Category: Media

In the news: teacher forced out, files suit

Madison High School teacher Val Gogoleski has filed a complaint with the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries, claiming Portland Public Schools failed to provide accommodations for her disability and forced her to retire three years early.

In a story in today’s Portland Tribune, Jennifer Anderson reports that Gogoleski also filed a complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and will file a lawsuit against the district.

Gogoleski, who has been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, says the district was slow to provide two out of three accommodations she requested (a phone and elevator access) and refused a third: a schedule with two prep periods.

Gogoleski was outspoken about district decisions she disagreed with, including during a recent controversy on hiring a new principal at Madison. “Speaking up as an employee means paying a price,” wrote Gogoleski on this blog last May.

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


In the news: HS principals weigh in; one resigns

Joseph Malone and Carla Randall, principals of Grant and Madison High Schools respectively, penned an op-ed in today’s Oregonian in support of the principle behind the high school redesign: equal educational opportunity.

Echoing Deputy Superintendent Charles Hopson’s speech to the City Club last month, Malone and Randall argue that opportunity should not be determined by race, income or ZIP code as it currently is.

Malone and Randall blame the current state largely on the district’s open transfer enrollment, an issue explored extensively on this site.

Malone and Randall ask:

What drives these inequities? Enrollment. In Portland’s open-choice system, it’s easy to flee some schools for others. Declined enrollment overall multiplies the effect. Schools that lose students, lose teaching staff, which means skimpier choices for kids. The risk? High-flyers leave, courses are diminished, parent involvement declines and students struggle.

It’s refreshing to hear district administrators openly repudiating the “school choice” policies the previous administration defended until the end, but troubling that so far these reform efforts are only aimed at the top four grades of a thirteen-grade system. School choice continues to drive dramatic inequities in the K-8 grades, too.

Also troubling in the high school plan, besides a nagging lack of details of analysis done to support planning (or, perhaps, the lack of analysis altogether), is the thinking around special focus options. At one point, planners were talking about having a third of high school students in special focus schools, meaning lower enrollment (or fewer in number) community high schools. Because of the lack of detail on how schools will be targeted for closure or conversion to focus options, rumors have consistently swirled in advance of every community meeting, with the latest, at Franklin, drawing upwards of 2000 concerned community members.

In perhaps unrelated news, Malone announced his resignation, effective at the end of the current school year, in e-mail to Grant parents yesterday. This has added fuel to the rumor mill, with parents wondering if he knows something the rest of us don’t.

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


Cheating in Class

A big PPS Equity welcome to Lili Taylor and her new blog Cheating in class: the shit they’re not telling you about the public education system.

Lili started posting last month, and has so far covered facilities concerns, financial waste at BESC, and the high school redesign in Portland Public Schools.

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

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Breaking: Oregonian notices contract dispute after 531 days, sends reporter to rally

The Oregonian, after missing a major teacher rally last month, sent a reporter to tonight’s rally, where teachers called  for a contract to replace the one that expired 531 days ago. Kim Melton reports that teachers disrupted the school board meeting, with superintendent Carole Smith and board members filing out of the auditorium in the face of chanting teachers.

The Oregonian‘s coverage includes no quotes from the district or teachers and does no critical analysis of the causes of stuck negotiations, instead proffering that “[t]he economy is partly to blame for the slow pace.” Melton also fails to mention that teachers included concessions in their settlement offer Friday, and were met with district demands for more concessions. With this dearth of information, the usual teacher- and union-bashing  ensued in reader comments on

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


High School closure rumors continue

Rumors of Franklin High School’s possible closure have begun in advance of a community meeting on high school redesign there, with legitimacy conferred by a neighborhood newspaper which does not cite any district sources, and then picked up, also without confirmation, by the Mercury.

Similar rumors made there way around e-mail lists and blogs in advance of meetings at Grant, Cleveland and Jefferson High Schools. Portland Public Schools administrators have consistently denied that any schools have already been slated for closure.

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


PGE, Nike fund anti-tax campaign

Nigel Jaquiss reports in today’s Willamette Week that Nike, PGE and other large Oregon corporations are funneling money to oppose two tax measures on the ballot in January through the Portland Business Alliance and Associated Oregon Industries.

PPS School board director Pam Knowles recently resigned as Chief Operating Officer of Portland Business alliance after five years there.

Nike branding opportunitySchool board co-chair Trudy Sargent sporting the Nike swoosh (photo courtesy Kenneth Libby)

Nike is a long-time corporate partner with PPS, as evidenced by ubiquitous Nike “swooshes” on school district property. Earlier this week, school board members sported Marysville shirts at their meeting to show solidarity with the recently displaced school community. Prominent on the shirts was a Nike logo.

If Nike were serious about supporting schools, they would take a stand for re-balancing corporate and individual taxes in Oregon, skewed against individuals and in favor of corporations for at least 20 years.

But paying taxes doesn’t provide branding opportunities.

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


In the news: fire safety

Beth Slovic reports in today’s Willamette Week that there are serious concerns for life safety in our schools. Carrie Adams pointed out the district has facilities reports available for all schools, including life and fire safety.

Take a look. I notice my kids’ school has “Fire Alarm is Missing or Inadequate” for over 25,000 square feet.

The district has just ten employees testing and maintaining fire alarms at its approximately 100 sites.

Back at the central office, there are twelve people listed as working in “Community Involvment and Public Affairs.” Maybe one of them can write us a press release explaining why our children’s lives are being put at such risk and why it’s so important to write, design, print and mail a large, full-color, glossy advertising flier to every residence in the district each year.

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


What do Oregon Educators Want?

Susan Nielsen had a pretty decent article in today’s Oregonian (even a blind squirrel stumbles upon a nut!). Teachers, Nielsen finally realized, aren’t a bunch of lazy, incompetent, know-nothing idiots – they’re actually hard workers, pretty sharp, and — get this — really like kids! What did these teachers list as problems?

  1. Class sizes too big to manage.
  2. Lack of backup during the school day.
  3. Parents who can’t or won’t help.

Small class sizes. Adequate staffing (so teachers can, say, have a 5 minute bathroom break). And let’s get parents involved. Some parents are too busy to visit the classroom regularly – but the school-home partnership is absolutely essential in education.

Now, oh dear Oregonian reporters and editorial board writers, go back and review your fawning over Race to the Top and NCLB-like reform proposals. Do they address ANY of those three problems teachers are currently facing in the classroom?

Nope. And that’s why you have a shitty newspaper.

SourcedFrom Sourced from: Our Global Education

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.

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In the news: district finds money, drops furlough demand

Willamette Week is reporting that Portland Public Schools has found enough money to drop demands for a five-day teacher furlough in the contract currently being negotiated.

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


Breaking: three-alarm fire at Marysville

KGW is reporting all students and staff were safely evacuated from Marysville K8 school before it was engulfed in flames.

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


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