HS Redesign resolution: a few suggestions

9:40 am

Here is the body of a letter to the Superintendent, School Board and Redesign Team.  This version contains a few more points and questions that I wish I had thought to include in the original.  My thanks to others out there whose research helped me write this.

First, thank you for the work you are doing to improve our local high schools.  It is both urgent and long overdue.

The Resolution that Supt. Smith unveiled on Feb. 8 is a start.  From here, it looks as if it is undergoing some revisions.  I would like to propose a few more:

1) Strike the language about focus option schools. It is unnecessary anyway, as this issue is already covered in the Board Policies. Those focus options that are thriving in the District have done so because community members came to the Board and pushed to get those programs, not the other way around. If there is community demand for a particular focus option, then it makes no sense to use a building with a capacity for 1500 to serve only 200-400; I seem to recall that was the rationale for so many of the elementary closures over the past 10 years. Focus options can be either co-housed within neighborhood high schools OR set up in the smaller, unused buildings—although I would be very careful about choosing the latter, as we now have many overcrowded K-8s that would benefit from the reopening of some of those buildings such as Rose City Park and Kellogg.

2) Strike the language about closing high schools. It is causing a great deal of unnecessary stress and anxiety to Eastside families that have already lost their elementary and/or middle schools and are still dealing with the fallout from that. Furthermore, it is a highly polarizing strategy that, in and of itself, will solve nothing. Also, the increasing numbers of children in the primary grades will be high school age in only 8 years and, according to every population forecast, no matter how conservative, more are coming. Seattle School District found out the hard way that it costs more to close buildings and reopen them later than to keep the buildings open and running. Should we follow their example, or should we be smart about this?

3)   Work on the language concerning transfers.  If every high school really does have 1100 or more students within its attendance area, then closures are unnecessary.  Franklin HS has already shown us that a robust curriculum can be offered with a student body of only 1000.  PPS also posted a document on their website less than three months ago that shows 1100 as the “magic number.”

4)   Work on your budgeting process.  If is it true that only $4.5 million is necessary to provide equity of curriculum across the district (and I am VERY curious about where that number came from), then it is time to stop throwing money away on expensive consultants and put it into the schools, where it belongs.  Even if the amount needed is actually higher, it would be worth the time and effort to research exactly what the necessary amount is and how it could be accomplished.  For example, taking advantage of efficiencies such as sharing faculty between buildings would reduce the overall number of FTE (and therefore $) needed to meet the goal and would also be a much “greener” choice than bussing children across town.  Another idea would be to overhaul the Portland Schools Foundation and restore its original mission: balancing resources between rich and poor neighborhood schools.  (If anyone is curious about my ideas on this one, I would be happy to address the issue in a separate post.)

5)   OR, set this whole thing aside and turn your attention to the K-8s, where it is also long overdue.  If the problems in those schools aren’t fixed, then anything you do to the high schools will fail anyway because the children arriving in 9th grade will be too unprepared.  Calling a meeting once every two years to hear parents air their grievances is a pointless exercise unless someone in the District has specific responsibility for following up.  After four years, we haven’t seen a whole lotta follow-up.

Share or print:
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • email
  • Print

Zarwen is a parent, taxpayer, former teacher, and frequent commenter on education blogs.

filed under: High Schools, K-8 Transistion

follow responses with RSS

156 Responses

  1. Comment from vargasgarcia:

    in regards to Bill’s question:
    wait a second Susan, you said earlier you unsubscribed from CTG ages ago. I’m still on there and haven’t read anything about premiums. Not sure, Susan, you’re the best person to answer Bill’s question. If everyone is invited to the discussion (like here on PPSEquity) then there are bound to be some viewpoints you disagree with.

    And Zarwen, I hear (from the CTG site) that today noon PPS should have some data posted — per email with Zeke Smith. But like you said, I’m not holding my breath.

  2. Comment from Susan:

    Absolutely again! My experience is weeks old. Surely, the posts are in the archive on the grant google group. At that time, I was the only desenter – actually was chastised for being critical of the comment.

    My take was that the poster of “we paid a premium” was a leader of the group, not just one random comment among many voices.

    So it would be great if someone who wrote/signed the community resolutions could clarify.

  3. Comment from Susan:

    Oops. I mean dissenter. Although I am feeling a little off de’ center.

  4. Comment from Zarwen:


    You’re right that the writer of the “premium” comment is ONE of the group leaders, but not the only one. Being a “leader” doesn’t make one person’s comment more important than all the rest. The ctg group has 10 “leaders,” and I doubt that they all agree on everything. They wrote a rebuttal to the Superintendent’s reolution, and they have a Mission Statement on their website. Those are the official positions of the group; any individual comments on the google group are exactly that, individual comments that represent an individual’s opinions. I find it sad that ONE comment by ONE individual has attracted so much attention which, IMHO, it doesn’t deserve.

  5. Comment from Susan:

    Your point is well taken.

    Unfortunately, I still don’t have an answer to my original question: who wrote the community resolutions, who were the representatives from other school communities, and what are the intended goals of deleting the boundary language?

  6. Comment from stephanie:

    Susan thanks for staying focused on this. I agree we can’t base our opinions on a random comment on a google group even if it was a leader if the groups mission does not reflect this. Like you I would like to know who from my cluster Jefferson spoke for me. If this representation did not occur or was not a consensus of cluster families then let’s figure out how to get on the same side of the boulder we are pushing here.

  7. Comment from mom:


    Guess she talked to some teachers?

  8. Comment from Susan:

    Thanks for posting that link mom. I needed a ray of sunshine today.

  9. Comment from vargasgarcia:

    Hey all, here’s the latest from PPS regarding the redesign.

    The “Packet of Information” includes:
    1. A review of past and future enrollment projections and their accuracy.

    2. A detailed analysis of the high school core program (the range of classes and educational opportunities guaranteed to students at each community school).

    3. Survey results

    4. Summary of teacher questions and comments on the proposed high school changes following discussions at all current neighborhood high school campuses.


  10. Comment from Susan:


    There’s an interesting comment from Frank on Beth Slovic’s blog re the Mayor’s meeting with ctg. I belive he is a signer/writer of the community resolutions. Sounds like they’re interested in hearing from you — in the not too distant future.

    Neisha, maybe you can ask some ctg leaders to post at ppsequity and get some networking going with non-Grant families.


  11. Comment from Carrie Adams:

    Susan, do you know if the Grant Google group is still screening out non-Grant parents? In January, Suzanne asked members to give her the heads up on referrals for membership.

  12. Comment from c.breshears:

    The Google Group is open to all. We have Franklin, Madison, Jefferson, Grant, Cleveland, Wilson parents on there … maybe even some Lincoln, Benson and Marshall as well: no one asks which school cluster you’re in. It’s never been closed to parents — except at first we thought we would try to keep PPS/BESC off since we wanted it to be an open forum for everyone’s concerns to be heard and respected. Now, of course, we are sure there are PPS admin on the site.

    There’s a lot to discuss with this new Packet of Information and the revised Resolution. It would be good to hear everyone’s thoughts as this moves forward, fast.

  13. Comment from Susan:

    Welcome, c.breshears.

    I had a question on the how the deletion of the boundary language in the community resolutions meets ctg’s goals. And which school communities had imput on that compromise.

    Thanks for posting on ppsequity.

  14. Comment from c.breshears:

    Hi Susan,
    after reading posts from all the parents from mostly Grant (at first) and increasingly more from other schools, it became clear that no neighborhood wanted to see their school closed or converted to a Focus.

    Franklin expressed concern that they needed some of their lost catchment and would embrace boundary changes. The Jeff and Roosevelt comments I’ve heard were that they wanted their students back from Grant, Lincoln, Benson.

    Each school’s current catchment has roughly enough students to support the smaller version of PPS’s Comprehensive school and because we seem to all agree that enrollment is increasing, that would allow the schools to grow as Portland’s neighborhoods grow.

    Because we couldn’t reach any full-on consensus regarding boundaries after reading comments from the group as well as private conversations with PTA members and stakeholders, it was taken off the Community Resolution.

    At this point, Cleveland, Franklin, even Grant have written their own Points of Consensus to address their own school-specific issues with language that includes their own desires regarding boundaries. You’ll see in Franklin’s that they want boundary changes. I believe (and I may not be remembering correctly) Cleveland does not. Grant wanted their catchment to stay the same as well. School-specific issues have been left to that school. The Community Resolution is an effort toward a more inclusive language.

    Many people on the Google Group want there to be some accountability before schools close and boundaries are changed. Many of us know from experience how contentious and divisive this is and we’d like not to war with neighbors. Many of us are concerned with follow-through and accountability, metrics and budget. Many of us also understand that our programs will diminish if our schools go from 1600 to 1200. Not all are on board with that. It is clear from the Vestal meeting that Lincoln wants to grow their program. But many understand, especially as this process has unfolded over the past 12 months, that the inequities are untenable. I know all of you here on PPSEquity have known that for years. Some of us don’t yet have high school students (myself included) and have been narrowly focused on the K8 inequities.

    I guess I haven’t fully answered your question how the deletion of the boundary language meets CTG’s goals of Close the Gap, Not the School. Deleting the boundary language is our effort at reminding PPS that closing any school and changing boundaries does nothing to close the gap. I would like to see the district support less invasive efforts at our schools (someone mentioned Boise-Eliot and Century HS). I would like to see PPS put more money toward the students and less toward administrative costs which is the converse of their proposed plan. So, that boundary language was left for each individual school to write.

    The Information and Resolution that PPS released yesterday still presses for 2-3 closures. It still indicates that up to 40% of our students will choose Focus schools. That’s what is on the table. That’s what we’re talking about on the Google Group. I hope you will join the discussion.

    Thanks for the opportunity to post here.

  15. Comment from Susan:


    THANK YOU! I very much appreciate your thorough answer to my question.

    I respectfully disagree with ctg’s conclusions and do point out that deleting language is actually the opposite of your statement “So, that boundary language was left for each individual school to write.”

    And thank you for your invite to the Grant google group, but still can’t join a group where leaders (even one leader) believes public school policy should be driven by the amount of taxes homeowners pay. Whether it’s part of ctg’s mission or not, it’s hard for me to believe that value-system won’t affect the group’s actions.

    I am reading the district’s new 3-2-10 document and will find a way to chime in to the board and superintendent on my own.

    Good luck to you guys.

  16. Comment from c.breshears:

    I would say, good luck to us all. It looks like we may need it.

  17. Comment from Carrie Adams:

    c.breshears, I’m a little confused about how individual schools could write their own boundary language. Can you elaborate on that?

  18. Comment from Susan:


    I found some info on Franklin’s take on the community resolutions.


    the Franklin Community Forum on HS Redesign facebook page is located here:


  19. Comment from c.breshears:

    Hi Carrie,
    So the Community Resolution was an effort at a united front. Something I still believe in. We knew that we couldn’t reach consensus on the boundary issues because of the reasons you’ve read from Susan’s above links. So we concentrated on the issues we could agree on such as achievement gap, grad rates, full comprehensive program for all students, and no closures, no conversions because everyone we talked with and every post we read indicated that no one wanted their school to close.

    However, at this point, it looks like PPS is going to close three schools, and they are set on the Focus schools though I’m not convinced that they are warranted.

    My father-in-law went to Jeff. My mother-in-law went to Grant. They met at a football game, went to college together and my husband (in utero) walked across the stage at OSU graduation four years later. I know it’s sappy, but I don’t want either school to close.

    Portland neighborhoods are as individual as all our students and I believe that PPS needs to take a more individual stance toward raising the graduation rates and closing the gaps: student by student and in meaningful relationships. And I think we all want equitable education for all our children.

    I hope this helps answer your question. Please let me know if there’s something more.

  20. Comment from Carrie Adams:

    Wow. That’s transparency. You don’t even have to go through a credit check to view the comments. No wonder Franklin had 2000 people turn out for their meeting.

  21. Comment from Carrie Adams:

    Cris, sappy or not, I believe you. Nobody wants their school to close. They are the heart of communities and sadly, PPS has spent the last decade using schools to divide communities.

    Poor kids and families have suffered through generations of these inequities in education. No more.

  22. Comment from Bill:

    Excerpt from the PPS FAQ linked above:

    How can we put the core program in place?
    The most efficient way to provide this program is to balance enrollment across community schools. The logic is simple: equal enrollment equates to approximately equal numbers of teachers which leads to approximately equal number of courses; thus, students from high poverty schools or low poverty schools will all have about the same quantity of course offerings. Balancing enrollment across schools is also a relatively budget neutral (and potentially cost cutting) method of addressing program inequities. PPS will have the same number of students so it will need the same number of teachers. It is likely that balancing enrollment would reduce administrative costs.

    Seems obvious to me: equalizing enrollment is in the best interests of students and taxpayers. Anyone disagree?

  23. Comment from Carrie Adams:

    Does changing the state tests from 10th grade to 11th grade enable the district to reset the NCLB clock?

  24. Comment from c.breshears:

    Hi Bill,
    it is my understanding from recent discussions with ODE that the district gets set amount of money-per-student from the state. However, how PPS allocates that money is up to them. PPS can choose to fund schools in the “money follows student” way (completely based on enrollment), or they can choose to fund on a more subjective need basis, meaning that schools that have greater need get extra funding. I haven’t said this very eloquently, but that’s the gist.

    Also, it should be noted that PPS’s current plan is heavy in Focus schools which is heavy in administrative costs. PPS’s current plan has more money going toward administrative costs than toward students or lower class sizes.

  25. Comment from Rita:

    I don’t have time to pore over the 28 page document right now, but need to alert my committee, so I’m going to take the lazy way out. Could someone point me to where it states that 40% enrollment in focus options and 2-3 closures?


  26. Comment from Susan:


    Page 21 shows current breakdown of enrollment by school type and pages 21-23 show enrollment sceanarios with school type configurations, with page 23 showing scearios for how many campuses through the year 2020.

  27. Comment from Rita:

    Thanks, Susan.

  28. Comment from Susan:

    Bill and Cris,

    On the Answers to Frequently Asked Qs, Chart 1 (page 2, with endnote on page 27) shows the current student/FTE funding, which is not limited to actual student enrollment.

    It looks like there is less emphasis on special focus schools in this document. Although the forecasts show community comprehensives getting 64% to 74%, the remaining percentages go to district wide programs, charters and the alternative/special programs, not just special focus.

    I went through the process of having my neighborhood elementary school close and understand the emotions surrounding not wanting to see a school closed and not wanting to disrupt students and staff. But what defines a neighborhood school at the high school level? There are numerous neighborhoods that feed into any one Portland high school, with neighborhoods split up to feed into different high schools.

  29. Comment from Steve Rawley:

    Bill, I have argued — literally for years — that balancing enrollment is the only way to provide equity of opportunity without some new source of funding (and the reality is we’re losing funding, not gaining it).

    If we want the same programs with different sized schools, we will have less overall. Simple math, if you think about it; it’s a closed financial system (unless you want to take money from early childhood, K-8, special ed., ESL, etc.).

    If we want 10,000 students in 10 buildings — no matter if they’re all 1000 students, or if some are 1300 and others are 600 — you only get so much. (With different sized schools, the larger schools would have to subsidize the smaller schools.)

    If that’s what we want — the kind of school that’s funded with what the state sends us for 1000 students — lets be honest about it.

    Basically, if we don’t balance enrollment, we keep all ten “comprehensive” schools open, and we want equity of opportunity, the “haves” will give up far more than they would under the proposed district plan. More likely, they would fight to keep as much as they could, and the smaller, poorer schools would continue to have less opportunity.

    If, on the other hand, we don’t balance enrollment, we keep all ten schools open, and we don’t care about equity… well, that’s pretty much what we’ve got right now. It’s worked out pretty well for Cleveland, Grant, Lincoln and Wilson at least.

    Balancing enrollment is the only way to go if we’re serious about balancing opportunity and providing a decent level of education for all students.

  30. Comment from lek:

    I live in the Marshal cluster and if Marshal needs to close so my kids can have a decent high school so be it. There is no way they can keep all the schools open and have great programs. I had my son move so he could go to Cleveland next year. I would rather have him home and take a longer bus ride. Sure it would be great to keep all schools open, just not realistic.

  31. Comment from c.breshears:

    I just became aware of this email exchange between Ruth Adkins and Cathy Mincberg from January 2008. Perhaps you all remember this since you’ve been involved way longer than my 18 mos.


    Is any of this about equity? About achievement gaps or graduation rates? Or is it about politics and money? I’m feeling duped, played, gaslighted.

  32. Comment from Steve Rawley:

    CB, I understand about feeling gas lighted… welcome to PPS!

    This has always been about campus consolidation and planning for a large facilities bond. But it has also been about equity of opportunity.

    For as long as I’ve watched, families in the Lincoln, Wilson, parts of Grant and parts of Lincoln have basically horded the educational goods in this city. Jefferson, Roosevelt, Madison and Marshall have been on the margin picking over crumbs. Franklin has teetered in the delicate edge of what might be an ideal 1000 student school… but the money isn’t there to replicate it at nine other campuses.

    In the have not part of the city, our schools closed a long time ago, so we’re over mourning in a lot of ways. We’re ready for some real, meaningful change in the way PPS distributes the goods.

    Carole Smith has expressed a vision largely in line with what I’ve called for: balanced enrollment, with the same kinds of schools available in all parts of Portland, for all classes and every ethnicity.

    Will this close the achievement gap? Of course not. But it could actually do something meaningful toward closing the opportunity gap.

    The achievement gap is guaranteed to persist as long as the poverty gap and institutional racism persist.

    The least we can do is make sure everybody has access to the same kinds of schools.

    As for closing schools, take your pick: smaller schools with fewer electives, or larger schools with more electives, spaced a little further apart.

    I wouldn’t be too worried about Grant… I seriously think you guys have more to worry about if they don’t close a school or two.

  33. Comment from Susan:


    Yes, read that before. It’s hard to let go of the bitterness of the backdoor agendas and planning, but Steve’s right about the redesign being the possibility of the chance to move forward.

  34. Comment from c.breshears:

    It would have gone a long, long way toward building bridges if PPS had only stated this was about the “Opportunity Gap,” as Steve calls it, instead of Achievement Gaps and Graduation Rates. I totally get the Opportunity Gap and I think the transfer policy that Portland has allowed all these years, along with NCLB, has perpetrated that crime against our neighborhoods (I wouldn’t say that the families from those 4 schools “horded the goods”: they were handed the students on a silver platter by PPS).

    That’s been my question all along: what’s any of this have to do with Achievement Gaps and Grad Rates. And what I’ve been calling for echoes Steve as well: “the same kinds of schools available in all parts of Portland, for all classes and every ethnicity.”

    But once again (God, fool me once with the K8, fool me twice — I’m such a fool), PPS’s disingenuous approach to closing campuses is heinous. A reprehensible breach of the trust they said they were trying to build.

    And Susan, how do we move forward after how they handled (continue to handle) the K8 and now this lie? How do we trust they will follow through this time?

  35. Comment from Susan:

    We look at this process compared to the K-8 reorg process and appreciate the difference. The last FAQ update (28 page doc), together with some of the other info last offered (staff notes) gives me great hope. And we continue to demand accountability for schools outside our neighborhoods. Why aren’t K-8 boundaries being redrawn as part of this process if it means a more stable student base for K-8s that are under-enrolled and therefore can’t offer adequate 6th-8th grade offerings. And why aren’t funds being earmarked as part of the hs redesign for materials K-8s still don’t have if funds are being earmarked for things like band equipment for high schools that aren’t currently able to offer band (yeah, this kind of funding is actually being planned)?

    We stop being hung up on semantics. Acheivement / opportunity, neighborhood / community, etc.

    And we ask our board members to stop negotiating with PPS admin and individual parents behind closed doors.

  36. Comment from Carrie Adams:

    c.breshears, True, the students may have been handed to those 4 schools on a silver platter but who from those schools spoke out?

  37. Comment from Steve Buel:

    Saying this process is better than the k-8’s is like saying it is better to die from a knife to the heart than a gunshot to the head.

    Basically the process so far is that the school administration came up with a plan with no real detail then had 10,000 people to meetings who offered no organized input. And, lo and behold we have the same plan still.

    The process should have been like this: Decide on what to do with Benson. Then …
    List how much FTE would be in each high school if there were 9, 8, or 7 high schools. Then assign each group of high schools (9,8,and 7) the FTE to meet graduation requirements. Then assign each group certain FTE for general electives which should be in any high school (music, art, computer technology, performing arts, yearbook, newspaper, whatever they decide). Then integrate these two sets of courses where possible.

    Then decide on how many FTE are left over and assign courses based on what needs each school has. This gives you a real comparison of what the impact of one or two high school closures (add down to 6 high schools if you like) would be.

    Then look at impacts if you have one, two, or three focus option schools.

    Then look at impacts if you have no focus options but instead have magnet schools within the comprehensives.

    When the community, school board, teachers union, and administsrators discuss these options they can see the REAL impact. NOW I dare say not even the administration or school board have any actual idea of what the impacts of these decisions might be.

    Just like k-8’s which they stumbled through with mistake after mistake and like the transfer policy which had consequences they didn’t even come close to seeing.

    The problem is that instead of working backwards from the classroom the adminstration used the school reform ideas and worked from the top down. This is what Botana did in Chicago I believe. But in Chicago they have a much larger district and in Portland it is easy to do what I suggest and much, much more sensible and transparent.

    Now the board and administration are using the Law of Awful Outcomes (i.e. since there are other problems, we can’t solve this problem) to offset criticism. David Wynde did it to me the other evening when I suggested they use what actually happens in the schools as the starting point of analysis and also suggested they look at magnet schools within the comprehensives. (Which, by the way, Steve R., is a third, sensible, maybe the most sensible, approach to high school redesign equity.)

    When you blunder forward as PPS has done in this process a good result can only come by luck. Maybe they are due…… Hope so, but I doubt it. I haven’t won the lottery yet either.

  38. Comment from Susan:


    I am a little giddy with spring, but I’ll have a go at why I’m encouraged with the redesign process. When the process started, I believe, the hs redesign team had hoped that focus options would be what communities demanded. Turns out most wanted a quality neighborhood school. During the K-8 reorg, the argument was that the K-8 model was better than the middle school model. The board bought that premise (well, 4 members of the board), schools were reorganized and told “make it work.” There was little importance given to what a K-8 should look like and how to implement the reorg, especially since some schools were growing into a K-8 (no problem, you just, you know, add an extra grade a year) and some were merging into an instant K-8 (no problem, you just –oh, yeah, I guess you need bathrooms for Kinders and have to finally give the school a safe climate).

    The design team was not well prepared for the community conversations. They really did owe parents and staff a better dialogue instead of the reliance of powerpoint presentations. I’m hoping Carole Smith takes the mic away from Zeke Smith and starts wading into the conversations as the process moves forward. Frustrations abound.

    The one thing the redesign has done well is come up with the core curriculum for a neighborhood high school. See pages 23-28, together with page 2 of the FAQ update from PPS to see how they are thinking about what FTE is needed to implement the core curriculum and how focus options affect those numbers. New focus options seem to be taking a back seat to existing focus options (Benson, MLC, and the small academies that are working).

    I have lots of questions and would love to see meaningful attention given to how to best support the K-8s that are struggling or still lacking materials, and would like to see the forecast projections continue into 2020 instead of 2010.

    Otherwise, I’m good.

  39. Comment from Steve Buel:

    Susan, sorry to sound a little brusque and it wasn’t directed at you in any way. Obviously it is somewhat better than the k-8 procedure and the transfer policy proceduere. But I don’t think they have done the job by creating the data which allows for real comparisons. The core curriclum for a neighborhood high school is not the same as data which allows for meaningful comparisons and therefore a meaningful decision.

  40. Comment from c.breshears:

    Hey Carrie,
    should the parents at those schools have said they didn’t want the reboundaried children? I don’t understand. No matter what they might have said, it would have been wrong. We’ve all been played by PPS, not by our neighbors, not by our fellow parents.

    It’s clear that you all know so much more than I do about how things have worked in this district. All I know is that our K8 is still not meeting minimum requirements, still doesn’t have the promised core program that was to be implemented by fall of 2008, and what we do have (Spanish teacher and Technology) is because parents raised the money for FTE and computers.

    At the K8 meeting a few weeks ago we hear that “all’s good with the K8” and Carole Smith said the same at the City Club last Friday. It’s not true. It is a lie. It’s not just “unrequieted expectations.” It’s aboutthe promised curriculum and PPS failing to fulfill their promise.

    And those emails that I just read from the Olson blog between Cathy Mincberg and Ruth Adkins just proves what so many of us have thought all along … they are lying again.

    I hope that this all works out for everyone. I hope that for the students in your neighborhood Carrie. I hope it works for all the students in Portland. But I can’t trust that PPS will find the money or follow through. Three years I’ve been waiting and fighting for Portland’s eastside K8s and now I believe that I’ll have to fight 4+ more years to see my 8th grader through this high school implementation. I never thought we’d have to fight so hard for something I thought was an intrinsic right of every child.

    As David Wynde said at the BrewHaHa when as when we might enjoy the heyday of the high school again “in five years, we’ll have great high schools in five years.” Great.

  41. Comment from Susan:


    I was finally able to download and listen to Carole Smith’s City Club speech and the Q&A (http://www.pdxcityclub.org/friday_forum_archive) and yeah, she skimmed over the K-8 issues. We have to keep making a fuss about our unrequited expectations or the more specific realities of not having facilities, materials or FTE that ensure equity between K-8s and traditional K-5/middle schools. Achievement might be increasing between the new K-8 6th-7th compared to the closed middle schools, but some test scores dropped for the K-8 3rd-5ths, compared to the old K-5s.

    Also wished she had done a smack down on Peter Livingston, who described the redesign as trying to “create equivalent schools in different districts” and said “a course that calls itself advanced math means one thing in the west hills and another thing on 82nd Street.” Dang. Really?! At the very least couldn’t she have pointed out we’re actually one district and that it’s 82nd Boulevard, not street?

  42. Comment from Zarwen:

    Actually, it’s 82nd AVENUE.

  43. Comment from Susan:

    Yes it is. 🙂

  44. Comment from Steve Buel:

    I played golf yesterday with a suburban principal who said he told his supervisor he is no longer willing to play the “testing game” in his elementary school. He has 70% free and reduced lunch and he said his kids couldn’t afford to miss all the education which testing took from them. Particularly the kids who were really behind.

    Then Susan Nielsen writes the great article on not speeding up high school graduation in this morning’s paper (Sunday Oregonian) Maybe there is hope after all. 🙂

  45. Comment from Neisha:

    I just wanted to post a link to a community-created survey on HS Redesign:


    Please feel free to take it. We’re trying not to have it be so Grant-heavy and would like other points of view as well. Thanks in advance!

  46. Comment from Stephanie Hunter:

    The survey asks for your full name and zip code at the end of the FYI for anyone who takes it. Not that I have anything to hide but dropping that on the end instead of the beginning sketched me out a bit so I did not submit.

  47. Comment from Neisha:

    I think people have been sending it in without that information.

  48. Comment from Bill:

    A comment or two on Steve Duin’s Thursday column on the HS redesign:
    He makes a good point about partnerhips with PCC and other entities. Schools should not operate in a vacuum, and partnerships can help to stretch taxpayer dollars in addition to helping schools engage with the surrounding community.
    But I was taken aback by his comment about the District’s stated goal of balancing school enrollment. PPS’s logic was not “pursuasive” because we can’t “clone the Lincoln Booster Club.”
    In other words, because we can’t eliminate all inequalities, we shouldn’t bother to fix any of them.
    I’ve seen this same logical fallacy, in various forms, used over and over to justify the status quo by those who benefit from it.
    Balancing enrollment will not fix all of PPS’s problems. But as Steve Rawley and others have argued for years, quite “pursuasively”, it is an essential first step.

  49. Comment from John B. Tang:

    Please forgive my naivety. But if my memory is correct, Steve Rawley has been complaining about PPS transfer policy for at least several years. Why was it that PPS never bothered to check it out and make modifications? Why are we paying big bucks to folks who are supposed to know what they are doing and the impact of their decisions. How did the Enrollment Transfer Center get to be so huge? It used to be the job of one person for many years. The ETC Director needs to be fired or demoted. She expanded that center like no body’s business and her negative creativity has left this big mess to be cleaned up. What will happen to her department after HS Redesign and the decision to limit HS transfer? Who is going to hold her accountable? I also heard she was contentious, patronizing and arrogant as heck too.

  50. Comment from Carrie Adams:

    The high school application window closed on 2/26/10 and letters are supposed to be mailed out on April 9th but the major changes at Roosevelt were announced yesterday?

    Will parents ever be given an opportunity to make informed decisions in PPS or are parents expected to follow the board’s lead and make uniformed decisions?