Oregonian Letter to the Editor

9:45 am

This letter to the editor, from Jefferson High PTSA members Nicole Breedlove, Lakeitha Elliott, Shei’Meka Newmann and Nancy Smith, was published in the Oregonian on Saturday, April 6 [I'll link it on the press page when it shows up in the archives. -ed.]:

To the Editor,

Commemorating the life of Martin Luther King is important, but it’s not enough. During the Mayor’s Week at Jefferson in January, the Jefferson PTSA presented a resolution to the Portland School Board and City Council which began with:

“WHEREAS, Portland Public Schools policies have resulted in increased racial and socio-economic segregation in our city’s public schools and discriminatory access to educational opportunities for Portland’s children and youth, in direct conflict with local, state, and federal education policies as well as the 1954 Supreme Court decision in Brown vs. Board of Education, the 1964 Civil Rights Act, and the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.”

The PTSA’s document detailed specific examples of inequitable and discriminatory school district policies and actions, and concluded with almost five pages of recommendations for addressing those issues. How many of our school district and city leaders even read the document? If they did, they certainly didn’t respond.

[But just like 40 years ago, it's not just the policy makers who are responsible for discriminatory policies. The folks who felt entitled to sit at the front of the bus, or who did it just because they could, were also responsible. It's no different today.]

It doesn’t matter how many people participate in a civil rights march, if we continue to allow discrimination to exist in our public schools, the justice system, and throughout our society. Martin Luther King may have reached the promised land, but we still have a lot of work to do.

Nicole Breedlove, North Portland
Lakeitha Elliott, Northeast Portland
Shei’Meka Newmann
Nancy Smith, North Portland

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

filed under: Equity, Jefferson High, Media, Transfer Policy

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3 Responses

  1. Comment from uostudent:

    Where I can view a copy of the Jefferson PSTA resolution mentioned above? I’m doing a report on equity in Portland public schools and the resolution would be really helpful

  2. Comment from Steve Rawley:

    Here’s a link to the Jefferson PTSA resolution on the NSA site.

    Would you be willing to share your report here?

  3. Comment from uostudent:

    Absolutely, its still a couple of weeks out though. I have a lot more research to do but I’ll post it when I’m done. Thanks for your help!