The K-8 Transition

8:03 am

We know that the completing the K-8 transition is one of the top priorities of Carole Smith. We all know that to date, the transition has been rocky. Many schools do not have space. Some comprehensive middle schools seem slated to be kept open, while some clusters, like Jefferson, have had all their middle schools either closed or converted (despite having one school without enough space to even add sixth grade).

I was unable to attend the meeting last night at Rigler… Who went? How did it go?

I’ve set up a forum for this topic, since it’s probably going to be a hot one for a while. Feel free to start new topics there, or leave comments here.

Share or print:
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • email
  • Print

Steve Rawley published PPS Equity from 2008 to 2010, when he moved his family out of the district.

filed under: Equity, Facilities, Forum, K-8 Transistion, School Closures

follow responses with RSS

39 Responses

  1. Comment from Nancy:

    Great article that talks about the pitfalls of K-8 schools in PPS just out by Beth at Willamette Week, called “Schooling the Superintendent on K-8s”.

    WWire: Latest News –

  2. Comment from Nancy:

    Here’s a better link to the WW K-8 article:

  3. Comment from Gretchen Hollands:

    Here are my meeting notes – not perfect but if they help please post. Gretchen Hollands

    Tuesday 2/20/08 at Rigler K-8 6:30 to 8:30 pm

    The local/regional PTA office worked with school PTAs and PTOs to organize a meeting with Carole Smith, Superintendent, on the K-8 transitions. I was late but here are my notes from the second speaker onward. The format was that each school had three minutes to speak. It is pretty hard to capture that much testimony accurately with nuance and qualifiers – I did my best. There is a “shared vision” statement at the end and Superintendent Smith’s response.

    The parents in the audience stood up when a speaker hit upon a point they felt was an issue at their school. The top concerns I noticed:

    • The k-8s aren’t providing or can’t provide rigorous or even appropriate curriculum to prepare students for high school classes, let alone AP and IB.

    • Huge response to “What is the District’s vision of a K-8?”

    • Absence of enrichment classes, library materials/staff, PE/PE facilities, lockers, language and elective choices at most schools

    • Too many changes, too fast without process/input/support

    Creston went first and I missed most of the testimony.
    Beech – Lack of arts, music. Foundation system unfair. In Jefferson cluster – no place for their students to graduate to that will continue higher level courses.

    Laurelhurst – Raises lots of money to support accelerated Math, Spanish and band. Not sustainable to ask parents to pay for these classes year after year. Must have these classes to prep for HS and AP classes. Many parents surveyed for concerns:

    1. District communication is poor
    2. schools/parents need to be involved in planning for changes
    3. Enrichment is a District responsibility
    4. facilities not adequate for PE and music, losing the computer lab for a sci. lab.

    Sabin – Happy with some parts of k-8 – the stability for students and age diversity. Challenged by lack of updated facilities – 1920’s era building, many parents surveyed, PTA, Wellness committee input:

    1. need new gym that isn’t the cafeteria, limited time for the kids to eat/play, gym not available during three periods of lunch, no additional space for science or art.
    2. needs new outdoor facilities, equipment has health, safety risks.
    3. Newest book in the library is from 1988 – needs computer labs, sci labs, AP prep classes/ career oriented classes
    4. they have a great art teacher who can’t expand classes.
    5. need more electives, art, drama, band
    Arleta – happy with k-8 needs elective classes better facilities. Everything is too small for upper grades – desks, chairs, bathrooms, classrooms, equipment. Too many lunch periods, not enough time to eat/play.

    Are now excluding outside users/community use of building because of limited space.

    Staffing – not enough. Not enough electives, art, music, PE, language. Kids get PE three times a week for 30minutes and there are no showers.

    Need a student management specialist and 2 full time secretaries.

    Humbolt – Small classes 15 students in each grade 6/7. Space for 430/enrollment 240. Cant’ compete with other schools, no science lab, no languages, no SUN school, more than 90% free and reduced lunch kids, Tubman option closed.

    Lack of freedom for upper class commensurate with age, no MS option for Jefferson cluster kids

    Irvington – embraced k-8, good school climate, community, teacher relationships

    Problems – academic rigor has suffered – lack of support from PPS, financial and guidance/communication

    Need more money for programs/staff

    Enrichment block scheduling program leaves kids without a teacher for three hours each week.

    No depth or breadth to the program – not prepping for HS

    K-5 is also suffering – too much time/attention going to implementation of k-8

    Lack of counseling

    k-8 supported by parent donations – not sustainable

    Pennisula – like some things about k-8 need more support from PPS

    No enrichment, no drama, art, music, no counselor, no student management specialist, no IT, computers and a barely functioning library. No system in the library, no way to find a book, books outdated.

    What is the District’s vision for K-8?
    Credit teachers with working hard.

    Lent – k-7 working well compared to previous schools/stories heard tonight.

    SPACE – main problem classes with no room, no nurse or area for sick kids to go, no lockers – textbooks deteriorating since they are carried all day, home and back to school every day, burden for students.

    No PE or sports program, kids aren’t engaged at HS prep level

    PPS needs to do more/better communication especially around legislative issues/getting more money from the State/pressure on Salem

    Parents need to be included in the decision-making and implementation of changes.

    Roseway Heights – Rose City plus Gregory Heights – building space o.k. but condition poor – leaky roof and windows. Sci/computer labs in bad location/can’t move. New playground inadequate. No whiteboards, projectors, maps, screens.

    No equity with other schools

    No rigorous HS prep.

    SUN school at risk, less electives. Staff needs unmet.

    Staff needs communication training for all ages. Busses are late. Need counselors, VP/AP more staff supervision.

    Parents are holding it all together but parents want to leave school.

    Faubion – pre-k to 7th/ enrollment 359 good staff/SUN school, good sports, science lab, good math program, band program.

    No lockers, principal had to pay for lockers with school money, parents came in over summer to clean and paint, PPS charged school to install lockers.

    Very limited space, no space to grow – new pre-K class needed – no room.

    Only enough computers to do the testing – never time to use for class projects/ lack of HS prep classes.

    Skyline – k-8 , amazing principal, 270 kids good language, arts, PE, music and a computer lab. Good access to teachers/teacher student relatioship.

    Lack of district support – principal and friends moved computer lab over a weekend.

    Staggered lunches, staggered music programs at night, lack of school unity.

    Classes are too small – kids don’t have enough friends to choose from and worried about the transition to Lincoln –a big school. No lockers

    Overall funding a concern/parents are really stepping up

    Vernon – echo concerns at other schools – overall health issues/lack of equipment/no PE/ No showers/No lockers. Other districts have all this and band and Jazz band.

    No parents to fundraise at her schools/no chance to enrich via parents. No access to Foundation funds. Worried that there is no prep for HS and Jefferson cluster has no continuing program

    Boise-Elliot – Struggling with k-8. Lost enrollment from 650 to 350. Private schools/other schools with more options.

    No extras are offered. Want IB prep.
    6-8 grade teachers not qualified to teach Science –no science for two years for students.
    No music, no lockers, no shelves for library books, no librarian, no languages.
    Average age of library book – 1968
    Same problems with lunches/gym/cafeteria
    Parents paying for extras out of their pockets.

    Rigler – new to school and many great things about Rigler but problems:

    Lack of process/parent involvement and poor communication from PPS
    Social/cultural/economic issues not addressed.
    All school configurations must be supported – many schools are the wrong size – too small-too big.

    Hollyrood/Fernwood – Too much change, too fast. Averted crisis but still very much strapped. PPS promises of support, fallen short.

    School composition changing, people leaving for other options.
    Lack of FTE, lack of ALL enrichments, very thin, not enough electives for HS prep

    Bridger – Lack of support from PPS

    1. lunch – MS parents being charged for MS lunch but kids get elementary portions
    2. 3 periods for lunch, first one starts too early
    3. no time to eat and have recess
    4. no lockers – books heavy – burden to pay for lockers on school
    5. no electives
    6. library books old, no shelves, hand-me-downs
    7. should have tested the process before implementation
    8. kids are suffering

    King – School has lots of great things – SUN school/ lockers/Touchstone/ language/ basketball team/good facilities – none from PPS willingly. Paretns had to yell and scream to get results. Advice to parents to be pro-active.

    Will graduate 26 8th graders they have no advanced curriclum only one math class that kids from other schools are bussed in to take.

    Need a partnership with the next level – HS and be doing HS prep/IB Not strong academic program, no librarian. Hold PPS accountable.

    This k-8 model should be as good as MS model but it isn’t. It is not supported by PPS.

    Woodlawn – school has a c level rating. Facilities are bad. No lockers, no teachers who specialized in science or math. no Algebra. Music was cut last year, students aren’t prepared for the real world. TAG cut. Parents are doing a lot including landscaping.

    Kids are suffering.

    Hayhurst/Odyssey – k-8 and k-5 have different problems share some needs. Mostly talked about Odyssey being a Focus Option, not marketed by PPS.

    Library is insufficient, no maps, atlases, no MS books, no librarian.

    All enrollment is thru word of mouth. Bridlemile kids could be bussed to support enrollment but they aren’t told about the program. Would like free bussing for transfers like they get to Gray MS.

    An Irvington parents did a wrap up and discussed a “shared vision” to implement with equity and integrity:

    1. enrichments – art, music, drama, band, lauguages, PE
    2. higher level prep classes
    3. access to student supports without sacrificing FTE (from PPS/not reshuffle at school)
    4. regular access to working computers for more than testing
    5. science labs
    6. library books and librarians

    Response by Carole Smith – wants to help right now and has staff working on it. Wants to see this group of parents again, probably in May. Appreciates parents coming out and giving her so much info.

  4. Comment from Steve Rawley:

    Thanks so much for that detailed recap, Gretchen. Things sound worse than I thought.

    Now, somebody please correct me if I’m wrong, but it seems like we had a working system of k-5, 6-8 and 9-12. Now it sounds like we are completely failing our middle schoolers.

    Was the old system so broken we had to do this? Is it too late to say we made a mistake and go back to middle schools?

    Will the community be happy if we have one middle school per “quadrant” (i.e. N, NE, SE and W)? Or do we need one per cluster?

    Bottom line from where I sit: Vicki Phillips promised K-8 would be a way to get more “enrichment” to the k-5 grades. In reality, it’s been a way to take it away from grades 6-8.

  5. Comment from Zarwen:


    You are missing the point. Vicki’s agenda was to close as many buildings as possible so they could be sold and the business community (to which most of the school board has connections) thereby enriched. The K-8 conversion was simply a means to get there, nothing more.

  6. Comment from Steve Rawley:

    Okay, I’m willing to believe that, but I’m also willing to take the face value rationale and say it hasn’t worked out the way it was promised.

    Whatever the case may be, I think we need to examine whether K-8 is the right fit for us, rather than just pushing it through. It’s never too late to turn back if an honest assessment shows we’ve made the wrong decision.

    Maybe Superintendent Smith should start out by articulating a reason for pushing the K-8 transition through.

    Hey, maybe it is the best thing to do, and maybe we just need to plan a little better. But I still want somebody to tell me what was so wrong with middle schools that we’re continuing to embark on such a rocky path away from them.

  7. Comment from NP:

    Shouldn’t you also ask, if there’s something so wrong with middle schools why aren’t we transitioning to K-8s across the district? Not all areas are being stripped of the middle school option. Of the board members who have children in PPS, how many live in a high school cluster without a middle school? I believe the answer is zero.

  8. Comment from Neisha:

    Wasn’t part of the rationale resetting the clock on NCLB penalties? I thought it was some sort of preemptive strike on middle schools.

  9. Comment from Neisha:

    Are Jefferson and Madison the only clusters without a middle school option? The more you look at it, the worse the whole thing looks in a city that’s supposed to be progressive.

  10. Comment from Zarwen:

    Technically, Jefferson does have a MS option. Ockley Green is a strange setup–a magnet school from K-5 (by application only) but a neighborhood school from 6-8. That is where the kids from Chief Joseph go, since it is too crowded to add 6-7-8.

    I can’t resist pointing out the reason for the crowding: Chief Joseph had to absorb the entire Kenton population. And what is the up-and-coming neighborhood for young families now, two years later? You guessed it–Kenton. The school has been leased to a Catholic school for the next 20 years. No doubt they will offer to buy it when their lease is up.

    So much stupidity. Applegate was consolidated with Woodlawn at the same time. In Vicki’s lusty rampage to empty our buildings with school board complicity, I am sure no one ever once suggested simply consolidating Kenton and Applegate with each other. Applegate was down to about 100 at the time, and Kenton could have absorbed that number easily, without overcrowding. Ah, hindsight.

  11. Comment from Zarwen:


    I think you are right about the NCLB rationale, at least in some instances, such as Kellogg, Binnsmead, Tubman, and Gregory Hts., perhaps also Portsmouth. Since these schools no longer exist, the NCLB penalties cannot be applied. Slick.

  12. Comment from Nicole:

    Chief Joseph students are assigned to Ockley Green for 6-8th grade, and there is a neighborhood preference at Ockely Green for 6-8 graders. But that doesn’t really mean that the Jefferson cluster has a middle school option. Ockley Green is a K-8 school, not a middle school, and it has a magnet school program for all grades.

  13. Comment from Neisha:

    Wait, so is Ockley *not* an arts magnet from 6-8? Or is it some sort of hybrid arts magnet/neighborhood middle school?

    And this still leaves the Madison cluster without a middle school, and with a space crisis at Rigler and Scott, right? Sigh.

  14. Comment from Neisha:

    Nicole, I think you and I posted at the same time. Thanks for the answer to my first question.

  15. Comment from Steve Buel:

    Geez, what a mess. Everyone wants to blame Vicki but there was a school board at the time who approved these changes. Where were they? Now where are they? It is like no one has a real handle on what is going on as a district. Shotgun approach to problems, but a school board who continues to look at the whole district through the eyes of Stand for Children and School Foundation members. They need to roll up their sleeves and go after these problems.

    I suggest the following:

    1) Get a good definition of what a good education looks like at each grade. Screw the tests. What should the education look like?

    2) Assess what the education looks like at each grade throughout the district in terms of offerings.

    3) Prioritize the importance of the various components to that good education.

    4) Figure out what needs to be done to reach equity within the system using the available funds.

    5) Implement the equitable arrangements.

    Also –
    Fix the hiring mess.
    Straighten out the enabling
    discipline policies.
    Focus principals on making
    their schools work for the
    next year and a half. Cut
    back on administrative
    meetings and keep the
    principals on site.
    Go after grants which increase
    the next unfunded programs
    in the priority list.

    And for gosh sakes buy some library books!!!!!!!!!!

    Instead we sit around and try to add a program here or there to molify who yells the loudest or has the most political clout. We work hard to look good when the real story is the place is falling apart. Putting up new paint over crumbling stucco — doesn’t work.

  16. Comment from Check This Out:

    Here’s what current school board member Ruth Adkins wrote to Scott Learn at the Oregonian on August 9, 2006:

    Dear Scott,

    Hi, hope you are doing well. Thanks very much for your article today on the middle vs. elementary school testing issue. I have been in a summer relaxation stupor, but this article got me right back into outrage mode!

    So…let me get this straight. Last year the entire district was thrown into total upheaval…all because the superintendent and her minions told us (over and over and over again) that the middle schools are “failing” and a “model that doesn’t work”….and now it turns out to be wrong and a misinterpretation of the data?

    You were very polite not to point this disparity out in the article…I think it is worth pointing out, and I hope the Oregonian will be following up on this issue as well as the progress of the various reconfigurations now in process.

    I, for one, am disgusted that the district either didn’t do its homework on the relative/actual difficulty levels of the tests, or worse yet, misled the public with the straw man of the “failure” of middle schools in order to go about a slash-and-burn reconfiguration of its own devising.

  17. Comment from Steve Buel:

    So Ruth got it finally. Hopefully she will get the bigger picture that the idea data driven education and educational supposed “research” somehow overshadow common sense when it comes to educational decisions is pretty much bunk.
    Here are a couple of other things she needs to get:

    If a child does poorly it is generally more the child’s fault than the teacher’s.

    Each child should have an equal chance to a good education based upon the child’s background and needs.

    If schools or classrooms aren’t reltively orderly then learning suffers.

    You can hire good teachers, but you need to make a serious effort to do it, not just sit back and let them come to you or have your district do what every other district does.

    Parents who transfer their children from one school to another generally do so for a reason. If you want to stabilize a school you have to address the problems in the school that caused the parents to transfer their children.

    Common sense. A great equalizer.

  18. Comment from NMLeggett:

    Steve Buel,
    If children preform poorly it can either equate to a child’s difference in learning style (teacher need ongoing training to be adaptive), disablity (teachers must recognize the need & have support staff to address these needs), or personal trauma. Home life instablity, lack of attenion, and/or abuse have a more to do with troubles at school then poor teaching. But please be careful not to blame the child personally. Though without learning and support it will become a personality problem.

    Parents who transfer their children from one school to another don’t have to have a reason in Portland and often don’t. Guttural prejudice (feelings of uncomfort around people that are different from you), fear (deisions made from opinion rather then fact), and/or sloth (unwillingness to make things better by involvement)play out here unchecked.

    The teacher hiring policy itself is to blame. Learn more at the Stand for Children web
    site then link Oregon then Portland. By the way; they tackle whatever their members want to. Would you like to meet with them ask them questions? I’m meeting with Kathy Couch on Thursday 4:30. Want to come? Or have me ask a ? for you?

    Common sense. A great equalizer.
    And greed the the destabilizing factor.

    Nicole Leggett

  19. Comment from Steve Buel:

    Nicole, after 40 years of teaching I can see how we are moving accountablilty from kids and shifting it to teachers. It is the wrong move. Teachers, of course, need to respond to the needs of children as individuals, but it doesn’t help children to enable them to think that what is actually their lack of effort or diligence is the fault of someone else or is, worse yet, something they can’t control. It’s not a matter of blame, it is a matter of respecting a student’s abilities and asking him or her to use them.

    The Stand for Children approach to the teacher hiring problems is geared to their upper middle class schools. I have offered many times to sit down with them and explain why this is so, and help them come up with a more equitable and stronger solution — one I have advocated for many years for instance. Their response, including from Jonah? No response, don’t even have the courtesy to answer my emails. It is the same response I always get from their organization — they are a great organization when it comes to Oregon, but when it comes to Portland their organization is probably the main reason that Portland’s lower economic neighborhood children languish in poor schools with little energy expended by PPS in genuinely attacking the problems that make this so.

    Sure, I’d love to meet with them. I’m in the phone book and they obviously have my email address. Give me a call. Maybe if they fix their proposal so it addresses the hiring problems in both the SFC neighborhood schools and schools which continually get the shaft by the present teacher transfer policies without any compensating equity then I won’t have to make it such a public issue. I wish it was so.

  20. Comment from NMLeggett:

    Steve Buel,
    You know the great thing about being young? Being able to learn, adapt, and grow. Please, I don’t blame anyone wishing to teach. Agreed, individual responsibility of the student really is the determining factor for success. But, if parent involvement has been shone to increase performance. Then, lack of involvement or other hardships could hinder development. It’s know that children living at the poverty line take more funds to educate. Yes anyone can raise above. But, there is no Guidance Councilor at their school to help them the build the self confidence to do so. Teaching Staff need more support with them and less management above them.
    I’ll be in touch for further Stand for Children talk.

    Thank you,
    Nicole Leggett

  21. Comment from Steve Buel:

    Nicole, You are absolutely correct. Your comments are the same as mine which say you must take into account the individuality of the student. If they need counseling then get it for them, if they are behind in reading then get them the help, if they don’t have parents that get them involved in after school activities then create those activities in the schools and get them involved. But often people want to say the singular factor in how well the student does in school is the teacher, not the student. Happens all the time. And it doesn’t help. Pretty much all it does is help create students who can’t take responsibility for their lives. Just what we need more of in this society. And when this happens, the scapegoating of teachers, then the far more important educational problems often go unaddressed — if even recognized.

  22. Comment from Check This Out:

    Kudos to current board member Ruth Adkins who questioned both the rationale and lack of adequate planning and support for the K-8 conversions by the former superintendent and school board.

    Kudos to Ruth Adkins who publicly and correctly articulated at that time that K-8 conversions would cause chaos if not properly executed and supported.

    Kudos to Ruth Adkins for previously and publicly attempting to hold the district accountable to provide the public “honest” rationale for K-8 conversions, and who articulated that these conversions were being unfairly implemented district-wide.

    She “got it” then and she “gets it” now.

  23. Comment from Whitebuffalo:


    Is that you???

  24. Comment from Wacky Mommy:

    Heh heh heh. It’s not Ruth.

  25. Comment from Neisha:

    Ooh, a mystery!

    Steve is right, how exactly is this better than middle school? Have we given up on electives and comprehensive schools for every child in every neighborhood all the way through high school? No more art, band, algebra, foreign language in middle school?

    I was talking to a dad from Sabin today and he said they will only have 18 eighth graders next year. That’s not enough for a class, they need 22 to avoid a 7/8 blend. So, what are those 8th graders going to get that will be better than what they could have received at Beaumont? But, at least that’s still available as an option for those individual kids.

    Now we’re back to the underlying gross inequities, since that’s not an option that exists everywhere, just like at the high school level. Why does it seem that every change that’s supposed to make things better seems to make things more inequitable?

  26. Comment from Zarwen:

    Because the people in charge care only about their own. Steve Buel has explained this eloquently many times.

  27. Comment from Neisha:

    Oh, I know. And that may be. I guess I’m just not cynical enough to truly buy that. Not yet, anyway.

  28. Comment from Steve Buel:

    Another problem is that the schools are afraid to truly address the problems. In order to address them the administration has to first identify them. There is a built in PR system that stops people from actually identifying the problems. For instance, what teacher wants to suggest their classroom is out of control as pretty much every classroom was in the middle school I taught in years ago — including my own by the way. And what principal is willing to say their school pretty much stinks as my middle school did when I taught in Portland. And if teachers and principals should say this then what Portland administrators are willing to say that most of the schools in Portland aren’t really very good and will back up the teachers and principals. You see, the system itself sets up the necessity for phony PR. And so nothing really gets addressed since no one wants to admit it is as bad as it is. And since the problems neither get addressed adequately or identified adequately then the schools which work are only those in the upper middle class neighborhoods which have the parent support and students who misbehave less and need less extra help. So fixing the problems in those schools becomes more a matter of tweaking or adding on things, not entirely overhauling the school which when done creates incredible blowback for the teachers, the principal, and the administration which also blows back on the school board. Nobody wants that to save kids who don’t have any influential lobby, so to speak.

  29. Comment from Neisha:

    Thanks, this is helpful. It sounds like we need to get more people on the school board who can speak for the Jefferson and Madison clusters which seem to have received the deepest cuts.

    Also, I had no idea that west side middle schools all offered algebra 1 & 2 and geometry, until someone posted something about one school on Terry Olson’s blog. I then checked out the other two schools and found that the math offerings were the same. It’s completely bizarre to me that one school district has all these little fiefdoms with radically different course offerings.

  30. Comment from Steve Buel:

    Neisha, there are 4 fiefdoms. 1) Wilson, Lincoln, parts of Cleveland and parts of Grant 2)the Jefferson cluster 3) Roosevelt, Madison, and Marshall clusters and 4) Everything else, which is basically Franklin.

    If you use this as your guide you can much more clearly see the inequities and the background behind the various issues.

  31. Comment from Neisha:

    That makes sense, Steve B, except I live in the Grant cluster and we don’t have the middle school math offerings that they have on the West Side or at Sellwood, either. I think Lincoln and Wilson are in a separate fiefdom from Grant, Cleveland and Franklin. All of which, I realize, is splitting hairs considering the outrageous inequities at the high school level between Jefferson and pretty much everyone else.

  32. Comment from Steve Buel:

    Neisha, splitting hairs can be interesting. I pretty much count the upper economic areas of Grant and Cleveland in fiefdom 1, but the less afluent areas of those two schools are in other fiefdoms. When they are mixed at the H.S. and M.S. levels there is some dilution of the education. Does the theory hold? Pretty good — over the years.

  33. Comment from Neisha:

    Steve, I can’t speak for Cleveland, although Sellwood and Hosford middle schools seem to have some inequities between them, and Mt. Tabor Middle school in the Franklin cluster could easily be in “fiefdom 1″.

    What I can tell you about Grant is that: the K-8s are split (compare Laurehurst with Boise-Eliot); the remaining elementary (Alameda) and the high school are “fiefdom 1″; and Beaumont is a fine middle school, but doesn’t have quite the course offerings of Jackson, Gray, West Sylvan, Sellwood or Mt. Tabor. Although, it may get there in a few years. So, a bit of a mixed bag, similar to Franklin and Cleveland, IMO.

  34. Comment from Steve Buel:

    Neisha, you are right on the money. Mt. Tabor does get close to fiefdom 1. Though I think they have done it with a lot of hard word, not so much just an upper middle class clientele. They also don’t get the attention within the city government which helps bolster the schools. All one big system, including the editors of The Oregonian. Watch what the support is when they start working on a new school at Lincoln.

  35. Comment from Neisha:

    I will keep an eye on that! The main point I was making is that there are only a couple of schools on the east side where a middle school student can take Algebra 2 or Geometry. However, these options are available to every single middle school student on the west side. This is odd to me, because we are supposed to be one school district (and most kids live on the east side). Plus, it’s not like this in other large Oregon districts (e.g. Beaverton).

  36. Comment from Zarwen:


    The concept of being “one school district” died when the PSF was born, in the mid-90′s. I remember a teaching colleague, who was about to retire, telling me that there would be two school districts–one eastside, one westside. Sadly, her prophecy has come true.

  37. Comment from Neisha:

    Yeah, that makes sense, PSF is inherently inequitable. But, what about Steve R’s point that PSF funds count for a fraction of PPS $? Some of it (maybe most of it) is the transfer policy, but there also has to be something else going on. Basically, we feel lucky on the east side to have Algebra 1 for 8th graders, and to get more, most of us have to enter the lottery for very few slots. On the west side you just have to go to your neighborhood middle school. This can’t all have been paid for through PSF funds? Or can it? What am I missing here? And isn’t *anyone* embarrassed about this? I mean, this isn’t happening in other big districts, and Beaverton may be more diverse at the middle school level, so what gives here?

  38. Comment from Neisha:

    Or did your colleague mean that once PSF was created it opened the door and created a favorable climate for further inequities in funding? Sorry, to be such a newbie, but the more I look at this, the more mystifying it becomes.

  39. Comment from Steve Buel:

    Neisha, the school board is chosen by the PSF and Stand for Children (they support certain candidate’s campaigns monetarily and with their volunteer time) and they are the main activists in the district and have most of the personal resources. Since their time, focus, and money is spent on the schools where their kids go they support candidates who they believe will favor their schools. This is what has created the inequities. It wasn’t always that way.