Portland's School Board

Portland voters have had ballots in hand for a week now - and along with charter reform - will be voting on four school board seats. Two have unopposed incumbents (Bobbie Regan and Dilafruz Williams), while two incumbents face strong challengers.

Consider this post an open thread on anything related to the Portland School Board races.

One bit of wacky trivia for non-Portlanders and new-in-town folks: Though PPS Board members live in and represent particular districts, they all run city-wide and all voters get to vote in all races.

In Zone 1, incumbent Doug Morgan faces challenger Ruth Adkins. For the Zone 2 position, incumbent David Wynde faces challenger Michele Schultz. Their voters' pamphlet statements are here and here.

Michele Schultz posted a guest column here at BlueOregon.

Interestingly, the Oregonian, Willamette Week (PDF?!), and Portland Tribune all endorsed the same pair - challenger Ruth Adkins and incumbent David Wynde.

What do you think? Which candidates are you supporting - and why? Did the announcement of Superintendent Vicki Phillips' departure make a difference in your thinking?

Discuss.

Comments

  • ndc (unverified)
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    I personally feel that this school board race is flying a bit under the radar considering its importance. It is a shame that odd year elections fail to draw any attention to registered voters (ballot returns currently at 8%)despite the fact that this school board election will literally determine future school funding, reforms, and superintendent leadership. All of which matter to me and my children.

    The reforms the school board undertook this last term has some flaws, but the bottom line is they were successful. When you have a school district with 30 plus years of declining enrollment and declining test scores something has to be done. These two issues are completely interrelated. The number one priority for every member of the school board including the superintendent should be student achievement. when you have a school district that is broken in so many ways it becomes the laughing stock of a Doonesbury cartoon, tough changes need to be made to ensure that the future focus can once again be investment in student achievement. I believe this is what our school board has done, and is on its way to achieving. As a parent and a former PPS employee I am voting for incumbents Morgan and Wynde to finish the job they started.

  • David (unverified)
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    As someone who knows both Morgan and Adkins and respects both of them immensely, this was not an easy choice for me. However, in the end, I think Morgan's strong and steady hand in leading the district back to financial balance proves that he both can and should be retained. Don't stop the great work he has already done.

  • npdxparent (unverified)
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    I am a parent of a pre-schooler and have been watching the policies and practices of the school district very closely over the past two and a half years. I have also followed the school board campaign, and have attended two of the candidate forums.

    We live in N/NE Portland in the Jefferson attendance boundary where PPS policies have weakened our schools and denied our children equitable educational opportunities. Actions taken by the current school board have done nothing to improve the situation; and in some cases have made it worse, such as the latest proproposal to re-re-reorganize Jefferson and add 7-12 single sex academies that have little support.

    We are voting for Ruth Adkins, Michele Shulz, and no one else.

  • Amy (unverified)
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    Doug Morgan is most certainly NOT a "steady hand". As any number of administrators, or community friends, can share - he has a penchant for not keeping his word and his dedication to public openness is nonexistent. Ruth Adkins is a known quantity, and will be a lioness amongst sheep. Please support Ruth Adkins for School Board.

  • [email protected] (unverified)
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    I want to hear where the candidates are on high school closures. We've lost 40% of our peak enrollment and have only constricted about 6% of our district footprint. High School administration and support is where the money savings are.

    Consolidate Jefferson and Madison. Those communities vote with their feet to close them every year, while maintaining horrible overallocations that other facilities can only dream about.

  • Heather (unverified)
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    Ruth Adkins is getting my vote, hands down. I saw her in action when Rieke Elementary was on the chopping block and her energy and motivation and intellect helped save the school. We need someone who wants to engage parents and the community, and Ruth is the one. When the Oregonian interviewed all the candidates a couple weeks ago, Morgan stated his greatest accomplishment was all the behind-the-scenes quiet work he's done -- and we certainly don't need any more of that. I want to know that my school board is actively working to make our schools healthy and sustainable. Ruth can make it happen.

  • Linda (unverified)
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    I strongly urge you to vote for Ruth Adkins for School Board. She will be a positive voice for our neighborhoods and community.

    As a parent of a PPS graduate and an active community member, I believe it is time for a change in the board. I will be voting for Ruth Adkins.

  • Lakeitha Elliott (unverified)
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    Ruth Adkins has my vote. Doug Morgan does not appear to care anything about real public participation in the PUBLIC school sytem. If I could vote away Bobbie Reagan and Dan Ryan I would vote them away too. Ruth has worked to improve education in all parts of the city, not just for those with affluent parents and/or high achievement.

  • Gary Wasserman (unverified)
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    I'm voting for Ruth Adkins. Ruth has spent ten years working to make Portland's public schools the best they can be. This year we have a chance to put Ruth on the inside where her energy, skills, and commitment to PPS can do the most good for Portland. With the recent resignation of the superintendent having Ruth on the board is going to be even more important. This board will be involved in picking the new superintendent. Ruth is right person, in the right place, at the right time. I hope you will support her bid for school board.

  • Hope (unverified)
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    I would like to hear what the candidates will do to attract back students to Jefferson and other schools where a high number of students transfer out. This won't happen without a school board that values equity and is willling to listen to input from families who live in those neighborhoods.

    According to the school district's own data, Jefferson has more high school students living within its boundaries than any other PPS high school. PPS school profiles stated that the Jefferson attendance area had 1,950 students living within its boundaries in 2005-06, compared to 1,323 high school students living within the Lincoln attendance area.

    In January 2006, during the Jefferson redesign process the superintendent promised to implement an International Baccalaureate program to increase enrollment of neighborhood students at Jefferson. But 1-1/2 years later PPS hasn't even started the application process, which takes at least 2 years to complete, for a high school IB program at Jefferson. The school board isn't providing oversight to ensure that this program is being implemnted at Jefferson, but they have made a commitment to expand capacity at Lincoln in the near future to allow more transfer students into their IB program.

    If the school board were committed to equal access to educational opportunities, and to using school facilities efficiently they would be improving the schools where students live. Instead they have forced top-down "reforms" that drive away more families from certain schools, and they are planning to expand wealthier schools in neighborhoods with fewer students (Lincoln and Rieke) to attract more students.

    If we want excellent, equitable, cost-efficient education for all students we need a new school board.

  • nic (unverified)
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    I'm voting for Doug Morgan and not Ruth Adkins. Yes Doug has made some hard and unpopular decisions this past term but at least he has owned up to them. Ruth Adkins has consistently opposed every school closure and pretty much opposed every unanimous reform offered by the board without offering a single solution to our district's problems. It is easy to run a campaign when all you are dong is attacking unpopular decisions without offering viable solutions.

  • Scott (unverified)
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    This is not a close call for voters who care about preserving neighborhood schools and who don't believe that a cookie cutter approach is best for Portland. Without citing any credible research in support, Phillips said that all schools should be 400-600 students. Morgan went along without questioning. Phillips set up a rigged process where decisions were made by a few administrators at the top and rammed down the throats of the parents, teachers and other concerned members of the community. Morgan endorsed this exclusionary process. Despite a mountain of research showing the benefits of small neighborhood schools, Phillips said that some of our top performing schools must be closed. When Phillips conceded in community meetings that no money would be saved by these closures, while still selling the concept of cost savings to the media, Morgan endorsed and participated in this duplicity. Indeed, Morgan, David Wynde and Bobbi Regan were fully complicit in the culture of opacity that enabled PPS to make dramatic changes in the district without adequate planning, research or community participation. This process has been repeated in the recent curriculum changes. This authoritarian rigidity is NOT what is needed to move PPS forward.

    This one's easy--vote ADKINS over Morgan and SCHULTZ over Wynde. Its time for a change.

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    I already voted for Doug Morgan and David Wynde.

    I think the school board's performance in hiring Vicki Phillips and over the past few years has been light years better than the previous regime that hired Ben Canada.

    We need people that can balance all the different stakeholders and then do what is right for the public good. This means making tough decisions, not pandering to every interest group and trying to keep all schools open while enrollment has dropped dramatically.

    Morgan was my professor at PSU for a few classes, so I know him and I think he is very smart and can balance competing interests for the public good. I don't know Ruth Adkins, I am sure she brings a lot of passion and energy, but it also seems like just just wants to say no to saving any money or closing any school. That might make a few local parents happier, but isn't in the long term interests of the city.

  • Dave Porter (unverified)
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    First, we seem blessed with experienced, thoughtful candidates. All could do fine jobs. All need to think and talk more about the future and less about the past.

    Second, Susan Nielsen's article "Choice Under Fire" in Sunday's Oregonian (5/6) highlights the major near term concern I have. The article begins: "The Portland School Board would drive thousands of middle-class families from the city if it clamps down on parents' ability to pick their kids' schools. The change would alter the city's character for the worse." I share her concern and hope the new school board can craft solutions that meet some of the concerns of critics while while keeping choice and the wide variety of educational options available to children and parents. I particularly think that, in this age of globilization, we need many more K-5 language immersion programs to make the city of Portland a player in the global economy.

  • Douglas (unverified)
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    Zman,

    You've swallowed the sound byte about "tough decisions" and "closing schools to save money." These ideas sound great--too bad they're not true. Closing schools costs money and hurts neighborhoods. From a pure dollar and cents perspective, closing schools is far more expensive than this poorly planned, poorly executed reconfiguration that Mr. Morgan helped foist upon this community. Nobody is saying Morgan is a bad man. He seems a decent enough fellow. But, as a school board director, he leaves much to be desired. One term was enough.

  • pps parent (unverified)
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    Good comments Mr. Porter. I have a question for you though. If you went to your surgeon to have a gall bladder removed and came out minus a kidney, would you go back to the surgeon for your next operation? The incumbents here have track records that must be examined. The past cannot be ignored.

  • Marcia Waugh (unverified)
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    In any race, I vote for the person I trust the most. For Zone 1, I'm lucky -- Ruth Adkins is a long-time friend and one of the smartest, most capable people I know. Put that together with her involvement in schools for the past decade and she's the hottest candidate around.

  • Ruth Adkins (unverified)
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    Hi everyone, thanks for the comments and I appreciate a forum to put more focus on this very important school board race. Regardless of whom you support, please vote!

    Regarding the comment above-

    It is easy to run a campaign when all you are dong is attacking unpopular decisions without offering viable solutions.

    If you visit my website, you will see that my focus is, in fact, on coming together as a community to create solutions to the issues facing our schools.

    To take just one example, from the page in the site's Issues section entitled "Increase school enrollment and strengthen neighborhoods":

    As a Portland School Board member, I will champion a positive, proactive, citywide effort to increase enrollment in Portland Public Schools. Instead of reacting to demographic shifts and the departure of families to the suburbs with destructive and self-defeating closures and consolidations, let’s focus on stabilizing and improving both schools and our city.

    Let’s all work together — Portland Public Schools, the City, Metro, the County, neighborhoods, the business community, parents, teachers, and staff — to retain and attract families to our public schools.

    Here are just a few of the positive ideas for increasing enrollment that I will work for as a School Board member:

    * Partner with the City on the Schools, Family, Housing Initiative, which will increase housing that is affordable for families while helping improve school facilities. As a taxpayer and a citizen, I want to see the schools and the City working directly together for the common good. This initiative provides an exciting opportunity for partnership and real progress for families, schools, and neighborhoods.
    * Expand programs introducing local, healthy food in our cafeterias, cooked by our own cafeteria workers, including partnerships between farmers markets, community gardens, and nearby schools.
    * Build upon successful programs such as Safe Routes to Schools and the Bicycle Transportation Alliance's biking safety classes to encourage as many families as possible to walk or bike to school. It's healthier for our kids and our neighborhoods to get out of our cars.
    * Explore ways to bring the community into schools buildings, such as designating community meeting rooms within schools, co-locating local agencies or nonprofits within schools. This would not only help with the costs of maintaining buildings, but also would increase involvement and connections with the broader community.
    * Pursue placing a quality, affordable preschool program at every school. Once they “belong” to their local school, families are less likely to go elsewhere. Quality early childhood education is an investment that pays off for our entire society.
    
  • Meagan (unverified)
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    Vote for Ruth Adkins! I cannot trust anyone on this school board who went to train with the Broad Foundation. Folks! Wake up! Anyone but David Wynde and Morgan. I can't believe that any teacher who had to put up with these so called "Reforms" under Phillips would vote to keep these incumbents in place. Shortsighted of the union to back Morgan, simply because he protected the contract in the last bargaining session.

  • sjdprods (unverified)
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    From my perspective, Adkins is the clear vote from Zone 1. She's put a huge amount of energy over the last 10 years into public schools, and it shows in her knowledge and grass-roots support. Anyone who thinks she's only going to spend her time tossing bombs has never worked with Ruth -- she Gets Things Done, and will be very dissatisfied if there isn't constructive change.

    The only reason critics have been spending their time challenging the District's decisions over the last few years is because that's more or less the only thing that the District has given the time for. We've seen random "reform" after random "reform" just because there was a perceived need for "big decisions," without the necessary data or community support to back them up. In my view, too many on the current board have been all to willing to go along and govern by default. The fact that Morgan has only now seen problems with his past decisions -- when parent after parent was telling the board at the time that there were serious problems that needed to be addressed -- does not justify keeping him on the board, particularly with someone as qualified as Adkins running against him.

    The right questions at the right time is what will make the district better, and Adkins is the one to ask them.

  • Jason Baskin (unverified)
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    Simple decision - Ruth gets my vote, hands down.

  • Jerry (unverified)
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    It’s really not that hard. If you think that the changes wrought in the last 4 years have been largely good for the district and you want to see more of the same, then you should vote for Morgan, Regan and Wynde. They have shown a willingness to carry out their strategy in the face of widespread criticism, even while being rebuffed by the courts. If they are reelected, we can expect to see more closures (Reike, Stephenson, Jefferson), more conflict (remember when PPS went to the state legislature and tried to cut their own deal {http://www.blueoregon.com/2005/06/failed_minnis_p.html} with Karen Minnis last session?) and more students and families heading for the burbs.

    While Williams initially marched in lockstep with her colleagues, she has more recently demonstrated an ability to more thoroughly question staff recommendations and to break from the pack if she believes the decision would unfairly penalize already-underserved communities.

    Adkins and Schultz represent a change from the status quo. Adkins in particular is trusted by many of the most committed community members; a qualification the current school board lacks. Like Morgan, Adkins is a smart, dedicated professional, but since she didn’t buy into the soon-to-be-departed Phillips’ strategies, she can evaluate them on their own merits, without having to explain why she changed her mind. For that reason alone, I’m willing to give her a chance.

    Let’s face it, without opponents, Regan and Williams will rejoin the board. If past is prologue, Regan will likely vote with Trudy Sargent to fully support continued reconfiguration. Williams, together with incumbents Ryan and Henning will likely continue to more closely scrutinize staff and to act as a brake on hasty decisions. So the question is: which group do you want to have the majority?

    For myself, after 6 years of watching the POTUS drive us off a cliff, I’m voting for caution, and that means Adkins and Schultz.

  • (Show?)

    NoPo writes: "We've lost 40% of our peak enrollment and have only constricted about 6% of our district footprint." I don't know where this comes from, but the "this board is the first to make hard decisions" crowd keeps repeating it over and over to make it part of the conventional "wisdom." The district has closed 4 high schools since it was at peak enrollment. The list of other schools closed is not short. Also, schools are used differently now; at peak enrollment, Grant HS had 3,000 kids going to school there, and there was no special education. And by the way, if we were to fund sensible class sizes, we would need a lot more classrooms than we are using now.

    nic refers to "unanimous reform." Huh? Many of the sweeping changes implemented in the past couple of years have occurred on 4-3 votes.

    The question is not whether change is good or bad, but whether the right changes are being made. I'm still waiting for evidence that the Jefferson upheavals (just as the school was showing some significant, measurable gains), the K-8 conversions or most of the recent closures lead to making things better. I'm looking for more evidence, and maybe less turmoil and drama. Just because it's hard doesn't mean it's right.

    That's why I've already voted for Ruth Adkins. "Tough decisions" require tough questions, and answers. I haven't seen the board majority willing to take that on of late, but I do know that Ruth will add a voice for honest, rigorous evaluation of evidence, exactly what is needed when "tough" calls have to be made.

  • (Show?)

    Ruth would have my vote if I still lived in Portland (live in Tigard now).

  • (Show?)

    If I lived in the PPS boundaries, my vote would be for Ruth Adkins.

    I've known her for quite some time now, and I've watched as she's spent almost every extra minute she has fighting for students, parents, and schools. In all my years in education advocacy (which is how I got involved in politics 17 years ago), I've met very few people who have done as much as Ruth has to try to improve her local schools as well as others in the district.

    PPS needs change before the district falls apart. And without change on the school board, that isn't going to happen. What will happen is my school district (Gresham Barlow) as well as other surrounding districts, will continue to see huge influxes of students that are pouring out of PPS.

    Already we're seeing the result of it. We recently went to kindergarten orientation for our five year-old. There had to be around 30 other kids attending who will also be attending kindergarten this fall. Later the staff was talking about how last year they only had around 10 kids for orientation, and ended up with 75 kids in the class (around 40 registered in the last days). They're really worried about how big the class is going to be this fall.

  • Zarwen (unverified)
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    Do what you've always done, and you'll get what you've always gotten.

    Do we want another "Hurricane Vicki" to lead the District for the next 3-4 years? More top-down, unresearched decisions jammed down the throats of low-income families, while upper-income areas are given choices?

    Vote Schultz and Adkins--for a change!

    And Hope--to answer your question about "what the candidates will do to attract back students to Jefferson," visit Michele Schultz's website at www.vote4michele.com and read the piece titled "The Final Jefferson Redesign." You'll get your answers there.

  • Dave Porter (unverified)
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    Question for Ruth (or any candidate following these comments),

    Would you support more foreign language K-5 immersion programs in the Portland Public School District? What vision do you have for foreign languages in the Portland Public schools curriculum? Would you support using public funds to send students to study languages abroad?

  • pedro (unverified)
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    nielson's concern from that article that dave porter linked to, seems to be that the open enrollment policy is in danger. the claim comes from the fact that ruth adkins was one of the founding members of neighborhood schools alliance, a group which nielson quotes as saying that the transfer policy is "unconscionable" that their web site states that "School choice and focus option programs are at the very root of the problems facing PPS."

    i did some research, and the quote from the website is accurate:

    "School choice and focus option programs are at the very root of the problems facing PPS. The District has a duty and obligation to provide good schools in every neighborhood. Instead, PPS has expended an inordinate amount of time, energy, and resources attempting to compete with private schools for students whose parents want a "special" program for their child, and don't mind commuting across town to get it. Meanwhile, parents in neighborhoods with under-resourced neighborhood schools are driven to transfer out of their neighborhood. It is a completely misdirected and unconscionable strategy.

    PPS' duty is to the great mass of students, not to a select few. In the end, open enrollment and focus option schools promote inequality. The affluent few get to choose, but everyone else is left behind. Neighborhood schools become the schools of last resort, the schools you go to when you have no choice.

    We need an open and honest public debate about this ruinous policy of school choice and open enrollment. The only logical outcome of the current policy is the shuttering of poor-perfoming schools in marginal neighborhoods, as the Darwinian competition for students favors schools located in affluent neighborhoods. The only kids left in the decimated schools are from families who can't afford to take advantage of choice. It is a vivid illustration of Bush's America, where some have the good life and the rest are left behind."

    i take from this that the neighborhood schools alliance would like to end the school choice and focus programs, but is that also a goal of ruth adkins the candidate? just curious what other people think about this issue.

    thanks

  • douglas (unverified)
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    Using public funds to send students to study languages abroad? How about sending them to skiing tutorials in Aspen? Or squash lessons at private country clubs? Sheesh, if any candidate supports this idea, I want to know about it so I know who to vote against. With all respect, you've got to be kidding.

  • juan (unverified)
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    pedro, one fact that tends to be omitted in this Morgan camp talking point is that it is Phillips and her four-member Board majority (wynde, morgan, regan and sargeant) who sought to sharply curtail school transfers this year to consolidate their misbegotten school reconfiguration.

  • Ruth Adkins (unverified)
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    Would you support more foreign language K-5 immersion programs in the Portland Public School District? What vision do you have for foreign languages in the Portland Public schools curriculum? Would you support using public funds to send students to study languages abroad?

    Hi Dave, Yes, I like the idea of more language immersion programs, that are integrated with the neighborhood program (as at Atkinson, for example). I wish every student had the opportunity to study languages abroad. That's not something we can spend public funds on -- for one thing, we need to have decent class sizes first!

    Re: Pedro's question on the Neighborhood Schools Alliance statement against focus options/choice, is that also a goal of ruth adkins the candidate?

    No, it's not. Quoting again from my website:

    One size or type of school does not fit all. Families need to be able to seek the best fit and the best opportunities for their individual child. We have some truly outstanding focus option and alternative programs in Portland Public Schools, along with our wonderful neighborhood schools. However, the opportunity to transfer to a “better” school across town doesn’t necessarily help students’ achievement, and it certainly doesn’t help strengthen neighborhood schools. Bottom line: low-income children shouldn't have to travel across town to get a decent public education.

    The Multnomah County/Portland auditors' June 2006 report, "Portland Public Schools Student Transfer System: District objectives not met" states:

    Our audit determined that the transfer system was not able to mitigate the moderate ethnic and socioeconomic segregation in Portland’s neighborhoods or meet the Board’s diversity and equity goals. Further, due to the increasing complexity each year, we do not believe that the system is as open and transparent as it could be. Because the transfer policy competes with other Board policies such as strong neighborhood schools and investing in poor performing schools, we urge the Board to clarify the purpose of the school choice system.

    The School Board has yet to follow up this report with the needed comprehensive review of the transfer system. As a school board member, I will make this a priority, paying close attention to the issues raised by the auditors.

  • meagan (unverified)
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    I hear all this justification of closing schools, tough decisions with declining enrollment....yadadadadada....and then you hear PPS's CFO Cathy Mincberg is forming a committee to study passing a bond measure to build new schools because enrollment is projected to go up???????????? HELLO!??????? IS ANYONE LISTENING??????????????????????????????????????????

  • Ken Ray (unverified)
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    I very much support Doug Morgan for re-election to the school board.

    I should note at the outset that I have nothing against Ruth Adkins.

    But Doug Morgan, who I know personally through my studies in the public administration program at PSU, is a hard-working and dedicated public servant of strong character and the highest integrity, traits that he demonstrates in his academic and community leadership roles and that he inspires in his students. (And I should note, for the record, this posting will have no impact whatsoever on my academic record at PSU.)

    I am not an elected official, but I work in the public sector and have the highest respect for those (and this is especially true of school board members) who commit their time and energy to serving in difficult, controversial, and often thankless and sometimes uncompensated public offices with character, integrity and skill.

    It is easy to forget how difficult the situation was for Portland schools four years ago and how far the district has come. Four years ago the district did not have a permanent superintendent (with all due respect to Jim Scherzinger, who I regard as an excellent public financial manager and analyst, but who was not, in my view, cut out for the superintendent's job), test scores were lagging in many schools, and state financial support for schools was so weak that Multnomah County voters had to approve a three-year county income tax to temporarily fill a significant funding gap. (This also was not helped by poor management decisions of then-serving and previous board members to agree to generous salary and severance packages for top administrators.) And all four school board incumbents up for re-election in 2003--a majority of the board--chose not to run again.

    I can't recall a time when strong leadership was more desperately needed at Portland Public Schools. Several individuals and leaders in this community sought Doug out and asked him to run for this position. He agreed to give it a shot, and the voters wisely chose him in a crowded field of candidates.

    Four years later, while no one can argue that the school district is anywhere near perfect, a lot of progress has been made. I think the hiring of Vicki Phillips was an excellent choice. While I haven't always agreed with her decisions and plans, I admire her for being willing to take on tough and controversial issues, and I'm sorry to see her go. The school district's finances have stabilized somewhat, and while there are a lot of factors that contributed to that, it can't happen without good leadership at the top. Test scores in most schools are improving. Doug has made some difficult but necessary decisions to help bring greater stability to Portland's schools. While I'm pleased to see the progress that's been made, there is still more work to do. I'm grateful that Doug has agreed to run again.

    Doug is not flashy. He's not setting the world on fire. But he represents the best of what I (and I hope others as well) value about public service, and I believe that when we have public servants of Doug's caliber serving in difficult public offices, we owe them our thanks and support.

  • AET (unverified)
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    Ruth Adkins has my vote and I believe she has the votes of many parents, teachers and other PPS workers who expect school board members to stand for a fair and democratic decision-making process.

  • sjdprods (unverified)
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    Morgan has my thanks for his service, but I can't give him my support this time around -- that goes (and has already gone) to Adkins.

    For all the emphasis on data-driven analysis from Morgan, I just didn't see much of it from him (or, for that matter, Wynde) over the last several years. I saw proposals from the district, often with cherry-picked "support" from various studies and statistics, but little in the way of balance. Unfortunately, there was very little willingness from the current Board to question whether those proposals were really the best choice for the district. The new emphasis on bigger elementary schools, for instance, is now curiously in conflict with the Gates Foundations' emphasis on small schools. I've never seen Morgan (or Wynde, for that matter) actually ask hard questions of the Superintendent. They left that job to the few parent communities and other groups that had the time and resources do the "analysis" that the Board should have been demanding all along. Change happened in some places, it seems to me, not because it was actually best, but because someone decided that change had to happen, and the Board was unwilling to ask whether it was really the best choice. I think the district deserves better.

    Want an example? As nopo noted above, and as Morgan has said in the candidate forums that I've seen, "We've lost 40% of our peak enrollment and have only constricted about 6% of our district footprint." The thing that people inecusably forget is that in 1970 -- the high point of school enrollment in PPS -- the schools were packed. Since that time, not only have class sizes come down (albeit not enough), but there have been substantial new demands placed on the use of our school buildings. Special education, "enrichment" programs that this district has been so in support of, libraries at K-5 schools that were largely nonexistent at the time, enrichment space in middle schools, which didn't exist at the time, etc. The net result is that if you compare 1970 enrollment to what the District says is the current capacity, the schools in 1970 were some 20-30% overcapacity. Since that time, as Susan Hagmeier suggests above, we've closed schools that total 10-15% of the student capacity in 1970. Add in the fact that there are 90 portables in the district, and it seems to me that the data says we're about where we need to be.

    Morgan never mentions that, simply allowing the doomsday beat to (unnecessarily) continue, insisting that "hard choices" need to be made. That's true -- but they should be based on better data than the 40%/6% that Morgan keeps repeating without the critical context noted above.

    Adkins is an outspoken supporter of public education that's willing to get out there and talk about how great this district is. Despite the problems, PPS continues to capture an unusually high number of parents in the district for an urban district; Adkins is talking about keeping that number high -- a critical part of maintaining the viability of the district. Adkins is the only candidate I've heard who's been able to acknowledge problems and propose solid solutions while also showing up the district's opportunities and seeking ways to really build on them. She'll work to be sure that the district doesn't merely muddle along, but that it works with its greatest cheerleaders -- the parents and community leaders -- to make sure that it will really achieve great things.

    So Morgan has my thanks, but Adkins has my vote.

  • blueteeth (unverified)
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    Reading through these posts, a theme emerges from Phillips/Morgan supporters of referring to parents and teachers who don't appreciate the cram-down process adopted by the district in recent years as "whiners" and "crybabys." Incredibly, Morgan supporters don't seem to appreciate that parents and teachers are the key constituents of the district. Business support is great; support of parents and teachers is absolutely essential. The fact that many parents and teachers throughout the district are totally disgusted with Phillips and her rubber stamp 4 member majority on the Board speaks loud and clear. Its time for a change, and change will happen. Ruth Adkins will be sitting in the Zone 1 Directors chair next term. Go Ruth!!

  • Randy Leonard (unverified)
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    I have endorsed and am enthusiastically supporting Ruth Adkins for the Portland School Board.

    Ruth asks good questions, is willing to challenge the status quo and is above all committed to providing the best educational opportunities possible for all of Portland's children.

    I am confident that Ruth is going to be a huge asset on the Portland School Board.

  • pedro (unverified)
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    thanks for responding, ruth (and other commenters). i really like your idea for bringing local food into the schools, i'll check out your website.

  • Nancy (unverified)
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    Tragically for thousands of Portland families currently denied the very choice she defends, Susan Nielsen admonishes the school board to rebuke them (Choice Under Fire, 5/6/07). Rebuke the families on the losing end of what Nielsen acknowledges as "uneven quality", their neighborhood schools not a viable "choice". Rebuke the students perceiving no "choice" but to transfer, where often unwanted, for quality educational opportunities. Rebuke the unfortunate lottery losers, forced to attend poor-quality schools with inadequate program offerings not of their "choice".

    Nielsen defends the PPS transfer policy despite its recent city/county audit determining that no objectives were met, while negatively portraying those endeavoring to restore choice to all families as attempting to eliminate it. The "vocal supporters of Jefferson High School", Neighborhood Schools Alliance and school board candidate Ruth Adkins endorse every family's right to choose equitable, comprehensive, quality schools in their neighborhood, with a broad array of district focus-options.

    Vote Ruth!

  • Joe (unverified)
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    Ruth Adkins for School Board

    Despite overwhelming and widespread public opposition, Doug Morgan demonstrated his unrelenting allegiance to Vicki Phillips by supporting every proposal, including those driven and funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Phillips, duly rewarded by Gates, is now leaving for greener pastures - while Portland students and families are left to cope with the undesired results.

    Morgan repeatedly ignored the wishes of the very families he was elected to represent and serve. The Oregonian, Willamette Week, Portland Tribune and others made a wise decision in their endorsement of Ruth Adkins, a school board candidate who values the voice of Portland families and understands that PPS decisions must have parent and community support to ensure success.

  • Shirley (unverified)
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    Check out the below post by Michele Schultz @vote4michele. If only we had her and Ruth Adkins on the board before this latest Jefferson re-re-re-re-re-design "disaster" orchestrated by Bill Gates/Vicki Phillips, and blindly approved (despite overwhelming objections by hundreds in the community) by Morgan, Wynde and the rest of the board.

    Schultz and Adkins have the type of collaborative management style that will reconnect and uplift families throughout Portland - a win/win for our schools and our city. Forced, top-down decisions that directly affect our precious children and communities simply will not succeed.

    The Final Jefferson Redesign Posted May 7th, 2007 by Michele Schultz

            Over the past three decades, ever since the advent of desegregation on a national scale, Jefferson High School has been the subject of well-meaning but costly and ineffective experimentation.  Program after program has been implemented in the hopes of desegregating the school and raising achievement, in the end accomplishing just the opposite.  The most recent “redesign,” still under way, will split a very underenrolled high school into four very small academies, two of which will place boys and girls (in grades 6-12 for girls, and 7-12 for boys) in buildings three miles apart. No other PPS high school has any similar arrangements.
    
            Why have so many well-intended efforts gone so wrong?  Because they were driven by the central administration and not by the affected community.  When was the last time we asked the 75% of Jefferson neighborhood parents who send their children to other high schools what it would take to bring them back to Jefferson?
    
            Currently, Jefferson parents are still asking for the “redesign” plan to slow down or be rewritten because they still are not comfortable with it.  If they are not heard, if their needs are not respected, then what chance of success will this latest “redesign” have? I understand that, like in any neighborhood or community, there are different opinions within the Jefferson community - but we need to honor those opinions and listen carefully when parents of the Jefferson community raise concerns.
    
            I would like to propose one final “redesign” of Jefferson High School.  But this one will be different from all the others.  It will be different because it will BEGIN with parents instead of proposals.  And it will seek out the parents whose children attend other high schools, and ask them what we can do to bring them back to Jefferson.  And it will also seek out parents of middle schoolers to ask them what would attract them to Jefferson.  And it will implement no plans that do not have parental and community support.  If elected to the PPS School Board, I will not support any plan for Jefferson that does not satisfy these criteria.
    

    visit vote4michele.com

  • Lila (unverified)
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    Quote from Doretta Schrock, VP of the Kenton Neighborhood Association.

    “What it comes down to is there are parts of the city where if you want the best education for your kid, you have to leave your neighborhood school,” she said.

    This situation does not occur in Beaverton School District. All their neighborhood schools are strong and equitable - with plenty of other focus-option schools and programs for those seeking something smaller or more focused than their neighborhood schools.

    They value choice but do not allow neighborhood school to neighborhood school transfers. It's successful there because all the neighborhood schools offer a wide array of curriculum, programs and activities; they are equitable. No matter where you live or how much your parents make or the color of your skin, you will get the same quality education and wide range of choices as every other student.

    Vote Ruth Adkins and Michele Schultz for strong neighborhood schools AND choice. We can have both!!!

  • (Show?)

    I just have a question for any of the candidates, and as disclosure I am not in the PPS district. How will you maintain the integrity of Benson High School to make sure it continues to be a strong school?

  • Sid Leader (unverified)
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    My question for any school board member: Will you rely 110 percent on your search committee's choice for super, of will you also READ THE NEWSPAPERS this time?

    A simple quarter in the newspaper box would have saved PPS millions of dollars in horrible hires, like Ben Canada, Susie Dyer, and Hurricane Vicki who all seem to leave their jobs with more questions than when they started.

    All I ask is that you read the newspapers and talk to people besides the over-dressed and overpaid combover consultants who've taught even less school than Vicki has, if that is possible.

  • trueblue (unverified)
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    I've got a question for candidates, especially Ruth Adkins and Michelle Schultz (since we know where Morgan and Wynde stand). Vicki Phillips' K-8 consolidation initiative is only partially completed and lacks legitimacy in the eyes of many due to defects in the process leading up to the vote. Will you support a reexamination of the k-8, 400-600 student "mandate" still being rolled out by PPS? Could you support a vote reversing some of what Hurricane Vicki hath wrought? This is the elephant in the room and I don't hear anyone speaking to it.

  • BookLady (unverified)
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    Do you know that VP's budget for 2007-8, approved by the Board, is CUTTING STAFFING (fte) at all Portland schools which do not currently meet her magic 400 kid enrollment number?

    In the year where everyone is sighing with relief that there are no budget cuts, my child's school is losing teachers!

    I have personally spoken with both Michele & Ruth. Both of them openly & honestly question this 400 mandate. Doug and David do not. They've bought it hook, line, and I hope sinker.

  • trueblue (unverified)
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    Booklady writes:

    I have personally spoken with both Michele & Ruth. Both of them openly & honestly question this 400 mandate. Doug and David do not. They've bought it hook, line, and I hope sinker

    My question:

    I know that at least Ruth Adkins questions the legitimacy of the 400-600 "mandate." My question is are Michelle and Ruth willing to tackle a possible ROLLBACK of some of the reconfiguration that has occurred over the past couple of years.

  • Sharon Keast (unverified)
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    I am voting for Ruth Adkins and Michele Schultz. These candidates have things in common that are important to me - a passion for better schools for all of Portland, no conflicts of priorities, no burnt bridges with the neighborhoods they will serve and they are well qualified to hire an effective superintendent. Ruth and Michele have children attending PPS and have been volunteering for several years in schools. I am looking forward to a school board that will work united with legislators, parents and school organizations. I have a child at Winterhaven (focus option school) and one at Stephenson Elementary (neighborhood school).

  • Zarwen (unverified)
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    Trueblue, if you read Michele's post above (copied in "Shirley's" post), I think you will have the answer to your question.

  • Zarwen (unverified)
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    Trueblue, if you read Michele's post above (copied in "Shirley's" post), I think you will have the answer to your question.

  • BookLady (unverified)
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    Hi trueblue (great name by the way)

    Do you think David & Doug are willing to tackle a possible ROLLBACK of some of the reconfiguration that has occurred over the past couple of years?

    BookLady

  • trueblue (unverified)
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    Booklady writes:

    Do you think David & Doug are willing to tackle a possible ROLLBACK of some of the reconfiguration that has occurred over the past couple of years?

    Trueblue responds:

    No, Wynde is still patting himself on the back for the mess he helped make. But, beyond Jefferson, I don't know if ANY of the candidates is willing to try to undo some of the harm that has been done.

  • BookLady (unverified)
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    Ahh . . . trueblue,

    It is terribly true that it is impossible to "undo" harm once done, is it not?

    However, once done, how do you proceed? That is what this election will determine. Do you justify and continue more of the same, a la David/Doug supporters? Do you say "wait a minute, we need to do something differently from now on" a la Michele/Ruth supporters?

    Both of these women have been leaders of their communities during challenging times. They have both been tried by fire. Those who have witnessed these trials speak of their characters.

    It is unfair to ask them to "undo." Mommy can't un-spill the milk. All she can do is mop up and pour another (a different) glass.

    The communities Michele and Ruth come from tell you they can deliver.

  • Zarwen (unverified)
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    Trueblue, they will need to hear from the specifically affected groups. I think that if parents lobby for a "rollback" for THEIR OWN specific school or cluster, they will find listening ears with Michele and Ruth, vs. deaf ears from Doug and David. I cannot see either challenger mounting a system-wide rollback--unless the demand for it would be system-wide, which it won't be. There are at least a few areas that are fine with the reconfigurations, and they should be allowed to keep them because it is what they want.

    This is the biggest difference between the ladies and the men: Michele and Ruth will not impose system-wide changes (whether "rolling forward" OR "rolling back") just because a superintendent, or anyone else, recommends it. They will always seek first to hear from the affected groups (AND study long-term ramifications, including cost-effectiveness) before acting.

    That is why I am voting for Schultz and Adkins for Portland School Board.

  • trueblue (unverified)
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    Booklady writes:

    It is terribly true that it is impossible to "undo" harm once done, is it not?

    Trueblue responds:

    Not so. Perhaps one cannot undo the pain endured during infliction of the harm. But undoing certain aspects of the reconfiguration, which remains substantially incomplete, is quite dooable. In fact, in some instances, the best interests of some children and some neighborhoods may require it. I understand you are attempting to deflect a hard question from candidates you support. Trust me, though, the pressure to do this will be there after the election, if Ruth and/or Michelle are elected. Its completely fair to raise the issue now, before the voting is completed.

  • BookLady (unverified)
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    Dear Trueblue,

    I am not attempting to deflect a hard question, nor do I think that you are unfair!

    Our friend Zarwen has good comments on this issue, too.

    You ask me to trust you. I ask you to trust me. I am not privy to insider knowledge of specifics which may be proposed by either of these candidates should they be elected, other than those publicaly posted by the candidates.

    I have looked at the backgrounds of these candidates. I have listened to those who know them, and spoken to each of them. I believe they have eaten their powder-milk biscuits and have the strength to get up and do what needs to be done. (to paraphrase GK)

  • Sid Leader (unverified)
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    So, my next question for any school board member or candidate is this:

    "Has the K-8 school model left the station or is there time to stop that runaway train before it goes over the cliff?"

    There are more than a few principals who are very very very concerned about 8th graders hanging with 5th graders (bathrooms + recess) and they say Dr. Vicki swore to them personally that she would support them in the changeover.

    Then, she split.

    So, do you think Hurricane Vicki will give those principals her new cell phone number in Seattle? I hear she'd love to get an Apple iPhone, but Big Bill won't let her.

  • trueblue (unverified)
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    Sid Leader writes:

    "Has the K-8 school model left the station or is there time to stop that runaway train before it goes over the cliff?"

    Trueblue sez:

    PPS continues to press ahead to try to make rollback more difficult. In some cases, PTAs and site councils have been dissolved and merged. Name changes are afoot. They're trying to get as much done as they can before a possible shift in the Board majority. (So much rides on this election--the board majority, the quality of our next Super) But, there is still time to question, reexamine, and reverse certain aspects of these changes. This whole K-8, 400-600 thing was visited upon us by the sheer force of Vickie's will to make high profile changes to get attention to get the next, bigger, higher paying job. It's a crying shame that our beautiful, collaborative city was victimized by the ambition of a single person, with the support of Board members who do NOT reflect the will or the character of its people.

  • TMT (unverified)
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    Sid, sorry to hear you have such a bad opinion of the K-8 school model. But then that's kind of what happens when something is shoved down your throat, isn't it?

    Actually, the K-8 model has many advantages. It's a shame that VP and the Board members have given our community such a distaste for the concept by riding rough-shod over the communities' concerns, instead of taking time to present those advantages along with other possible options and answer concerns BEFORE implementing such changes.

    Even though I actually like the K-8 model, I do not think it should be forced on a community. Schultz and Atkins have both campaigned on pro-community building platforms. Communities wishing to delay or halt these impending changes would find sympathetic ears on these candidates. Wynde and Morgan have shown themselves to be deaf.

    (Tho I've got news for you, 8th graders don't "hang with" 5th graders even if they are in the same building. Who are these "principals" who are concerned about this?)

  • ThisisVickie'sBrainonDrugs (unverified)
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    I agree with TMT; there is nothing inherently wrong with K-8. In some cases, it may be preferable to other configurations. In other cases not. The problem, in addition to the aforementioned throat ramming (ahem), is that Vickie's one-size-fits-all approach is itself inherently flawed. Every school has to be 400-600. Every school must have a uniform curriculum. Every school must become K-8. Uniformity uber alles. Vickie knows best. Do not question or challenge. Nonsense. Why in God's name do some people support this sort of authoritarian, unimaginative malarky? Shame on Wynde, Regan, and Morgan for blindly following this oversimplified view of the world. How did we put up with this as long as we did without the rebellion spilling over the Blanchard ramparts? Thank god she's gone. Let's clean house of her admin chronies (you know who you are; get those resumes spiffed up now) pick up the pieces and move this District forward with Ruth and Michelle on the Board.

  • Michele Schultz (unverified)
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    I have just finished scanning these comments, and am again reminded about what a thoughtful and caring community we live in - I so hope that we can all continue to use our energy to continue to make positive changes for our schools.

    One piece I have spoken about alot is the K-8 issues. I feel strongly that making a "top-down" system change rarely is effective or cost efficient. I wish that PPS would have explored the K-8 model in a more scientific way - doing a pilot project with a few schools that WANTED that configuration. Then we would learn about what a change to that configuration means for a school, what are the costs, what are the staffing issues, what do parents and students need to know.... and then we would have had local and meaningful information to look at further system change. I am not sure what the range of options are for schools in the future - but I do know that as a board member I would make sure the board was paying good attention to the needs of schools, especially those schools in transition, and not allowing the Superintendent search to take all of their attention away from the unfinished business in the district.

    The second piece that I have found really intriguing is the 400-600 "mandate" for school size. Again, I am not aware that this was ever board policy - but simply an organizational rationale for making system changes... I am not sure where setting quotas for schools buildings would ever be an appropriate board policy. What is more meaningful information for me, and I think for the fiscal management of the system is are schools being used at capacity - and where we have lots of unused classrooms what can we do about that?

    Part of what has prompted me to run for the board has been that in the Spring of 2006 the board and district tangled together these two issues of building utilization - along with the how "services" were delivered within that building - changing some schools to a K-8. What resulted was confusion and questionable decision-making at times. It is still breathtaking to me that such significant decisions were made for the elementary and middle school systems on such a close board vote of 4-3.

    I have some more pieces on my website about school closures, etc. if anyone wants to check those out - www.vote4michele.com

    Michele Schultz Candidate for Portland School Board

  • trueblue (unverified)
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    You've got my vote Michele. But some of these ideas you mention. You think PPS should be thoughtful, judicious and deliberate in the way it goes about making changes? Easy for you to say. You only want to improve the District. But, I ask you. How are gunslinger Supers going to make a name for themselves in the Wild West that way? No one's ever made it to the pearly Gates by quietly going about doing their job. We need headlines baby, big BIG headlines. HURRICANE VICKIE STRIKES AGAIN. I hope I've made my point.

  • Sid Leader (unverified)
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    I'd like to thank Michelle and Ruth for having the courage to run and the wisdom to put all their cards on the table BEFORE the school board election.

    I think Michelle's comment on our K-8 plans is spot on. Why did Hurricane Vicki have to ram it down our throats? Why not a pilot project and some real research? Great idea, too good for BESC, I guess.

    My final hope for our new Super is that he or she has a thick skin, and can handle professional criticism, unlike our current leader. As you all know, when two Lewis and Clark education professors e-mailed The Hurricane with their concerns on the new core curriculum, Vicki WENT OVER THE PROFS HEADS and e-mailed their boss, at L and C, saying how dare they criticize our leader. How dare they!

    http://www.wweek.com/editorial/3325/8908/

    Of course, it appears Lewis and Clark's ed department then leaked Dr. Phillips' e-mail, because Lewis and Clark College knows their teachers do more for this district daily than The Hurricane could if she stayed for another 30 years.

    It should be noted that Lewis and Clark ed professors have every right to criticize PPS because L and C ed students are our future teachers, who probably will not run away the first time someone dangles a few bucks in front of them.

  • Dave Porter (unverified)
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    To Douglas, who wrote: Using public funds to send students to study languages abroad? How about sending them to skiing tutorials in Aspen? Or squash lessons at private country clubs? Sheesh, if any candidate supports this idea, I want to know about it so I know who to vote against. With all respect, you've got to be kidding.

    First, no, I'm not kidding. It could be cheaper (tuition, transportation, room and board) to send a high school student to China or Mexico to study for a year than to a Portland high school. And they would learn lots more of the culture and language.

    Second, China, with more than four times the US population, will be the big challenge and opportunity for today's students. Their well-beings (from economics through war) will depend upon how they as a generation connect to China. We need to investg much more in teachng Mandarin and sending students to China to study. There's more at my China Connection website.

  • douglas (unverified)
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    Actually, Dave, I thought about this idea some more and I imagine it probably could be feasible. Sounds interesting, especially the China idea.

  • tammen (unverified)
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    Listen, Portlanders. Only once in a generation does a school board leader come along with financial, diplomatic, and planning skills. Now stop right here. I could go on. But the name you need to remember is Doug Morgan. Yes--I am a colleague of his but who better to make this judgment than someone who sees him operate with such a finely tuned sense of ethics and civic responsibility every day.

  • bingo (unverified)
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    I also want to thank Michele and Ruth, just for running. Contested races make for good democracy, right? I've heard from the incumbents about the benefits of continuity, and there may be something to that, but that does not mean that they should not be challenged. I only wish someone had stepped up to run against Directors Regan and Williams, too. Not because I am not grateful for their dedication and service and wisdom, and not because I have a hard time voting for their re-election. Just because I like contested races.

    That said, Ruth Adkins' assertion above that her position on school choice is not the same as the Neighborhood Schools Alliances position strikes me as "tacking to the center" for the election. I do see her more moderate position on her website, but I have a hard time believing that it this new stance is really deeply held. Still, I'm excited that she has put herself out there and run, and I can see voting for her.

    I've heard Michele Schultz speak at the candidate forum and to a smaller group, and she is extremely impressive. She seems to be extremely thoughtful and careful. Her common sense approach to the pace of changes is really refreshing. I love what she said above about Jefferson -- asking for parental input before making a plan? how radical!

    I do think the incumbents did an amazing job facing down the funding crisis and administrative instability of 4 years ago. They deserve thanks and praise for that. But I still wonder if they can switch their mindset away from the crisis mentality and get back to a more community-centered way of doing things.

  • bingo (unverified)
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    Oh, and the bit about the endorsements all coming out the same? That cracked me up too. It seems our fine journalistic institutions can handle some change, but not too much change. And I guess the professor has less juice than the banker when it comes to the editor's favorite charity auctions and the like. At least the Mercury had the guts to buck the kingmaker's line and endorse both challengers.

  • Ticked (unverified)
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    I am getting a little tired of hearing the virtues of "continuity" sited as reason to keep the incumbents in.

    The whole system of only voting for half of the board positions per election is designed to assure a good degree of continuity. And, only 2 of the 4 positions this year have even the possibility of change.

    Vote for incumbents if you like what they've done and want more of the same.

    Neither of the opposed incumbents has run on a platform of "hey look, I did what needed to be done then, but I can be flexible and change now that the situation has changed."

    They're both saying, I done good and intended to stay the course.

    This is my vote. And my message to them is, no you didn't and you won't, if I can help it.

    You 2 could have chosen to be fiscally responsible in a socially responsible way. Making big bucks for the Foundation by leasing and selling off prime real estate in desirable inner urban locations is not long-term fiscal responsibility.

    Would somebody please look into and expose David Wynde's conflicts of interest. Look at who poured big money into their campaigns last time. The Foundation, which has profited greatly by them closing schools and selling the property. Real estate and development interests.

    They're taking care of the bottom-line alright. Special interest bottom-lines.

  • blueteeth (unverified)
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    Tammen writes:

    Only once in a generation does a school board leader come along with financial, diplomatic, and planning skills [of Morgan].

    trueblue says:

    I'll grant you that Morgan seems a decent fellow. I accept that he's smart because people who have worked with him say so. I accept this notwithstanding the fact that I attended public meetings last year when his statements often were so diffuse and fuzzy as to be virtually meaningless. Since I accept he is sharp, I assume that, for some reason, he did not want to communicate in a clearer fashion. He, Phillips, Wynde, Regan and Sargeant were too busy steamrolling a concerned parent and teacher community to benefit from announcing the pogrom with too much precision.

    Decent chap or not, far from being a once in a generation Board director, it is not too great an exaggeration to say that it could take the better part of a generation to repair the damage that has been done. I'm glad you feel warmly towards your colleague. But, the record of the Board majority's conduct last year is writ plainly for all to see. It should not be a source of pride to them.

  • AET (unverified)
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    Do any readers of this blog know of a time when Doug Morgan voted against something Vicki Phillips recommended?

  • doug (unverified)
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    Continuity is the absolute bottom reason NOT to continue with this board. Get rid of the whole bunch and get some folks in there willing to question this allegiance to Gates grants and Broad Foundation training. Stop this train in its tracks.

  • TMT (unverified)
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    AET writes: Do any readers of this blog know of a time when Doug Morgan voted against something Vicki Phillips recommended?

    TMT sez: Why yes, funny you should ask. They (including Doug) did end up flip-flopping and voting against Vicky's proposal to close the teeny-tiny K-3 Alemeda area school. Seems somebody told somebody, don't mess with OUR school.

  • Zarwen (unverified)
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    TMT, I think you are referring to Hollyrood, which is in the Fernwood area. Amd the Board di not do a complete flip-flop. VP's original proposal was to close Hollyrood completely. (Outside concerns have been trying to get that property for years.) Under the old system, the children went to Laurelhurst for 4th and 5th grade and then Fernwood for middle school. Under the new arrangement, which was negotiated between the parents and the Board, Hollyrood will now operate as a K-2 "annex" of Fernwood, so the children will go directly to Fernwood at 3rd grade. The way to parents sold the concept to the Board was by pointing out that the District could save $ by not remodelling Fernwood for the little kids. But they had to give up Laurelhurst, and they also had to give up their principal; from now on the Fernwood principal will also be in charge of Hollyrood.

    My response to the original question posed by AET is: Morgan, Wynde, Regan and Sargent consistently voted "Yes" on VP's proposals, no matter how outlandish. They would later modify their stands only in response to STRONG parental pressure. Communities that didn't exert such pressure got the ram-down-the-throat treatment.

    Now that we're in election season, you can hear Morgan and Regan talking about how some situations were mishandled and how they want to repair relationships with the community. Dilafruz Williams seizes every possible opportunity to remind us that she voted "no" on these proposals. Only Wynde is, as Trueblue says, "still patting himself on the back for the mess he helped make." That is why I consider his removal from the Board paramount--even more important than getting rid of Morgan.

  • Ticked (unverified)
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    You may think that measure 37 and the school board election are 2 completely different issues, but they have a common thread: land grabbing for development by "outside interests." These "outside interests" have insiders on the board. It would be a good thing for PPS if they were once again outsiders.

  • trueblue (unverified)
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    Zarwen writes:

    Now that we're in election season, you can hear Morgan and Regan talking about how some situations were mishandled and how they want to repair relationships with the community.

    trueblue sez:

    Too damn late Bobbi and Doug! To borrow something all our mommas said to us, if Phillips told Regan, Wynde and Morgan to jump off a bridge, they woulda said, "which one?" Wynde, of course, would be wearing his trademark smirk and Bobbi her screw you grimace. Presumably, Morgan would be wearing the same befuddled look he wore through the entire process. One thing I will say for Morgan--and it ain't much--is he seemed less motivated by malice and power than Wynde and Regan, who were the worst of the worst--truly detestable little grinches. I mean with all due respect of course.

  • Jerry (unverified)
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    Well, this discussion has certainly degenerated. I, for one, bear no ill will toward the incumbent board members. They were faced with a serious fiscal crisis, which 15 years of state disinvestment had foisted upon them. I don't believe Morgan, Wynde, Regan and Williams made the decisions they made out of any desire to personally benefit themselves nor to advance any nefarious agenda. Indeed, they gave up hundreds of hours of their valuable personal time to do a truly thankless job. But, that doesn't mean I agree with the process they put forward or the decisions they made to implement their vision. Good, honorable people can make huge mistakes too. But they have a more difficult time admitting and reversing them.

    Therefore, I voted for the challengers (Ruth Adkins and Michele Shultz), as they have convinced me that they will spend more energy soliciting community input and solving problems and spend less time trying to force unsupported decisions on an unwilling populace.

  • jecado (unverified)
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    TMT hits the nail on the head. The school board is there as a check on the superintendent to make sure the entire community is represented. To go along with proposals without questioning them, and to permit processes that don't allow adequate analysis -- even if the proposals are ultimately shown best -- is a failure of the Board's core responsibility. At no time over the last 4 years have I seen Morgan, Wynde, or Regan challenge the Superintendent to prove that her proposal was the best one, or question her use of the data. That's true even though there have been repeated opportunities. Rather, the majority of the board has taken the approach that parents and community members who complain are merely whining, protecting their own, mouthing off, etc. That's just unacceptable.

    As others have pointed out, the only real changes to the original propoals by Phillips that have occurred have been in those few communities where parents, teachers, or community leaders have had the time, energy, and resources to force the superintendent (not the board -- these changes have always been initiated by the superintendent as best I can tell) to ease off. The result is not merely bad decisionmaking, but inequitable decisionmaking.

    Only a Board that asks real questions, and only a board that is really willing to listen to everyone, is a Board that is doing its job. This one hasn't. The challengers get my vote here.

  • trueblue (unverified)
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    Jerry writes:

    Well, this discussion has certainly degenerated. I, for one, bear no ill will toward the incumbent board members.

    trueblue sez:

    You're right. Sorry. Bobbi and Wynde both were pretty nasty to parents during the process last spring. I could recite specific incidents where both went over the top in their disdain for those challenging Queen Vickie's agenda. So, I meant what I said--I can't stand either one of them--but I don't mind keeping it to myself for purposes of this discussion. My best hope is they find themselves in the minority next term.

  • Zarwen (unverified)
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    MY best hope is they (or at least Wynde) find themselves OFF the Board next term!

  • trueblue (unverified)
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    It would have been nice if more of the important endorsement sources had been willing to endorse Michele Schultz. While Michele doesn't have the long list of credentials Ruth Adkins has, she seems clearly qualified and bright. So, she has more going for her than just being not-Wynde. Though, frankly, not-Wynde goes a long way for me.

  • Raised in PPS (unverified)
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    I would like to see a Superintendent and Board that creates a master plan for PPS. Yes we need to close schools and cut costs. Yes we need to improve school performance. But Phillips took a piece meal approach and took on the high visibility items that got her noticed and a new job. We need plans at the 30k foot level, not just 10k foot level.

    We shouldn’t leave neighborhoods without schools and others with multiple. We need to look at the demographics and use the most appropriate locations and upgrade or build new buildings to accommodate the students. Today, they are closing schools and shuffling students to now overcrowded buildings with multiple portables. Were all the portables considered when they closed schools? Were the average size of students today considered when these choices were made? Were the required rooms for classes past home room considered? No they weren’t because Mincberg and Phillips had no plan. “Plan as we go” is the quote I love from Mincberg.

    We should have a business plan the reinvigorates the PPS infrastructure, sells off unneeded assets and set us up for the next 50 years. Philips and the current board have not address the big picture. The board should have held her to a higher standard.

    There has been nothing done to actually fix clusters with issues. Bev Pruitt actually suggested to parents that a dance will make things better for the Madison Cluster. How about addressing Madison so families want there children to attend this school. It is the only high school (Oregonian article) that shows zero improvement after the switch to school within a school. But it got Gates money and new skate park. Watch for the soon to be published article (The Tribune) on the state of the closures. No planning has put teachers and administrator in a really tough position. Try implementing this without plan. Closure? Move? Merger? It changes with the wind and is one of the documented lies by Phillips and Mincberg.

    Regarding “tough decisions” and “Cutting costs” - This is all PR hype. When you don’t sell the properties or cut staff head count (RCP to GH), you have the EXACT same costs, but with something that Sarah Ames Carlin can go pitch for Ms Philips. Two building, same head count, You put Kindergartners in a middle school building, have more crowded rooms and a 40 block gap of no school in a neighborhood. The only tough decision is for parents to keep their children in PPS or go private.

    Morgan even acknowledges he may have made some poor decisions if you look at the league of Women Voters website. But he didn’t have the spine to change his vote. Trudy also stated publicly that she didn’t have all the information, yet they moved forward. We need board members who make informed decisions and revisit them if the environment changes or they realize the Superintendent was not providing all the facts.

    It is for this reason that we should vote out Morgan and Wynde and add new points of view to the board. Lastly, Dilafruz should run for Superintendent. Here is a person with a vision to make PPS a shining example of how an urban school district should operate.

  • blueteeth (unverified)
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    Raised in PPS writes:

    But Phillips took a piece meal approach and took on the high visibility items that got her noticed and a new job.

    Were the average size of students today considered when these choices were made? Were the required rooms for classes past home room considered? No they weren’t because Mincberg and Phillips had no plan. “Plan as we go” is the quote I love from Mincberg.

    trueblue says:

    You nailed the number 1 issue that sometimes is lost in the furor over the mishandling of parents and teachers. There was NO PLAN, save one. That plan, unfortunately, was Phillips' plan to use PPS as a platform to get a bigger job for more money. And, some fairly bright Board members were duped into supporting this "plan." Its hard to believe, but Phillips and company truly did launch a massive, district-wide reconfiguration without prior study, without support in the research, without consulting key constituents, without doing any of the things that are mandatory prerequisites to any change, much less the massive change unleashed on PPS over the past couple years. The electorate is right to be angry and those who supported Phillips in carrying out an agenda that benefited only Phillips must be held accountable. Throw the bum's out.

  • Raised in PPS (unverified)
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    The lack of planning and following process became crystal clear when the implementation of closing RCP was started. GH kept stating they were told it was a merger. RCP was told it was a closure and move in tact. Subtle but substantial difference in who becomes the instructors, etc. When PPS was asked to refer back to the documents for making this move, they found out that the paperwork was not complete and basically a cut/paste job for each closure. After a great deal of confusion and debate, RCP was told it was in fact a merger.

    Mind you Phillips then choose to use the AYP scores from RCP and toss out the liabilities of the GH scores. The result was PPS getting out of NCLB obligations. Wouldn’t it have been better to respond to the requested resources (requested by GH staff) to address the concentrated ESL and lower income students funneled heavily to GH after Whitaker closed? Again, they didn’t fix a cluster issue.

    Phillips and Mincberg snowed the board into believing they had done the due diligence. I don’t blame the board for being snowed. But I do blame them for not demanding all items be reconsidered once they knew process had not been followed. Wynde and Morgan could have done this, but didn’t. It is for this reason alone you should vote for Adkins and Schultz.

  • doug (unverified)
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    Dr. Phillips played a lot of word games like this in connection with the school closures. Board policies require the Superintendent's office to issue a Closure Report for any projected closure. The Closure Report evidences the detailed planning that was done in connection with the closure. Needless to say, Closure Reports were not completed in some cases. PPS attempted, unsuccessfully I think, to evade the Closure Report requirement by calling the closures "mergers." A lot of hocus pocus to avoid the planning. Actually, what they were really avoiding, I believe, was the public disclosure and public process that would have been entailed in any good faith planning process. That could have derailed or at least slowed down the reconfiguration. Phillips, and her supporters on the Board, preferred the blitzkreig approach, in which the community was scrambling to keep up with changes for which the skids had already been greased. Manipulative? Dishonest? The voters will be the judge in this election.

  • Ticked (unverified)
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    Has anyone read the Oregonian Metro piece: Charter refused for cash matters?

    People discontent with PPS schools have been trying to form charter schools. PPS keeps denying charters. This charter went to the state for approval, and got it, after being refused by PPS. Now PPS is refusing to lease them an empty, thanks to PPS, school building. Why? Because they want to sell it to a developer for housing.

    When PPS sells property the money doesn't go to PPS, it goes to the Foundation. Why is our Board of Directors making money for a Foundation at the expense of our kids and their education?

  • trueblue (unverified)
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    Now I'm ticked.

  • Ticked (unverified)
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    Follow the money.

    Check out Oregonlive.com op-ed piece Schools for Sale?

  • House Cleaner (unverified)
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    Off topic:

    Phillips is gone. The new Board and Super need to clean the Blanchard House of her chronies. Mincberg? See ya. Carlin-Ames? Bye-bye darlin'. Let these two and Phillips' other pals foul the nest at some other unfortunate school district.

  • Zarwen (unverified)
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    I am a little late coming into this part of the discussion, but I want to add to what "Raised in PPS" and and "Trueblue" were saying about the lack of a master plan for District facilities. There actually WAS a master plan, titled the "Long-Range Facilities Plan," approved by the School Board back in 2002 (before VP got here or any of the current members got on the Board). In fact,the document is still available on the District website--here is the link:

    http://www.pps.k12.or.us/news-c/long_range_facilities_plan.pdf

    This was an actual PLAN of the type Raised in PPS and Trueblue were talking about and was based on something like a year of research into neighborhood population projections, anticipated trends, age and condition of the buildings--I could go on, but I hope you get the idea, and you can visit that link to read it for yourself.

    The point I wanted to make is that the PPS Board approved this plan in 2002 and IT WAS NEVER RESCINDED. It would be interesting if a judge were to review this document and issue an opinion over whether a vote to rescind it should have taken place prior to the massive "reconfigurations" that were later passed by a new Board but were in direct opposition to this long-range plan.

    Since VP didn't come to town until 2004, whose job was it to brief her on this plan? The four Board members up for reelection cannot claim ignorance: if they were running for School Board in 2003, then they MUST have had some awareness of major Board actions in 2002. Yet I have heard Doug Morgan talk about reducing the District's "footprint" as if it were entirely VP's idea. Maybe the better question is, who decided to make this plan disappear, and WHY?

    Well, add all this to my list of reasons for voting for Schultz and Adkins.

  • PPS OH MY (unverified)
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    House Cleaner, THANK YOU! The momentum has to build to clean house, not only of board members and VP, but those monuments to idiocy they call a staff. CM? Toast! Heidi Franklin giving money to board members? Toast! Sara "everybody's lying, LYING I tell you!" Ames? TOAST! Morgan cleared the Citizens Strategic Planning Committee and other citizen committees of all the honest critics and specialist, right before killing them. The entire citizen participation structure must be overhauled, as what's left is a pure joke. PPOM

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    As a PPS parent with 3, soon to be 4, children in the schools, I find these debates sadly lacking. I've been through closure and redistricting wars in other districts, and I just cannot share the sunny optimism coming from Ruth and Michele's camp. Will I vote for Wynde and Morgan? I'm not sure, none of the choices seem good to me. I'd prefer a professionalized, paid school board.

    Above someone compared current class sizes to 1970 as a measure of success. Is this success? PPS has one of the shortest schools years nationwide and one of the largest average class sizes. My 1st grader is in a class of 28 and my daughter's seventh grade algebra class was 42. Those are facts, folks, not fantasies from the 1970s.

    Arts and sports have been AWOL from the middle schools in PPS (except for parent funded programs) for as long as we've lived here.

    Three years ago, the schools nearly closed a month early.

    The Portland population has been changing for nearly a decade. I don't want to start a debate about city policies that encourage density and may discourage some families, but face facts. We can't "partner" with the City to encourage families to live here when a small 3 brdm house costs more than 300,000 and for the same costs you can get more space and superior schools in all the suburbs.

    Whomever is on the next board must wrestle with serious issues facing the schools in the next decade. There are hard decisions to be made and there will be major parental opposition. I hear good things about bringing parents in as stakeholders from Ruth and Michele, but I see little indication that they recognize the deep budgetary and enrollment dilemmas faced by the district.

  • sjdprods (unverified)
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    Paul: The class sizes are still too large. Yet the district, and incumbents Morgan and Wynde, continue to talk about the need to further reduce the "footprint" of the district because they buy into these doom-and-gloom scenarios and view dramatic change as the only way to maintain broad community support for the schools. Morgan has repeatedly suggested in public forums , for instance, that the reason he voted for the reconfiguration was not because it was the best solution for the district, but because he'd seen a poll suggesting that business leaders still thought the district was inefficient, and they needed to make changes. So change was made, but not because it was the best educational decision.

    That's just not acceptable to me. The School Board needs to be a voice for the community, and an advocate for the schools. Adkins and Schultz will do that, and I'm convinced, for one, that an appropriate look at the facts and at what the district is doing right will be just as effective in persuading people to support the district as demonstrating that the district is making people "feel the pain."

    Furthermore, from what I've seen of the challengers, they don't have blinders on. Instead, they recognize the problems and have plenty of very specific and proactive ideas seeking to address them. Take a look, for instance, at the issues page on Adkins' web site. Many of the problems you identify are rooted in the poorly structured state funding system. The first issue that Adkins lists, above all others, is ensuring stable, adequate funding tied to the Quality Education Model adopted by the Department of Education. Adkins has worked on these funding issues for years, and will continue to do so from a more prominent position as a member on the School Board.

    On housing and marketing the district, Adkins advocates not merely for trying to talk families into coming into a city with expensive housing, but to work with the city to address and extend afforable housing within the city to more people. These challengers offer the best hope of improving the district in both the near term and the long run. I'd encourage you to vote for Adkins and Schultz.

  • trueblue (unverified)
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    Paul writes:

    Whomever is on the next board must wrestle with serious issues facing the schools in the next decade. There are hard decisions to be made and there will be major parental opposition.

    trueblue says:

    The dire predictions of declining enrollment are contra-factual. In fact, as Adkin points out on her website, enrollment in the district should be increasing rather than decreasing. Phillips and the current Board helped accelerate a negative self-fulfilling prophecy of declining enrollment over the next decade. Close a neighborhood school, weaken the neighborhood, damage parental loyalty to the district, encourage flight to the suburbs. They put into place a policy of failure based on faulty premises. That will need to be reversed by restoring the neighborhood schools, returning to the elementary, middle school, high school configuration, rebuilding trust and loyalty of district consitutuent--parents, students and teachers. Adkins and Schultz will bring a positive, realistic vision to the district to replace the self-fulfulling prophecy of defeatism that has reigned over the past few years. And, as to parental opposition--it should always, always be heeded. These are the canaries in the mine--NO ONE cares more about educational quality than the parents. That should never again be forgotten.

  • Zarwen (unverified)
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    ATTENTION EVERYONE:

    For anyone who thinks that Mr. Wynde does not need to be replaced immediately, kindly read this article in Willamette Week: http://www.wweek.com/wwire/?p=7901

    Jefferson is in Mr. Wynde's zone. Why does it continue to be on the receiving end of treatment that would never even be tried at any other school? And where is Mr. Wynde while all of this is going on? Why isn't he sticking up for the people and the schools in his zone?

    Now read Michele Schultz's piece titled "The Final Jefferson Redesign." You can find it higher up on this page under "Shirley's" post, or you can visit www.vote4michele.com and read it there.

    Which one of these people really deserves a seat on the PPS School Board?

  • doug winn (unverified)
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    It would be good if school board candidates would announce their support or lack thereof of Linda Christensen's reforms regarding PPS's multicultural curriculum. Linda's retirement last year was at least in part due to the demands made on her regarding anchor assignments and the like. Linda has been chosen Portland Schools Hero of the year and will be honored at Kennedy School on Sat. June 9th at 7 PM. Let me know if you have an interest in attending. School board member Dilafruz Williams will be speaking at this event. Portland school activists and supporters are invited to join us in honoring a master teacher who is a master teacher of teachers.

  • Zarwen (unverified)
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    It is also worth noting that our "master teacher who is a master teacher of teachers" endorsed Adkins and Schultz for School Board.

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    trueblue,

    Can you provide links to evidence that enrollment should be increasing, not decreasing? I don't know how you can claim this is "contra-factual" given these:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2005/03/24/national/24childless.html http://www.portlandtribune.com/news/story.php?story_id=32320

    And of course the population projections available at the PPS website, which has every interest in having the most precise estimates of all.

    I don't find factual claims that the school population is or "ought to be" increasing.

    Yes, she does claim that PPS policies have caused the flight to the suburbs, but I find this utterly unconvincing, given that the decline in school age population have been a occurring for nearly two decades, and the much maligned reconfigurations and closures occurred in the last few years.

  • trueblue (unverified)
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    Paul writes:

    Can you provide links to evidence that enrollment should be increasing, not decreasing?

    And of course the population projections available at the PPS website, which has every interest in having the most precise estimates of all.

    trueblue responds:

    I take it you are fairly new to this area else you would regard PPS figures with considerably more scepticism. PPS figures are notoriously unreliable and poorly supported. Tranparency at PPS is virtually non-existent. However, even PPS projects stabilized enrollment by 2010. Putting the actions of Phillips and the Board in the best light, their recent policies are an example of fighting the last war. Unless the district continues to alienate its core constituents with poorly planned and poorly executed strategies, the district must prepare for stabilized and increasing enrollment--quite the opposite of what you have been led to believe.

    On another topic, I thought Duin's column in the Sunday paper captured the current problem well. Rather than bring in another Superindent who will pursue the cold agenda of personal ambition, we need to vote on a Board and hire a new Superintendent who will once again put the best interests of the kids first.

    We have a golden opportunity now to tip the balance of power on the PPS Board and stop the misguided policies of the past few years in their tracks. Vote ADKINS and SCHULTZ.

  • sjdprods (unverified)
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    You have to take the PSU projections on the PPS web site with a very large grain of salt (something that you wouldn't know from listening to PPS statements over the last several years; the district leadership has been consistently unwilling to acknowledge the existence of data that remotely contradicts its position). At the school level, for instance, they're essentially useless; go back and look at the 2000 report's estimate of what the 2005 enrollment would be at the schools, and then compare it to the actual 2005 enrollment at those schools (taking into account shifts from closures, etc.). In the Cleveland / Wilson / Lincoln areas, at least (the ones I've looked at), you find errors of as much as 70%, with an average error of 20% or better.

    And as trueblue points out, even if you accept the overall estimates, the elementary-age populations are projected to stabilize and even grow over the next several years. And if you listen to the complaints from "overcrowded" Lincoln and West Sylvan, you see that this problem of "excess capacity" is only even arguably true in some places.

    It's all about doing the research rather than relying solely on the messages being propagated from PPS communications (at least under VP), and being proactive rather than reactive. Nothing that the current administration has done has helped accomplish those goals. Again, changes can and will need to be made, but don't assume that what you've heard has any connection to reality unless you know that the hard questions have been asked. Over the last four years, I don't see that they have been.

  • Raised in PPS (unverified)
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    Paul says "There are hard decisions to be made and there will be major parental opposition."

    For my perspective, if the entire PPS system were included in a fair and all inclusive master plan, I would support cuts, changes and hard decisions. There would be no opposition from my household. We need to make the hard decisions, but not in the fashion in which the current administration did them. For my cluster nothing substantial changed other than showboat moves by Philips and Mincberg.

    So now after all the turmoil, Philips and Mincberg choose to have a seminar on “Reshape Schools: Space and Shape”. Should not this have taken place before the shuffle? Seriously, how do you make decisions about our schools and then invite the public to provide input AFTER you made decisions and are on the way out the door?

    I really need to stop being floored by the decision making process of our superintendent.

  • Steve Buel (unverified)
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    Sure, I am voting for Adkins -- but the most serious problems in the district will still not be addressed. The middle school programs which feed Roosevelt, Madison, and Marshall are terrible. The object should be to involve children in these neighborhoods in their schools at the middle grades so this involvement will carry over into high school. This means sports, music, drama, dance, computers, and much more. There also is a dire lack of counseling in these schools. Hence, the dropout problems, the drug problems, the alcohol problems, the early sex problems, the anti-school attitude problems, and the transfer problems are not really addressed. The main reason is the school board is controlled by the two upper middle class organizations, the School Foundation and Stand for Children. The people in charge of these organizations don't live in poor neighborhoods, don't send their kids to these schools, don't work in these neighborhoods, and don't have priorities in these neighborhoods. So, the schools that feed Wilson, Lincoln, parts of Grant and parts of Cleveland contine to flourish while the others languish. Besides, it is political suicide in Portland school politics to go against these two organizations. So there is little or no hope that the school district will genuinely attack the problems in poor neighborhoods. If you care about your kid and are politically aware -- you flee. The solution is not to stop the transfers as some suggest (a disaster for the middle class at this point) but to make thes schools in poor neighborhoods work. That's what Vacouver does. Of course Vancouver still elects people who care about the school district as a whole. Portland has given up on that.

  • Zarwen (unverified)
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    In that case, Steve, you have all the more reason to vote for Michele Schultz, too--because she has no ties to either of the "two upper middle class organizations"!

    I completely agree with you about the PPS Foundation. Yet another terrific example of a good idea gone wrong. Check out this link on Willamette Week (http://www.wweek.com/wwire/?p=7901) that I referred to earlier to see what kind of things they are doing with their money at the schools in poor neighborhoods. It's absolutely appalling. I would love to see the Foundation dismantled, but that's a discussion for another thread.

  • trueblue (unverified)
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    Raised in PPS writes:

    Seriously, how do you make decisions about our schools and then invite the public to provide input AFTER you made decisions and are on the way out the door?

    I really need to stop being floored by the decision making process of our superintendent.

    trueblue says:

    It took me awhile as well to understand that Phillips and the PPS staff simply were not dealing in good faith with the larger community. The MO throughout has been to make decisions first and only then have a sham public "process" to whitewash the preordained decisions. Absolutely unforgiveable in my book. The Phillips chronies who remain need to get the boot for their participation in the farce.

  • Raised in PPS (unverified)
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    Steve Buel said "The solution is not to stop the transfers as some suggest (a disaster for the middle class at this point) but to make these schools in poor neighborhoods work."

    I agree. For example, If GH (and other feeders) was addressed with resources as requested by staff, students and families wouldn't have fled to Grant instead of Madison. The boundary issue would not even be a consideration if Madison were somewhere you wanted you children to be (Please note I am not dinging the hardworking staff at GH or Madison as many of their requests fell on deaf ears). Put resources here and families won't transfer. Who wouldn’t want their children at a well run, well performing sub 1000 student HS, verse the mega-school Grant has become. People want their neighborhood school to be “their” school.

    Trueblue - LSAC is a perfect example of the sham you refer to.

    Vote ADKINS and SCHULTZ.

  • trueblue (unverified)
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    Zarwen writes:

    I would love to see the Foundation dismantled, but that's a discussion for another thread.

    trueblue says:

    It is anamolous that conservative influences have gained such a chokehold on PPS and the Board in a city that, overall, is rather progressive. I often have wondered how it is that the District fails to reflect to culture and sensibilities of the larger community. Though it is difficult to get a grip on the all the machinations, it does seem to me that the Foundation has played an important role in moving the district well to the right of its constituency. That needs to be corrected. How do we lessen the Foundation's influence on school policy? Stand for Children, I will leave to another post. That's one strange duck.

  • drumz (unverified)
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    I'm new to the area but have 2 school age kids (Lincoln H.S and West Sylvan). Where do I get reccomendations for the other positions besides Adkins and Schultz (my choices)? Thanks!

  • trueblue (unverified)
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    Today we learn whether grass roots activists can beat back the Foundation/Portland Business Alliance/Phillips MACHINE. Go RUTH ADKINS and MICHELE SCHULTZ!!

    Drumz--other PPS candidates are running uncontested. Dilafruz Williams is a gem-cast a vote in support for her. Bobbi Regan is part of the problem. Write in the alternate candidate of your choice (Word is that "anybody else" has a pretty good shot at taking Regan's seat).

  • Meagan (unverified)
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    Yahooooooooooo! RUTH YOU GO GIRL !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Breaking that bull shi.... school board that kisses vp's ass.....Thanks!

  • trueblue (unverified)
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    Ruth Adkins decisive victory against incumbent Morgan sends PPS a very clear message. The community is FED UP with Phillips/PPS Staff b.s. Change for the better is coming. Nice sendoff for carpetbagger Phillips. Good bye and good riddance!

    <h2>Congratulations to Ruth for all the hard work and the election victory. You deserve it!</h2>
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