On the Same Page with the Oregonian

1:00 pm

You won’t hear me say that very often, but with Friday’s editorial, “Firing up the bulldozers”, the Oregonian’s editorial board correctly questions whether Portland Public Schools should “reverse course on any recent program changes to avoid costly fixes or unnecessary facilities upgrades.”

The O cites the hasty reconfiguration started by “Hurricane” Vicki Phillips, the inadequacy of many former elementary school buildings to handle K-8 schools, and the temporary housing of eighth graders at Madison High as reasons to rethink things before committing to radical, long-lasting and expensive physical plant changes.

Most surprisingly, the O acknowledges “anecdotal enthusiasm among the stroller set,” which augurs an end to declining enrollment in the district, as long as we can keep our “schools attractive enough for families to stay.” This is the demographic change that those of us with young children in the district are keenly aware of, but is not accounted for by the PSU demographic studies PPS depends on.

We may finally be seeing baby steps in the right direction from Portland’s elites on public school policy. I’ve been asking for a few weeks now for the district to state the reason for continuing with Phillips’ K-8 conversion. I appreciate that the Oregonian editorial board is asking the same question.

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

filed under: Facilities, K-8 Transistion, School Closures

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