Board set to approve $320,000 military recruiting contract

7:44 am

The Portland Public Schools board of education is set to approve a contract with the U.S. military to take $320,000 in exchange for access to elementary school children.

The Starbase program, funded from the US Department of Defense recruiting budget, has been raising parent hackles since at least 2006. It is up for re-authorization at tonight’s school board meeting, in the midst of two shooting wars and the “Global War on Terror.”

Parents opposed to the program issued a press release this morning urging the board to vote down this contract. They are also calling on parents to contact the school board about this program.

“We oppose the militarization of our children through a science curriculum,” said Jessica Applegate, mother of two PPS students.

“Students of color are disproportionately represented in their program,” writes parent Carrie Adams on her blog, Cheating in Class.

Nancy Rawley, PPS Equity co-publisher, notes that the $320,000 could pay for “a whole lot of microscopes and science supplies.” She wrote about Starbase here last month.

Update, 3:45 pm: sources tell PPS Equity that the resolution has been pulled from the agenda for today’s meeting, and will appear again soon.

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

filed under: Military Recruiting, National, Race, School Board

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7 Responses

  1. Comment from PPS Parent:

    If you want to go to the meeting and voice your disapproval:

    “Those wishing to speak before the School Board should sign the citizen comment sheet prior to the start of the regular meeting. No additional speakers will be accepted after the sign-in sheet is removed, but citizens are welcome to sign up for the next meeting. While the School Board wants to hear from the public, comments must
    be limited to three minutes. All citizens must abide by the Board’s Rules of Conduct for Board meetings.”

  2. Comment from Rita:

    You know, even if I didn’t know any other details, the fact that the military PAYS the district for access to these kids would make me suspicious.

    At minimum, we should push the Board to require that parents receive notification with full disclosure of the nature and intent of the program prior to a school’s impending participation in the program, including the option of not participating and alternative activities — not just babysitting — for any kids who opt out.

  3. Comment from Miss Merry Sunshine:

    Thank goodness for websites/blogs like this one, which bring light to issues like this, and make people sit up and TAKE NOTICE and dialogue. I have sent more parents, teachers, friends, and interested parties here than any other site–if you want to know what is truly happening in the PPS, this is the place.

    I can’t help but wonder if all the attention that PPS Equity brought to this topic is actually making the knee-jerk, jump-on-the-bandwagon board actually SLOW DOWN and THINK? Let’s only hope.

    Thank you, Steve Rawley, for the service you provide with your site. Priceless!

  4. Comment from Steve Rawley:

    Thank you, Miss Merry, but proper credit and respect goes to Anne T., Jessica Applegate, Carrie Adams and Nancy Rawley for their organizing work on this issue.

  5. Comment from mfpdx:

    I am TOTALLY opposed to this. I do NOT want the Military doing ANYTHING with my elementary school child; he is FAR TOO YOUNG for them to be slowly manipulating his opinions. NO.

    WHAT is this school board thinking!? Time for us to start recruiting NEW school board members!

  6. Comment from John B. Tang:

    The last I heard, PPS has a budget of $632 million. Are we that desperate to take a $320K contract from the military. As it was a few years ago, we took a couple million dollars from Coca Cola to enable them to sell only their products to our students. What is next?

  7. Comment from Louis Ursitti:

    Dear PPS Board,

    Dont take the money. The Starbase program is wildly inappropriate for our schools and should be rejected out of hand. I have voted for every bond request and tax increase to support our schools and will continue to do so, but not without conditions. Keeping the military out of our schools should be a priority.