-Associate Superintendent for Human Resources of Beaverton Schools, on her "unique" collaboration with Tom Husted, uniserve representative for the Beaverton Education Association. Husted was serving concurrently on the board of the Beaverton Education Foundation, a non-profit run by JANET HOGUE, a Westview parent with an office in the Beaverton HR building. BORQUIST'S SWORN TESTIMONY JUNE 2004: Q. Do you have contact with the Beaverton Education Association as you work with various personnel problems? A(Borquist). Uh-huh. I think we probably are a little bit unique in how we work with our association. The person who is the administrator of certificated personnel, which is a job I have also held in the past, and I meet usually twice a month and go over any kind of what we call "issues sessions." We look at, you know, things that have been brought to either of our attentions, and we go through and have an open discussion about what we're hearing or seeing. The hope is that we would, again, resolve it at the smallest level. We are very frank with each other. We don't really hold any secrets or hold any information back. But we try to proactively work together. We've operated that (begin pg 47) way for at least 12, maybe 15 years, ever since I can kind of remember with, you know, past association presidents. It is a culture that we have built. Because of that we have very, very few grievances. I can maybe think of three in my ten years in -- 12 years in HR. You know, I've never sat before this kind of a board before with a Fair Dismissal hearing. We're actively working together. Obviously they have a role of representing in this case a teacher, and we have a role that we need to play. But we try and work cooperatively. When I have a meeting that I'm going to be setting up with a teacher, I give what I would call a heads-up phone call to the association president or the Uniserv rep saying that this person will be expecting a call from X because they'll probably be calling you. We're going to have a meeting. I want to make sure you're available when they call so they can have representation. That's how open our relationship is. Q. You mentioned that you had these meetings generally twice a month. Who are those with? A. It's my administrator for certificated personnel, the Uniserv rep and the BEA president.