About PPS Equity

PPS Equity is a new media publication and an experiment in citizen journalism. It is produced by and for stakeholders of Portland Public Schools.

PPS Equity is a volunteer effort. We do not accept advertising, and nobody gets paid to provide content.

Mission statement

The mission of PPS Equity is to inform, advocate and organize, with a goal of equal educational opportunity for all students in Portland Public Schools, regardless of address, income, disability, gender, religious preference, sexual orientation or race.


Portland Public Schools (PPS) policy decisions over the years have have created a two-tiered school system, segregated by race and class.

Schools in predominately white, middle class neighborhoods have maintained relatively comprehensive programming, and have net gains in enrollment (due to in-transfers) compared with their neighborhood population.

Schools in the rest of Portland continue to suffer a self-reinforcing cycle of declining enrollment (due mainly to out-transfers, not demographic trends), cuts in programming, and increasing racial and socio-economic isolation. Comprehensive secondary schools have been virtually eliminated here.

As our city becomes increasingly integrated, our schools are becoming more segregated, both ethnically and economically. This should not be acceptable to an city that values diversity and equal opportunity, and it is clear that PPS policy is out of step with the values of greater Portland.

All of our children deserve a first-rate education, and nobody should have to leave their neighborhood to get it.

About the masthead background

Left to right:

  • Child participating in an NAACP school segregation protest, location and date unknown.
  • Ron Herndon and the Black United Front protest at a Portland Public Schools board of education meeting, 1980.
  • Fifteen-year-old Elizabeth Eckford is jeered by Hazel Massery after she is turned away from registering at Little Rock’s Central High School, September 4, 1957.
  • George Wallace attempts to block the federally mandated integration of the University of Alabama, June 11, 1963.
  • Newspaper headline announcing Brown v. Board of Education, May 1954
  • White segregationists protest school integration in Little Rock, August 20, 1959

About the Editor

Steve Rawley is a father of two children in Portland Public Schools. He started this Web site to move discussion off his personal blog and create a more useful and appropriate place for the discussion of equity in Portland Public Schools.

Steve RawleySteve was an invited panelist at the fall 2008 “Building a Better Journalist” conference hosted by the Society of Professional Journalists of Oregon and Southwest Washington and the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication. In June 2009, Steve was featured as an innovator in beat reporting at BeatBlogging.org, a research project initiated by New York University’s Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute.


Anne Trudeau: 2 posts

Portland parent activist Anne Trudeau helped found the Neighborhood Schools Alliance.

Anonymous Teacher: 1 post

Bonnie Robb: 1 post

Bonnie Robb teaches at Harrison Park Elementary. She is a recent recipient of the Milken Family Foundation National Educator Award.

S. Brian Willson: 1 post

S. Brian Wilson is a Portland resident who served in the United States Air Force, 1966-1970, Vienam 1969; Honorably discharged as Captain.

Carrie Adams: 10 posts

Carrie Adams blogs at Cheating in Class.

David Colton: 2 posts

David Colton is a high school counselor and a former English and drama teacher.

Kenneth Libby: 4 posts

Kenneth Libby is an independent education researcher and a recent graduate of Lewis and Clark's Graduate School of Education and Counseling. He writes about national education issues, testing and philanthropy on Schools Matter and Global Ideologies in Education.

Nicole Leggett: 3 posts

Nicole Leggett is a Peninsula K-8 Parent.

Nancy Smith: 1 post

Nancy Smith has taught public school grades 5-12 for 32 years. She is a life-long resident of North Portland and a graduate of Roosevelt High School. She is mother to three Jefferson High School graduates — with her youngest currently attending Woodlawn Elementary School.

Peter Campbell: 17 posts

Peter Campbell is a parent, educator, and activist, who served in a volunteer role for four years as the Missouri State Coordinator for FairTest before moving to Portland. He has taught multiple subjects and grade levels for over 20 years. He blogs at Transform Education.

Pam Knowles: 1 post

Pam Knowles was elected to the Portland Public Schools board of education in 2009.

Polly Zagone: 1 post

Polly Zagone is a PPS parent.

Rene Denfeld: 1 post

Rene Denfeld is a writer and parent of two Ockley Green students.

Rita Moore: 3 posts

Rita Moore has a Ph.D. in Political Science and taught at universities in the US and Europe for 18 years. She now works as an advocate for children in the child welfare system and volunteers as a mediator and facilitator. She has one child in PPS and recently ran for the zone four position on the Portland Public Schools Board of Education.

Scott Bailey: 1 post

Scott Bailey ran for the Portland Public Schools Board of Education zone 5 seat in 2009.

Steve Buel: 9 posts

Steve Buel has taught in public schools for 41 years. He served on the PPS school board (1979-1983) and co-authored the 1980 School Desegregation Plan. He has followed PPS politics since 1975.

Stephanie Hunter: 10 posts

Stephanie Hunter is a behavior consultant and the parent of a student at Ockley Green. She is active in local and statewide advocacy for children and adults with disabilities, which she writes about on her blog Belonging Matters.

Sia: 1 post

Sia is the parent of an Ockley Green graduate.

Sheila Warren: 1 post

Sheila Warren is a community organizer and PPS grandparent.

Sheila Wilcox: 3 posts

Sheila Wilcox is a PPS parent and K8 teacher.

Terry Olson: 2 posts

Terry Olson passed away in October, 2009. He was a retired teacher and a neighborhood schools activist. His blog, OlsonOnline, was a seminal space for the discussion of educational equity in Portland.

Zarwen: 1 post

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

Would you like to be a contributor? Contact us with your ideas!