November 5, 2009
In order to live up to Portland’s promise of a progressive, diverse, sustainable community, Portland Public Schools must:
- Provide the same level and quality of educational opportunity in every part of the district. That means first defining what constitutes a good education, and then making sure every neighborhood has it available. It means that if one half the town gets comprehensive secondary schools, the other half does, too.
- Abolish local school foundations, which, in combination with other direct funding (e.g. fee for full-day Kindergarten), allow wealthy neighborhoods to increase budgets at their schools by as much as 30 percent or more. If wealthy donors want to donate to the district, and we should encourage them to, their money will go to the general fund for the benefit of all students.
- Significantly reform the student transfer system to ameliorate its self-segregating and de-funding effects. This, along with a common sizes, will pay for total equity of opportunity with zero budget impact.
- Reform the way we hire and train teachers so that we can compete with surrounding districts for the best young talent, and then retain them.
- Treat our teachers with respect and dignity, and with the understanding that they are the ones actually doing the vital work of teaching our children, the most important project of human civilization.
Steve Rawley published PPS Equity from 2008 to 2010, when he moved his family out of the district.