Oregonian endorses Gonzalez

In a broadly expected move, and for the expected reasons, the Oregonian has endorsed Martin Gonzalez for school board zone 4.

Citing his familiarity with Portland Public Schools, his life experience and (most importantly) his support for the district’s student transfer policy, the editorial board of the O show that they want the same thing that the school board wants: an ethnic minority who won’t challenge the one policy they most fear being challenged.

It is a demonstrable, shameful fact that neighborhood-to-neighborhood student transfers have increased ethnic and socio-economic segregation in our city’s schools, and, in combination with the funding formula and teacher transfer policy, have left disproportionate numbers of poor and minority students in second-tier schools. This policy also shifts tens of millions of dollars in public investment out of poor and minority neighborhoods every year (261 KB PDF).

I can understand the transfer policy being viewed as an way for disadvantaged students to escape sub-par schools. I’ve even suggested a modification to the transfer policy to allow poor students to transfer out of poor schools. But this can only be a short-term solution until a comprehensive policy to reinvest in our poorest neighborhoods is implemented.

Otherwise it’s nothing but a fig leaf for an effectively classist and racist policy of public divestment from neighorhoods that most need public investment.

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