PPS: Stay and Fight or Cut and Run?

by Steve, October 9th, 2007

My talk about seriously checking out Beaverton real estate and schools continues to draw disbelief from everybody I talk to. “NoPo Parent” urges me to stay and fight for the greater good, like MLK or Gandhi did.

But how do I explain this to my children? Sorry kids, your education isn’t as important as fighting for everybody else’s. I’d really like to help you with your homework, but I’ve got to crunch these numbers to show the school board how devastating their policies are to your neighborhood.

Seriously, when my daughter enters 9th grade in six years, how much better are the course offerings at Jefferson going to be? The current policy trend is balkanization, splitting schools in poor neighborhoods into narrow academic silos. A simultaneous trend is shutting down in-transfers at comprehensive high schools in wealthier neighborhoods. I don’t want my kids to have to commute across town anyway, but that’s their only option for a comprehensive high school, and it’s being taken away.

That’s “school choice” for you, folks. If you choose to live in a wealthy neighborhood, you get good schools. If you choose to be poor, or choose to live in an economically and ethnically diverse neighborhood, you get to fight over the crumbs.

If we stop and change direction right now, we might have some comprehensive, traditional high schools in North Portland in six years.

But the school board is not changing direction. To the contrary, they don’t even seem to recognize the train wreck they’ve set in motion. If and when they finally notice, it’s going to be too late for my children. Witness the giddiness of the board at their meeting last night upon approving the expansion of a special focus program into a building formerly occupied by a neighborhood school that was forced to merge with another school to avoid closure. Board members’ words of caution about how this might affect neighborhood schools ring hollow, considering their support of policy that is diametrically opposed to support of neighborhood schools.

Given this blatantly anti-neighborhood schools atmosphere, why shouldn’t I look at Beaverton, where neighborhood schools are the norm?

Pick a high school — any high school — in the Beaverton School District, and compare and contrast to our options in North Portland. Let’s just take Aloha High, for example. Aloha is 42% free and reduced-price lunch, 11% ESL and 66% white. Hardly what you’d call a “rich” school.

But they’ve got several bands, choir, theatre arts, visual arts, film making, wood shop, and drafting. They’ve got lots of advanced placement classes. They offer French, Spanish, Japanese, physics, calculus, a newspaper and yearbook and a full suite of athletics and extracurricular activities.

Most readers of this blog know about the travesty that Portland Public Schools has foisted upon Roosevelt and Jefferson in North Portland. At Roosevelt, they’ve created three academies that are self-segregated by race — one black, one white, and one Hispanic. At Jefferson, district policies have created a segregated “black” school. As if that weren’t bad enough, they’ve made it even worse, with gender-segregated academies, two campuses miles apart, and extremely stripped-down academic offerings across the board.

Nobody — I mean nobody — on the school board is willing to honestly address the source of the problem, our free-market open transfer policy. This is the sacred cow of Portland Public Schools. We’re going to need a wholesale turnover on the board — all seven members — before this gets addressed, and that’s not going to happen in time for my kids. It’s also not going to happen as long as the corporate-dominated Portland Schools Foundation has so much influence in PPS policy and school board politics.

So it’s looking like “cut and run” is the best option for my family. It doesn’t mean I can’t still write about the problem, but the urgency will be considerably less for my family. Sorry folks, as much as I’m flattered by the invocation of MLK and Gandhi, this is not British-occupied India or the civil rights movement of the ’50s and ’60s (even if it is a civil rights issue).

I am not in this for the fight; I’m in this for my kids. Though I am civic-minded, I don’t appreciate having to fight tooth and nail for basic educational opportunities in my neighborhood. I would much rather take my son to a hockey game or my daughter to the symphony than stay up late crunching numbers to convince the school board of the obvious: their policy is destroying the last vestiges of Portland’s crown jewels.

31 Responses to “PPS: Stay and Fight or Cut and Run?”

  1. Comment from marcia:

    I can appreciate your viewpoint. There is another side to attending a school like Roosevelt, though. My daughter gained a first hand, front row seat to the inequities in our society. She and a small group of Roosevelt students also got to spend about an hour and a half speaking with Jonathan Kozol her senior year…She has a very strong outlook on life, having grown up in this environment. And then, there is also that full ride scholarship she managed to snag, which I doubt would have happened in one of the wealthier schools.

  2. Comment from Zarwen:

    Well argued, Steve. Forgive me for nitpicking, but I want to point out that Clark did not “merge with another school to avoid closure.” In the same vein as what you have outlined in your post, what happened there is that middle schools in that area have been completely discontinued (more inequity!), so all of Binnsmead’s former feeder schools were forced to go K-8 whether they wanted to or not. Clark did not, but it was forced on them. As their current building is too small to house the local K-8 population, they will be moving into the building that used to be their middle school. These decisions were made last January.

    The vote to expand the CSS focus option school was also made last January at the same meeting, even though the Board was NOT considering housing it at Clark at that time; VP had actually earmarked the Clark building for Winterhaven back then. But either way, the neighborhood population of Clark was told they would have to move, even if it meant their building was going to stand empty–which was also an outcome that was under consideration for a time.

    I believe it is important to point out here that all neighborhood schools involved in the “Binnsmead Community Conversation,” which included Binnsmead Middle and Bridger and Clark elementaries, strenuously opposed going K-8. They submitted two other options to VP, who responded that she didn’t like their options and was going to go ahead with what SHE wanted to do. Hence the situation we have today.

    How insulting is it for the Superintendent of a school to put representatives of neighborhood schools into meeting rooms and ask them to make a reconfiguration plan, only to throw their plan in the trash?? Why didn’t that happen in the Sellwood or westside areas, hmmmmm?????

  3. Comment from Wacky Mommy:

    I know you, my friend, and you are no Gandhi or Dr. King. Although you are smart and people like to ask you what they should do. And you are starting to get a fair amount of hatemail, which to mean translates to: “Good job!” (I’m getting hatemail now, too, woot!)

    We are just one Wacky Family, we are not trying to lead a movement here or run for office. I’d like to ask Sam Adams — all you can think of, as a future “visionary” and leader of this city, re: Portland Public Schools, is this: The drop-out rate is too high! Let’s fix it! ???

    I mean, for real, Sam — that’s the best you got? Also, when we were building a playground at my kids’ school, and you dropped by end of day, posed with a shovel, grinned like a flippin’, er, politician, then split? Without even saying hi to anyone or doing two seconds of manual labor? Don’t think I didn’t notice that. That was FAKEY and INSINCERE.

    Do not be INSINCERE, SAM! Sam, it may be too late, but we will see.

    The rest of you, I’d like to ask you, what do you think you should do? What can you do to make things better, for all of the kids? For all of us? Not just in the schools, but in society?

    I do not like being one of a few lone voices, it is no fun.

  4. Comment from Steve Buel:

    That’s “school choice” for you, folks. If you choose to live in a wealthy neighborhood, you get good schools. If you choose to be poor, or choose to live in an economically and ethnically diverse neighborhood, you get to fight over the crumbs.

    Steve, very Martin Luther Kinglike comment. (except maybe for the “folks” part)

  5. Comment from Steve Buel:

    Here’s some of your elected school board members as candidates:

    Sonia Henning, “support effective neighborhood schools” (especially my neighborhood)

    Dan Ryan, “strengthening neighborhood schools” (well, maybe putting a different school in your neighborhood first, then strengthening it)

    Trudy Sargent, will concentrate on “keeping families of all incomes in the Portland schools” (especially those in the West Hills)

    Dilafruz Williams, I am an advocate for “equity” (if you are a member of SFC or PSF we believe you are equal)

    “David cares about children, especially children of color and children whose families are struggling””Every child has an equal chance to learn”
    (we care enough to suggest there are other school districts you might look into attending)

    Bobbie, “focused on supporting teachers and students in schools” (well, some schools)

    How could you all leave a district headed by such an enlightened group?

  6. Comment from NoPo Parent:

    Steve – I hear ya. I want what is best for my kids, too. But I don’t get it. You want to move to Beaverton so your kids can get a better education. How is this NOT like PPS parents wanting to use the transfer option so their kids can get a better education? At least with the inter-district transfers, parents stay within PPS. But you’re advocating a wholesale abandonment of PPS. How is this a good thing?

    And how is joining the great middle-class suburban migration away from the city NOT an expression of libertarian values, i.e., I’ll leave you alone and let you do your thing as long as you leave me alone and let me do my thing? What about the common good?

    In many ways, the movement that we need to create is much bigger than MLK’s and Gandhi’s. MLK and Gandhi had obvious targets of injustice that they could rally around. But bringing social and economic justice to all kids in all public schools barely rates as an issue in any of the major political races.

    We all need to stay. And fight. Yes, it will be messy and it will take a long time. But we need to stick together and raise our collective voices. Or we’ll all survive alone in our hermetically-sealed, suburban autonomous bubbles, safe in the knowledge that our kids are fine. But wondering about the fates of others.

    In the end, I fear that good schools will become like good restaurants. There are some here and there, but their quality is up to the individual owner. And it’s up to the patrons to find out where they are and to make reservations to get in. No good restaurant in your neighborhood? Too bad. No reservations available at the high-quality restaurant across town? Tough luck. But what if schools were less like restaurants? What if every child had access to a free, high-quality education?

    If we’re serious about leaving no child behind — really serious — we have to wrestle with that question: how can every child gain access to a free, high-quality education? To cast the net as wide as possible and to increase the likelihood that more poor kids will make it, we have to level the playing field.

    But we can’t get going when the going gets tough.

  7. Comment from Wacky Mommy:

    NoPo Parent,

    First of all, re: “But we can’t get going when the going gets tough.”

    Yes, we can. See ya. And see this:


    You’re not married to me (and for that, you should thank God, because really? I’m a handful) but Hockey God is married to me, and this conversation should we stay/or should we go now? has come up about 50 times since we got together 10 years ago. This is nothing new for us, talking about leaving.

    Which you don’t know because you and I are not married, see? So you don’t get to weigh in here.

    Portland-metro area is and has always been fifth choice for me, or sixth, after San Diego (family, great weather, Mexico close by); Lisbon, Portugal (where my husband and I fell in love); Oh, Canada (on the prairie, or East coast, hockey); Iowa (family, Amish country, boating on the lake); and Manhattan (always, always my first choice, but not my husband’s).

    Has a pitbull tried to eat you lately? I’ve had it with that shit. At what point did I say, “I’m done”? Last Thursday, when a pitbull tried to nibble on me. Try saying something to me like, “Sheesh, sorry — that must have been a drag” or “I’m glad you’re OK,” or something, would you? instead of rambling about restaurants and “wrestling with questions” and yadda-yadda-blip.

    I love my neighbor (not the Nekkid One, although I do love her, or the Nasty One, who I do not love at all, but another one who lives nearby). But when she showed up on my front porch last year, with a pitbull attached to her leg, I wasn’t that fucking pleased. So when I say, I love most of my neighbors and will miss them… Yes, I will. But I won’t miss the other shit. I won’t miss calling my sister and saying, “Library/community center/neighborhood is in lockdown, I can’t stop by.” My sister lives nearby and there have been numerous times we haven’t been able to navigate the twenty-odd blocks between us because the police? They’re either over in her neighborhood or they’re here in mine. And usually someone has ended up dead, or close to dead.

    We are divided and at each other’s throats here, and that is the last thing I wanted. I thought we were past all that. See: Chavez Blvd. We are so not past that.

    This is my life. This is my reality, not yours. Mine.

    I didn’t care for it much, the evening we couldn’t come home because of the sharpshooters on the corners. I don’t like the SWAT teams circling. I don’t like the way the kids get scared when the cops are searching house-to-house. I don’t like when a Hispanic family’s house gets raided and then INS or the FBI is all, oh, sorry! Wrong family!

    I don’t like how I’ve taken to yelling, “Move, bitch!” at male drivers. I don’t like that a homeless man was shot to death right down the street. (Read here: http://wackymommy.org/blog/arc.....ghborhood/)

    I don’t like my nearby neighborhood schools being in fucking lock-down every time there is an “incident.” I don’t like it that Jefferson High School is in perpetual lockdown, just because PPS said so.

    I don’t like that the Nekkid Neighbor asked us to walk to the library and later, I was glad that we didn’t go because a man was shot to death on the corner. Five minutes before my neighbor walked by.

    I was glad she had called me, because all I could think was, maybe that was her five minutes that made the difference. What if she and her baby had been right there, right then? What if my babies and I had been with them? Would the outcome have changed? Would it have been more than one person dead? How can I know?

    She was so shook up, all she could say was, “I saw his feet.” They were sticking out from under the police blanket.

    My kids are going to be at home and in public schools here for about ten more minutes and then they’ll be off to college. So please you will not try to run our show. Go get your own blog and go off on there, would you? You have plenty to blog about, it sounds like.

    And last of all, I don’t like the nickname “NoPo,” cuz the word po’ is colloquial for “poor.” Were you aware of that? NoPo to me has always sounded like, “No mo’ po’ people around here, boss, just us chickens.” It’s not North Portland that I’m leaving, or Northeast, where I’ve lived my entire life.

    It’s NoPo.

  8. Comment from Zarwen:

    I’m with you, Wacky. NY has always been my first choice too, ’cause that’s where I’m from. They know how to fund education there, too!

    Unfortunately, my hubby is chained to his job with a pair of golden handcuffs, so we aren’t going anywhere soon. Why aren’t we joining you on the road to Beaverton? He is able to get to work quickly on the MAX every morning, which is also our method of choice for going downtown when we choose to (which isn’t often). And while our child does not attend his neighborhood school, we are in a carpool with 2 other families, so the trip is not onerous. In short, we are close to everything we need, including a freeway on-ramp, and our house will be paid off next year, so it doesn’t make sense for us to move . . .

    yet. Just wait ’til hubby retires! I’ll be gone so fast you’ll think a tornado has hit PDX.

  9. Comment from Wacky Mommy:

    That’s what I’m sayin’! Time goes by crazy fast.

  10. Comment from Steve Buel:

    Well, Wacky Mommy, you won’t hear me tell you not to leave. But I think you were a little harsh on NoPo. She is trying, we need those people. She wants to make things better. Each person is in their own sitution and fights different battles. I would have been gone long before you — but there are dogs to kick on your way out, just doesn’t seem like she is one of them.

  11. Comment from Wacky Mommy:

    I’m not reading this blog anymore. If I was I would say, Steve B., always the voice of reason.

  12. Comment from Steve:

    I’m not reading this blog anymore.

    If I had a nickel for every time I heard that in all my years of Usenet, e-mail lists and blogs…

    Say Reg, that reminds me, I was coachin’ in Omaha in 1948 and Eddie Shore sends me this guy….

    Hey, like my friends at Clear The Crease say, “More Hockey! Less School!”

  13. Comment from NoPo Parent:

    I seemed to have hit a nerve, and I don’t mean to offend. I’m trying to work out the same things that many of you are trying to work out. I don’t want to leave Portland. I want to stay and make things work. I’ve lived in 8 zillion places, and the educational systems was worse — much worse — in all of them. Portland has a chance. A small chance. But a chance.

    So what DO we do about this issue of to stay or to go? How CAN we fight for our own kids and still fight for all other kids? These are not rhetorical questions. These are questions that keep me up at night. Often.

    I ask these questions of you, Steve, because — hell — this is your blog! And you post these pieces in a public manner to — ostensibly — receive feedback. So I offer feedback. I ask questions that I don’t know the answers to. I’m hoping that, together, we can come up with better answers than any one of us alone can.

    Is this incredibly naive? Doubtlessly so. Yes. But it’s what I’ve got. I still think that things can be turned around here.

    That’s my story and I’m stickin’ with it, folks. If you’re all headed to BeaverTown, good luck, and God’s speed. I hope you’ll tell us all about it when you get there. I hope it’s as wonderful as you make it out to be. Although I doubt it will be.

    Hey, I’m a cynic as well as a sappy sentimentalist.

  14. Comment from megs:

    Just shoot the pit bull.

  15. Comment from Zarwen:


    The only way to accomplish the things you are talking about is to dismantle the Portland Schools Foundation. They’re the ones who are really running the show.

  16. Comment from becky:

    Is moving about the schools being shitty or is it about the neighborhood being shitty? It’s not the school’s fault that there are pit bulls running loose in the neighborhood. (although I assume there’s a loose vicious pit-bull/crap schools correlation.)

  17. Comment from Shelby:

    The loose dogs problem isn’t helped by the recent decision not to have animal control pick up animals. If one’s a problem, we’re supposed to corral it ourselves and drive it to Troutdale. Yeah, right. My wife’s certified as an Animal Control Officer, and WE wouldn’t do that.

  18. Comment from Steve Buel:

    Becky, the school district does not take the necessary steps to make sure the school is a bright light in the rundown neighborhood. So, because of this, the schools tend to mirror the neighborhood. f

    Shelby, another great example of the city (county) favoring the upper and upper middle class neighborhoods which, in my experience, tend to have way less nasty dogs (and I have had a good deal of experience campaigning door to door all over the city for 30+ years). If they had the same dog problems then the animal control would be back in business.

  19. Comment from Former NE Portland Neighbor:

    Hockey & Wacky – might I suggest you take a look at Lake Oswego too? I just moved down and the schools are fantastic!

  20. Comment from Ben:

    I am new to this blog. Thank you for having it. I also grew up in PPS (Meek, Whitaker, Benson). I love the diversity of Portland. I, like many could “afford” to move to the suburbs. But I like being in the city. It has flavor – good and bad. I also have children in 3rd and 5th grade in PPS.

    Our school was merged/closed/screwed by Ms Philips and the boards decisions. I struggle with finding the good that Philips did. The weasel-like lies over shadow the good. I have come to appreciate Ms Mincberg.

    I have always appreciated Dilafruz Williams, Dan Ryan and Bobbie Regan. I really do not think you can lump everyone together. Others have been less open and willing to listen or talk. My opinions are base on their response to my cornering them at the school fair and hounding them on email and in the press.

    I am also at a loss on how to solve the problems we face. My children are looking at Madison. I’m not at all that happy with this choice. I like that it’s small. I hate that it’s defined by a skate park 100 yards from the front door. The transfer to Grant options sounds almost as bad. Overcrowded and impersonal.

    How do we help to solve the problem? How do we as parents of 3rd graders make a difference? How do we enjoy the city and allow our children a good education? Running only solves it short term as another issue will come up.

    Thanks for the opportunity to rant.

  21. Comment from megs:

    Bobbie Regan? Why? Mincberg….what is that about? Might want to do a little reading on the history of Houston/mincberg and Rod Paige…and all the shenanigans in Portland, too.

  22. Comment from Zarwen:

    For what it’s worth, Megs, it was Bobbie Regan who helped convince the then-members of the Student Support & Community Relations Committee (who were Morgan, Wynde and Williams at the time) that moving Winterhaven to Clark was not the best idea. Had she not showed up at that meeting, on her own time, and given her input, the outcome might have been considerably different for that school.

    She may have done other things behind the scenes that we are not aware of but that were in the best interest of PPS families nonetheless.

    I have developed the opinion that she blows hot and cold and I never know where she is going to land on an issue. That is why I did not vote for her. But I cannot honestly say that she has never done anything good for PPS families.

  23. Comment from Steve Buel:

    Ben, it might come as a surprise to many people on this and Terry Olsen’s blog, since I am continually criticizing the school board, that I think they are all probably decently nice people. They have their strengths and weaknesses like anyone else. They are trying to do what they think is right as far as I can tell.

    That is not the problem though. The problem is that they have a narrow way of looking at the world. A definite slant toward the upper middle class. That is why Stand for Children and the Portland Schools Foundation allowed them to be on the school board. It is really very simple.

    It is this slant that you have to understand in order to understand how PPS works at the school board level. It is akin to understanding that the leaders of the Republican party are going to slant things toward big corporations. In this way the school board members are ALL the same. Sure they have their little differences and approaches, but in the end SFC and PSF rules the board. Your only choice is whether you want to become involved with one of these two organizations, meaning accept their value system, upper middle class schools FIRST, or protest this inequity and end up on the outside, but looking yourself in the mirror in the mornings.

  24. Comment from Sheila A.:

    “I am also at a loss on how to solve the problems we face. My children are looking at Madison. I’m not at all that happy with this choice. I like that it’s small. I hate that it’s defined by a skate park 100 yards from the front door. The transfer to Grant options sounds almost as bad. Overcrowded and impersonal.”

    1) Schools and the District are only as bad as you make them. For all of you who sit here and complain about the district so much, why don’t you become more involved in the process. There is a such thing as a public comment. And as a parent who sits at home and watched the board meetings on channel 28, i know that the public comments are the ones where the board has to listen the public, no matter how rude the comments are. And what the hell is with all these conspiracy theories? PSF runs the School District? Are you serious?
    I suppose PPS has done nothing right ever.
    What are you going to say about Carole? That SFC and PSF run her too? Come on. Quit bitching and start acting. If I were a teenager again and my parents complained so much on blogs without actually doing anything, I’d be pissed. Talk about all talk and no walk. Geez, I wonder what my son thinks about me now. Responding to a bunch a people who only type out their feelings. Show up at a board meeting one day. I’d love to watch you share your opinions. Maybe then, we could actually get somewhere….

    Just saying.

  25. Comment from Laila "Knockout" Johnson:

    I agree Sheila.
    what if the board doesn’t listen?
    Do they ever listen?

  26. Comment from Zarwen:


    You should know that a lot of the people who are “bitching” here are very involved in their childrens’ schools, and DO show up to Board meetings to testify. Guess you missed Steve’s earlier post about how he presented his maps and a detailed report to the Board to protest the transfer policy. Don’t accuse people of not walking the walk unless you are sure they really haven’t.

  27. Comment from Wacky Mommy:

    Hi Sheila,
    We’ve met before in person, not just in cyberspace. Not sure if you remember me or not. I’m Nancy (http://wackymommy.org/), Steve’s wife.

    My husband and I do volunteer a ton — in the classroom, on field trips, at church, in the community. Steve did give testimony board meeting before last, and we both have attended board meetings in the past. It’s difficult to find a sitter on a weeknight (our kids are 5 & 8), so we cannot both attend every meeting, but one of us is usually there.

    We also e-mail and phone the school board regularly — they know us by name and my guess is they wish we would stop talking. (I like the blogs because they give everyone, including you now, another place to communicate.)

    I met with Cynthia Harris, the principal at Jefferson, last week to talk about outreach from Jeff to the cluster schools. I am an advocate, writer and editor. And mom and wife, although I feel those two things should really have come first on this list. Since we’ve gotten so involved in the community, our own kids sometimes come last, and what kind of deal is that for them? My daughter writes NO PTA MOM on any slips of paper she can find.

    So there are my credentials, not that I feel like all the work I’ve done, and that we’ve done collectively, has made a difference. I am not feeling optimistic about PPS and I am grieving over this. I am a graduate of Harvey Scott Elementary (K-8) and Madison High, and do not want the same inadequate school system for my children that I had. We’re planning to sell our house and move to Beaverton. (I don’t know if you saw those posts on the two blogs or not.)

    So no, to respond to your comment — we don’t just sit around and complain. What good would that do?

    Happy Wednesday to you.

  28. Comment from Steve:

    Sheila, an important part of the democratic process is public discourse. If that’s “bitching” to you, I have reason to suspect you don’t have a very thorough understanding of democracy.

    My wife and I have devoted countless hundreds of hours volunteering in our children’s schools, writing over $10,000 in grants for PPS, crunching district enrollment numbers, and engaging members of the school board and administration. We’ve also donated thousands of dollars directly to PPS schools.

    But none of that is required for somebody to have and express an opinion about the political and administrative leadership of PPS. We’ve all got a right to engage in the democratic process, and blogs like this provide a place to do so. If you don’t appreciate that, you don’t have to read it.

  29. Comment from Ben:


    My Wife works almost full time as a volunteer (for years) in the schools, I have met many, many times with the board, the press, parents, instructors and even spoke at board meetings. When I was unhappy with the process, I was almost “stalker” trying to get voice time with the board and PPS District staff. Additionally, my family has donated a considerable sum of money for equipment to our school and fund raised to add resources to our school. Then it was closed by Ms Philips and the board.

    I agree you have to put effort in. But this blog caught my attention as A). I do not think people are listening B). the runway is getting shorter for my children.

    I find the dialogue good as I am at a loss on how we can fix the systems (especially in time for my children).

    Please don’t assume dialogue or blogging is synonymous with being passive.

  30. Comment from FREEAK:

    Hm…I would check out Beaverton schools for their unofficial transfer policy. My niece graduated from Southridge in Beaverton and this was not her neighborhood school (Beaverton was/is). She graduated class of 2006 (and is a Beaver now at OSU). My sister said she just called the school, they met her (she had gone to private school preschool through 10th and wanted to join the drama club at Southridge). She had several class mates (I believe 5) who did the same, requested a transfer and it was granted in the Beaverton school district. FYI I grew up in Aloha (but have been an East sider since 1992) and also had 2 friends who transferred from Aloha High to Beaverton simply because they could.

  31. Comment from Steve:

    Yes, there are transfers in Beaverton, but they are the exception, not the rule. The rule in elementary is “no” transfers. There are no special focus elementary programs. All elementary schools have the same programming (none of the hit-or-miss patchwork you get in Portland). There are special focus middle and high schools, and there are transfers at that level. But again, it is the exception, not the rule. All middle and high schools have similar programming, and where they differ, it’s not about one school having everything and another having nothing.