Zeke Smith – Closing the Gap Then and Now
March 14, 2010 2:05 pm
The high school redesign process is a mess but I have to wonder if that’s intentional. Closing the achievement gap isn’t that complicated. The district has had many opportunities to work towards closing the gap but failed to do so.
Here’s a list of some of the opportunities that the district has missed for better serving low-income and minority students:
- failure to follow through on recommendations from mediation between PPS and the Education Crisis Team
- failure to use almost $3 million in 2008/09 Title I funds intended to be spent on improving the educational program for poor kids
- failure to use at least $500,000 annually in school level Title I funds for the last decade
- a failed district audit of legally required Supplemental Services for struggling students
- over two decades of failure to comply with civil rights laws for English Language Learners
- decades of unchanging disparities in student discipline, special education, and talented and gifted rates
It’s widely believed that Zeke Smith is running the district now. What does Zeke know about closing the achievement gap?
Zeke was the Portland Schools Foundation’s Director of Community Engagement in 2007 when they identified Astor, Clark, Faubion, Vestal and Woodmere as Excellence in Education Award winners for being high poverty schools that were closing the achievement gap. At that time the Portland Schools Foundation reported:
There is remarkable consistency in the research on the essential elements of schools that are closing the achievement gap – it doesn’t happen by chance. Six key factors need to be in place for schools to make significant gains:
- high expectations
- quality teaching
- ongoing professional development
- community engagement
What? Where does it mention equity in access? Is that the 7th key factor?
It seems to me that the absence of the 6 key factors in this week’s high school resolution was the reason that board members Williams and Gonzalez opposed the resolution.
Show me a resolution that includes a detailed plan for ensuring those 6 key factors are in place and I might be able to get behind it.
Carrie Adams blogs at Cheating in Class.