Monday school board: open thread

8:38 pm

I only caught the tail end of board discussion on the HS redesign… didn’t see the staff presentation. Who watched? Who was there? What’s your take?

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

filed under: High Schools, School Board

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8 Responses

  1. Comment from Carrie Adams:

    I’m wondering how people who believe that the problem with the public education system lies solely with unions can explain Zeke Smith.

    Zeke is in a non-represented position. The board has been asking him the same questions for months or longer. Why is he allowed to continually dodge their questions? He’s making them look like fools.

  2. Comment from Rob Boime:


    I was there. Carrie’s comments are right on. Throughout his discussion of the redesign, Zeke seemed intent on highlighting what was done at the previous work sessions and assiduously avoiding any material discussion about the redesign itself. The only reason any of the issues were discussed at all is because at least some of the board members felt that they needed to communicate those issues to the public.

  3. Comment from Zarwen:

    Isn’t he the Supt.’s chief of staff?

    And isn’t that the job the Supt. held before she became Supt.?

    Makes me wonder what she was looking for in a successor to her old job. If this is what is happening at public board meetings on an ongoing basis, it also makes me wonder what kind of relationship the Supt. has with the School Board.

    The other possibility is what I’ve said before, that it’s all theater, meant to look like people are working on something when they aren’t doing squat.

    In the interest of full disclosure, no, I was not at the meeting, but I have no trouble visualizing what Carrie and Rob are talking about.

  4. Comment from Rita:

    I attended the meeting and was both surprised and disappointed at the discussion of the high school redesign. It appeared that the Board members were as well.

    There was little new information and only a cursory discussion of what transpired over the 2 work sessions last week. David Wynde and Dilafruz Williams (who, along with Bobbie Regan were unable to attend one or both work sessions) asked, in the name of transparency, that the materials and notes from the work sessions be posted to the web. (Get links to materials and notes at

    The only substantive “news” was that the District expects to present to the Board some number of draft resolutions about various elements of the plan at the February 8 meeting, with a Board vote on said resolutions on March 8. This will constitute the first opportunity for Board members to go on record about the redesign, or at least elements thereof.
    (See Zeke’s powerpoint, esp. pg. 9:

    It is my understanding that these draft resolutions will address some of the basic features of the redesign — most notably the number of closures as well as the transfer system, and some other elements. However, I gather that the language of these resolutions will likely be pretty broad, so even in March much will remain unclear. In particular, we may know in Feb. how many schools the Supt. proposes closing, but not which ones. So at the March Board meeting, the vote will be on a number of buildings, not names.

    Bottom line: we are not as far along in this as the District’s initial schedule predicted we would be. And, given some of the recent comments from Board members that seem to question some bedrock assumptions of the purported plan, I feel like we are further behind this week than we were last week in terms of getting some clear direction on how this is going to play out.

  5. Comment from Steve Buel:

    Zeke is a PR guy with little background in education. Nice guy, but really seems to me to believe in educational trends and bogus “educational research”. Hence, he is practically impossible to talk to about educational realities.

    I noticed the redesign #’s put forth increase charter schools and focus option schools by a range of several hundred kids. I would think if you pumped up the neighborhood high schools so they were worth attending then the “community” high school attendance would increase not decrease.

    One of the problems with the whole idea is the underlying assumptions concerning the money. For instance, do you really have to take from the rich specifically (the 4 big high schools) to give to the poor the remaining unclosed high schools). Is that the only place money is available? What money is PPS spending that could be better spent directly in schools increasing programs? In otherwords when the district says this is the number of students we can defend in a high school financially, are those accurate numbers? This has never really come up. The board and the public seems to go blithly along assuming those numbers are both accurate and sensible. I am not so sure. For instance, what if you put the focus option schools in your smller high schools? How does this change the picture?

  6. Comment from Wacky Mommy:

    Did Mr. Rawley mention that he wrote an op-ed piece for today’s Oregonian?

  7. Comment from Rita:

    And a very nice op-ed it was, too. Well done. Too bad the Board will likely retain the current transfer free-for-all.

  8. Comment from Steve Buel:

    I have been out of town with relatives so haven’t commented on Steve’s op-ed piece which was very well done. Even fair and balanced.

    I did notice his piece made the newspaper and my last piece only made the blog. Maybe we could get Carrie to investigate for a conspiracy of some sort.