Vicki Phillips Sighting

by Steve, June 15th, 2007

Speaking of Vicki Phillips, she showed up at my children’s school today, NPR reporter in tow. You probably know how we feel about Vicki in my wacky household. (If not, you might want to look here.)

Ain’t it grand? Like she hasn’t pissed me off enough, she’s going to use my children, on the last school day of the year, as a backdrop for an NPR puff piece before she vanishes in a cloud of smoke and fire. I’m sure they’ll be extolling the virtues of the Gates and Broad foundations and all the great work they’re going to be doing promoting charter schools and other means of school privatization. Or maybe — just maybe — they’ll actually do a little background and talk to people who know something about education and are a bit concerned about Gates and Broad pushing their neoliberal education agenda nation-wide.

One can only hope. Then again, it might have been for a story on the local NPR affiliate, OPB. (The principal said NPR, but lots of people get confused about this type of thing.) Should be airing some time in the next couple weeks.

10 Responses to “Vicki Phillips Sighting”

  1. Comment from Zarwen:

    Actually, VP has been making the rounds before her supposed “departure.” I ask the principal at my child’s school what she was doing there last week and was told that it was a “routine visit.” (With only 3 weeks left on the job?) But later, I read in the minutes of a committee meeting that it was a “surprise visit.” Well, which one was it? And why the dissembling on something so simple and, presumably, inconsequential?

    But the REAL bad news is that VP isn’t leaving. Here is my prediction, originally posted on Terry Olson’s blog on May 18, 2007:

    “I predict that the first assignment Gates will give her will be to come back to Portland to “oversee” their generous grant that has been “helping” us so much since 2005. And while she’s at it, she will also act as a “consultant” (her favorite kind of people!) to hand-pick a new superintendent! Together, and with the help of the Foundation, they will gleefully implement CABs at all remaining PPS schools (which by then will all be on their way to becoming nice, big mega-schools), because the one at Jefferson will have been so “successful.” Then, at last, all those pesky parent advocates will have to go away!”

    So brace yourselves, Portland–Hurricane Vicki will be back sooner than you think!

  2. Comment from Sarah Carlin Ames:

    Vicki Phillips, over the last three years, has often just stopped by schools without announcement. She prefers to see a school as it’s working, rather than getting the visitor’s tour. So yes, for her it’s “routine” to make “surprise” visits and there’s no “dissembling” about it. And Rob Manning of OPB asked to visit a school with her this last week — I think he went to one of the three she stopped by on this last day of school.

    Sarah Carlin Ames
    PPS Communications and Community Engagement

  3. Comment from Himself:

    Sarah: Thanks for stopping by. I hope you can understand a parent’s frustration at the superintendent doing a fly-by like this, especially with a reporter in tow. I’m glad to hear it was local media, and not NPR. What really irks me is the idea that she’s burnishing her image as she walks away from what many of us — especially in the Jefferson cluster — see as a train wreck.

    Zarwen: I think that’s a little far-fetched. Disastrous if true, but far-fetched. Maybe Terry has some insider information, but I doubt Gates would want their top dog pinned down in one district instead of spreading the (ahem) love to other unsuspecting districts. And I have a hard time believing the board would approve it. (But maybe I’m being terribly naive. I sure hope I’m not eating crow on this later!)

  4. Comment from Zarwen:


    Just to clarify, the comments above were mine, not Terry’s; Terry kindly allows me to sound off on his blog from time to time.

    Concerning the Hurricane, I fervently second your desire not to eat crow later! But let’s not deceive ourselves about what a School Board would approve. Don’t forget Dan Ryan’s comment about having a “best friend” at the Gates Foundation! BTW, why are you so sure VP will be a “top dog” there? I know she has been given a fancy title, but as we have learned from PPS over the last two years, titles don’t mean nuthin’. Why else would Sarah Allan of the Human Resources Department(!) (whose salary is actually paid by the Broad Foundation, I have heard) be facilitating so many “conversations” about “reconfiguration”?!

  5. Comment from Anne:

    I think that Vicki Phillips has proven what her priorities are pretty clearly: Public relations and doing the bidding of corporations.
    She lead the charge to close my daughter’s school. When she showed up at my daughter’s school the last day it was opened I asked “Why are you here? You closed our school!” People were shocked at Phillips appearance, some kids were crying. I told Phillips a few minutes later it was time to go. These are OUR schools, she is not our boss. We pay the taxes that pay her salary.

  6. Comment from megs:

    It is definitely so comforting to know that PPS actually has staff members and board members who know how to read the blogs that are on to their sh……t. I’ve noticed Terry has also had a few visits from the higher echelons recently. Or are they spying? HMMMM. Big Brother (SISTER) is watching?

  7. Comment from Himself:

    One of our associates was speculating that they sent them to a workshop (grant-funded no doubt!) on dealing with and trying to spin the blogosphere. Too little, too late, but I agree it’s nice they at least try to engage a little.

  8. Comment from Sarah Carlin Ames:

    Workshop? Well, no, but I do have a Google Alert and sometimes I have the time to check the blogs (like late on a Sunday night, when I should be paying my bills). Thought I could clear up one thing: Sara Allan started at PPS as a Broad fellow (paid largely by that foundation), and as such was assigned to work on the reconfiguration conversations, which culminated last fall. She then joined the Human Resources Department. Her fellowship ended — Broad is no longer paying part of her salary — and she’s a PPS employee.

  9. Comment from Himself:

    Thanks for the clarification Sarah; I appreciate that you are willing to engage.

    And thanks for explaining how Broad has insinuated at least one employee into PPS.

  10. Comment from megs:

    Now I may be wrong, but I think that the Broad fellowship came with the stipulation that PPS would HAVE to hire Sara Allan once the fellowship ended? Any word on what she is doing at Human Resources?