Ryan named PSF chief; school board position open

2:45 pm

Dan Ryan has been named chief of the Portland Schools Foundation, and will leave his seat representing North Portland on the Portland Public Schools board of education with a year left in his term.

The remaining board, led by newly elected co-chairs Dilafruz Williams and Trudy Sargent, will appoint a director from North Portland’s zone 4 to serve the remainder of Ryan’s term.

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

filed under: PSF, School Board

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17 Responses

  1. Comment from Steve Rawley:

    For reference, here’s who ran three years ago for the zone 4 seat. And the results:

               STEVE BUEL 27.94%
               SHERYL J. BUTLER 2.11%
               STEVE KAYFES  4.21%
               JUANITA V. JOHNSON 5.28%
               DAN RYAN 50.65%
               CHARLES McGEE, III  9.10%
               WRITE-IN .72%
  2. Comment from Whitebuffalo:

    Sorry to see Mr. Ryan go with time left on the clock. What do you think the message here is? That Mr. Ryan feels more effective trying to salvage a troubled institution like the PSF than working as a part of the school board? As the development director of the Oregon Ballet Theater he is well positioned to help with the need for donations to the PSF.

    I wonder if there’s any of the, “I won’t be as influential as when I was Co-chair so I should do something else”?


  3. Comment from Steve Rawley:

    It sounds like a good professional move for Dan, and a great way to combine his passion for schools and his skill as a fund-raiser.

  4. Comment from marcia:

    Does anyone besides myself have a problem with the Foundation? Just asking. One of our teachers wrote a grant application to them this year. It was like having another full time (unpaid) job trying to jump through all their hoops. Then the application was denied.

  5. Comment from Zarwen:

    Marcia, where have you been? Complaints about the Foundation are all over this blog–Terry’s blog, too.

  6. Comment from Steve Rawley:

    Back in November, I was quoted in the Tribune suggesting PSF do away with its requirement that poor schools write grants, and just fund positions directly based on need.

    As it stands, PSF doles out $40,000 grants (half the cost of a teacher) as sops to poor schools. The funding scheme allows rich schools to successfully fund full-time teachers while tithing to an “equity fund” that does virtually nothing to fill the actual funding gap at poor schools.

    Hence the foundation effectively reinforces inequity under the guise of working for equity.

    It’s a “charity” mentality that gives political cover to the status quo, which has served Portland’s middle class white schools quite well.

    I put Stand for Children and Ethos in that same category.

  7. Comment from Whitebuffalo:

    Why Ethos?

  8. Comment from marcia:

    I was playing the devil’s advocate here. Thanks. Just hoping that nobody was considering the foundation to be a good thing.

  9. Comment from Lakeitha:

    Just received notification of two upcoming “community meetings” to discuss the vacancy on the board. One will happen in two days and the other in 4 days. Great advance notification to the community.

  10. Comment from Anne T.:

    The second meeting is happening today (Saturday) from 10-noon at Ockley Green. Too bad PPS scheduled it at the same time as the Good in the Hood parade, one of N.Portland’s largest community events. More than one of us thought that if they really wanted input they could have put a booth up at Good in the Hood but that would be too much like right. They might have to actually listen.

  11. Comment from Dena:

    As a member of Stand for Children in North Clackamas, I would say our chapter devotes a significant of our time and resources, such as our wellness task force and our after school programs, to our lower SES schools. Disappointed to see a broad brush painted.

  12. Comment from Steve Rawley:

    I haven’t researched the work of Stand for Children all that much, but as somebody who has very closely studied inequities in Portland Public Schools, I can tell you they have consistently endorsed candidates for the school board who are extremely unlikely to challenge the status quo and extremely likely to perpetuate policies that favor predominantly white, middle class neighborhoods.

    My beef with Ethos is not with the hard working staff or the work they do with the children they are able to reach. My complaint is with the misconception that Ethos solves the problem of PPS not funding music education in poor schools.

    Ethos’ founder (and city council candidate) Charles Lewis perpetuates this myth, as in this quote (since removed) from the Ethos Web site: “When budget cuts threatened to destroy music education programs in Portland Public Schools, Charles stepped in and found a solution.”

    It’s not a solution; it’s not even a band aid.

    These organizations foster a charity mentality toward the least well-off among us, and, like I said, give political cover to policy makers who maintain a system that takes pretty good care of students in wealthy neighborhoods but not in others.

    This isn’t to say charity is bad. If Stand or Ethos are able to reach some poor children and make a difference, I support them in that.

    But charity is no substitute for fully-funded public education — for all students, in every neighborhood, taught by fully-credentialed, represented teachers.

  13. Comment from Whitebuffalo:


    I agree with your comments. My question about Ethos was to see where were coming from. If PPS would honor its commitments to its music programs Ethos (and Muse, and Pacific Crest) wouldn’t exist. It’s disappointing that the only way new instruments are purchased in this district is through hard to get grants. Administrators see grants as a “get out of jail (meaning responsibility)” card. I have no doubt that the folks at these truly extra curricular organizations love music but this is not equitable access for all kids DURING THE SCHOOL DAY. Music is curricular not extra.

  14. Comment from Nancy R.:

    I agree. The way I see it, Ethos (and others) are making money specifically because we lack arts and music in the schools. What incentive do they have to get fully-funded arts programs back during the school day? They have no incentive to do so — it would cut into their pocketbooks.

    Meanwhile, they still look like they’re “saving the day.” They’re not saving the day. And the parents who have the money and motivation to get arts education for their children are not inspired to do so in our schools. All of their money is going for Ethos music lessons.

    The principals at the low-income schools are in a horrible bind — free up instructional time for music/art and lose reading/math time. (And worry about lower scores.)

    From my inquiries, I have learned that Ethos offers discounts (on a sliding scale) for low-income families, but does not provide scholarships — or after school transportation.

  15. Comment from marcia:

    Another aspect of the issue is that these organizations replace certified teacher positions with uncertified people..Ethos, Nike Go (for P.E.) and I am sure there are more that I’m not thinking of at the moment.

  16. Comment from Whitebuffalo:

    The one to keep on your radar is “Arts Partners”. This one will be rolled out this year. When I’m in full cynic mode I feel like Arts Partners is the ultimate in out sourcing arts education.

    Steve, have you heard of this? Might be a great entry.

  17. Comment from Zarwen:

    No one has mentioned the Young Audiences “Artists in Residence” program! Been around for years. “Residence” typically lasts about 2 weeks. Yeah, that’s providing a lot of “enrichment”!