In the news: K8s exposed

1:29 pm

Beth Slovic documents the obvious inequities between K8s and middle schools for middle grade education.

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

filed under: K-8 Transistion, Middle Schools

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12 Responses

  1. Comment from Steve Rawley:

    Some numbers to add context to Beth’s story:

    Number of middle schools per cluster (and percentage of students who are white in that cluster):
    Cleveland: 2 (73% white)
    Willson: 2 (75% white)
    Grant: 2 (67% white)
    Lincoln: 1 (78% white)
    Franklin: 1 (65% white)
    Marshall: 1 (42% white)
    Roosevelt: 1 (32% white)
    Jefferson: 0 (32% white)
    Madison: 0 (38% white)

  2. Comment from Neisha:

    The Grant Cluster has 2 middle schools? I thought we only had Beaumont. I know all our elementaries except Alameda went K-8.

  3. Comment from Steve Rawley:

    PPS lists da Vinci as being in the Grant cluster, even though, technically (I think), it sits just outside of the Grant attendance area. It is a middle school available in the general area, at any rate.

    Alameda is the only feeder school for Beaumont; all the rest of its attendance is from in-transfers. I don’t have my data book in front of me, but you can assume a fair number of in-transfers to Beaumont from the Madison and Jefferson clusters, since neither has a middle school.

  4. Comment from Susan:

    Except for sibling preference, all 6th grade slots at daVinci are open to all PPS students, but its location does make it more convenient for Grant, Madison, Cleveland and Franklin families.

    Both Beaumont and Mt. Tabor had a large amount of 6th grade transfer slots open – at least during the last transfer cycle for the current school year. Both seem to have been affected by the piecemeal K-8 planning.

  5. Comment from Steve Rawley:

    “…piecemeal K-8 planning.”

    That’s a charitable description.

  6. Comment from Neisha:

    That’s weird. I think da Vinci is physically located in the Cleveland cluster, but lots of Grant cluster kids go there (as well as students from all over the city). But, Fernwood, our other middle school, was blown up in the reconfiguration and is now combined with Hollyrood as the Beverly Cleary K-8.

    You’re right about Beaumont. Only around 60% of Alameda students have gone there in recent years (but, I understand that the number is increasing), which allows for a large number of transfers from all over N/NE Portland, including from within the Grant cluster. I understand that before the reconfiguration, it would have been rare for Beaumont to get transfers from students zoned for Fernwood (which also used to take lots of transfers from outside the cluster).

  7. Comment from Steve Buel:

    Sounds like you are fighting over the bones. Beth Slovik finally does a story which outlines the horrendous disparity in middle school education. Now, how about a story outlining the incredible disparity in PPS middle schools and small town and suburban (including Vancouver) middle schools. We are truly educating middle grade children to dropout. And while this happens we fiddle by focussing on the more sexy high school issue, working at 8th to 9th transitions and putting together a mayor’s committee on dropouts which doesn’t address the most horrific school problem at all, that of turning off hordes of kids in the middle grades with lackluster schools which don’t address the needs of kids in these grades.

    But hey, I am sure the school board will come up with plans to correct all this, pushed forward by pressure from Stand for Children.

    (P.S. Nice job, Rita, with your quotes in Beth’s story.)

  8. Comment from S. Wilcox:

    I loved one of the comments on the actual WW website. Something to the effect of “How come this is the first I am hearing of the problem?” Indeed! The Oregonian will continue with its touchy feely stories about how teachers dress, while the real issues are dealt with by Portland’s alternative newspapers. Go Willamette Week!

  9. Comment from Carrie Adams:

    Let’s not forget that it was also Willamette Week (Nigel Jaquiss) who shined a light on the horrendous conditions students and teachers faced at the toxic Whitaker site.

    Administrators knew that the building was toxic but looked away. Well, to be truthful, they didn’t ALL look away. The facilities director ordered a custodian to open windows for ventilation when the site was being tested for Radon.

    When the truth was exposed, they scrambled to find alternate sites for the students. Ironically, the program the students ended up in (described in the link above) sounds a lot like the K-8s now. Different buildings and new poison.

  10. Comment from ray:

    I don’t think the WW story went deep enough. By not comparing a Westside school to a N. Portland school (any school), the reporter really didn’t show much. That’s where the inequity is. A Westside school’s foundation could have 200k in it to buy FTE and programs, but N. Portland schools might have, say, $5k at the most? What about the way the school boundaries are drawn around Astor, Clarendon at Portsmouth and Rosa Parks? There’s a divide for you.

  11. Comment from Carrie Adams:

    Another thing to consider is that there can be significant variations in what FTE costs schools. Low-income schools tend to have more inexperienced teachers. Since teacher pay is based on education and experience, fewer dollars may be going into low-income schools.

  12. Comment from Steve Rawley:

    Ray, there is not a single school in North Portland paying for any fraction of an FTE with foundation dollars. By contrast, virtually every school west of the Willamette (save Markham) has some foundation money.

    All told, foundation dollars pay for about 35 full-time teachers at 13 west-side schools, according to last year’s data. (Disclaimer: I may have missed a school or two! Quick stats at night!)

    Ainsworth alone paid for 6.26 FTE, increasing their budget by nearly 30 percent.

    Forest Park funded 4.67 positions, increasing their budget by 21 percent.

    Lincoln is the only high school in town with significant foundation money, funding 3.05 teaching positions.

    I have long advocated abolishing the local school foundations. They’ve never been anything but a means for the wealthy directly fund schools in their own neighborhoods. They’ve essentially created publicly-funded “private” schools for the “haves” while the rest of us fight over crumbs.