Oregonian endorses Gonzalez

5:54 am

In a broadly expected move, and for the expected reasons, the Oregonian has endorsed Martin Gonzalez for school board zone 4.

Citing his familiarity with Portland Public Schools, his life experience and (most importantly) his support for the district’s student transfer policy, the editorial board of the O show that they want the same thing that the school board wants: an ethnic minority who won’t challenge the one policy they most fear being challenged.

It is a demonstrable, shameful fact that neighborhood-to-neighborhood student transfers have increased ethnic and socio-economic segregation in our city’s schools, and, in combination with the funding formula and teacher transfer policy, have left disproportionate numbers of poor and minority students in second-tier schools. This policy also shifts tens of millions of dollars in public investment out of poor and minority neighborhoods every year (261 KB PDF).

I can understand the transfer policy being viewed as an way for disadvantaged students to escape sub-par schools. I’ve even suggested a modification to the transfer policy to allow poor students to transfer out of poor schools. But this can only be a short-term solution until a comprehensive policy to reinvest in our poorest neighborhoods is implemented.

Otherwise it’s nothing but a fig leaf for an effectively classist and racist policy of public divestment from neighorhoods that most need public investment.

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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, School Board, Transfer Policy

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6 Responses

  1. Comment from joe hill:

    It’s clear that the fix is in here – it’s been clear since the beginning. But that makes it very important to take this seat and the other two seats in the next election. We need to field a slate of candidates who can run on the message you’ve articulated above – no more disinvestment in Portland’s poorer neighborhood schools. Or simply: restore neighborhood schools.

  2. Comment from Terry:

    I like that slogan, Joe Hill — restore neighborhood schools. That’s what this is all about, isn’t it?

    All students, especially at the elementary level, should be able to walk to their neighborhood schools. That’s the way it was once upon a time when I was in school.

    What happened? The “market” insinuated itself into education. The notion of community and the common good took a back seat to “every family for itself”, and tough luck to those kids without supportive or even halfway functional families.

  3. Comment from Anne T.:

    In her last public speech before she died, Coretta Scott King spoke out against privatization of schools. But her words have been lost in the big lies of NCLB. Now charters, union-busting, and school choice are seen as the solution to the achievement gap.
    How do those who understand that the undermining of public education is not the road to educational equity define the argument? We have a long way to go. I just read this story on WireTap, a “progressive” on line magazine produced by youth. It promotes attacking teacher’s rights as the way to improve education.
    Would love to hear from readers of this blog, how we take this issue back.

  4. Comment from anon:

    Anne T,
    I think the only way to take this issue back is to take it to the courts. Racism, classism, and individualism are too pervasive right now to get a large enough movement of Portlanders to support changes that would reverse segregationist policies and give all kids access to a quality education. And the power brokers will always be able to find at least one Latino proponent of school choice or African American charter school supporter to help deflect criticism of school segregation and privatization policies. What is happening in Portland Public Schools is immoral and illegal but without a court ruling there is not enough public or political will to stop it. Figuring out how to “define the argument” to change public opinion just isn’t going to do it.

  5. Comment from Terry:

    One of the “leading educational reformers” mentioned in Anne’s Wiretap link is Adrian Fenty, the Mayor of Washington D.C. who took control of the city’s schools and hired Michelle Rhee as district chancellor. As I’ve written here, Rhee is anti-union and pro-charter school, and totally consumed with closing the “achievement gap.”

    Another is John King, founder of a pro-charter school organization called “Uncommon Schools.” King has set out to challenge and undermine Horace Mann’s “common school” ideal, a pillar of American democracy.

    These are the so-called “respected” reformers who seek to influence “Democratic” Party policy. The irony apparently eludes them.

    I’m writing a post on this outrageous assault on democracy right now.

  6. Comment from Steve Buel:

    It is interesting to note that every member of the school board, including Dan Ryan, ran on a “strengthening neighborhood schools” platform. And they did strengthen THEIR supporters’ neighborhood schools. So it wasn’t a lie, right?