A Citizen’s Guide to the Mayor’s Week at Jefferson High

by Steve, January 10th, 2008

schoolsHey, guess what? Mayor Tom Potter is moving city hall to Jefferson High School next week (Monday, January 14 through Friday, January 18). Not to be outdone, the school board will have their regular board meeting there, too. There are a number of opportunities to be involved in this historic event. Here’s the full schedule (163 KB PDF) from the mayor’s office.

I will be speaking both at the school board meeting Monday night (7 p.m. in the auditorium) and at the city council meeting Wednesday (9:30 a.m. in the auditorium). I will also attend the Mayor’s State of the City address on Friday (11:30 a.m. reception, 12:15 event, in the auditorium) and plan to submit a written question to the mayor.

The school board meeting follows the normal protocol, in that citizens may comment on any agenda items the board will vote on before they vote, and may comment at the end of the meeting for anything else. There is an information item on the agenda about Jefferson Cluster Schools, but no vote. So my remarks will be at the end of the meeting. If you want to speak, contact the board office at 503-916-3741, or you may sign up on site before the meeting. (Once the meeting starts, the sign-up sheet is removed.) The agenda (PDF) is available from the school board’s Web site.

For the city council meeting, there are five slots available on the agenda for “Communications,” which are limited to three minutes, and can be on any topic. The deadline for signing up for Communications has passed, but I have reserved my spot and will be speaking between 9:30 and 9:45. There will also be opportunities for citizen comment during the first agenda item, which is all about Jefferson High. You must sign up in person for public testimony. A sign-up sheet will be available one half hour before the meeting, and testimony is limited to three minutes. You can contact the council clerk’s office with any questions about the protocol. There is also an evening council session, beginning at 6 p.m., with more opportunities for citizen testimony.

The State of the City address is free for general admission seating, or you can get $5 reserved seats from the City Club. Unlike most City Club Friday Forums, club members will not have the opportunity to ask questions in person. Instead, all audience members will be given the opportunity to submit written questions, and the Mayor and his staff will select questions to answer from those submitted.

Other opportunities for civic involvement include a Tuesday night PPS facilities community meeting (7-9:30 p.m.), and a Jefferson PTSA CommUnity Night Thursday (6-8 p.m.).

CommUnity Night will feature opportunities to talk with superintendent Carole Smith, Mayor Tom Potter, and Jefferson principal Cynthia Harris, and lots of stuff for kids big and small. Free child care is available, with entertainment by Penny’s Puppets, face painting, story time and more.

You can also come out to show your support for Jefferson’s student athletes all week long: boys basketball vs. Cleveland (Tuesday, 7:30 p.m.), girls basketball vs. Lincoln (Wednesday, 7:30 p.m.), wrestling vs. Marshall (Thursday, 7:30 p.m.) and boys basketball vs. Grant with a special half-time show featuring your elected officials (Friday, 7:30 p.m.). Go Demos!

My message throughout the week is simple: The students at Jefferson are not failing, and Jefferson is not failing the students. The entire city of Portland is failing Jefferson, its students, and the greater community it once served. Nobody can look at the state of Jefferson High, compare it to the comprehensive high schools at Lincoln, Grant, Cleveland and Franklin, and deny that we have a grossly inequitable system in place. The school board bears the most responsibility for this, but the city council also must be held accountable for allowing things to get so bad.

The way forward is clear: fully fund Jefferson as a single, comprehensive school serving the entire Jefferson CommUnity. It is simple, obvious, and the right thing to do. The future of our city is at stake. Let’s hold our elected leaders and their hired administrators accountable and demand equity for our North and Northeast Portland children and young adults.

21 Responses to “A Citizen’s Guide to the Mayor’s Week at Jefferson High”

  1. Comment from Steve Buel:

    Great going, Steve. The whole state of the Jefferson community is a mess. The problems there are severe. I don’t see much coming out of this show. I would love to be wrong, but I don’t believe the state of the schools in the Jefferson cluster will be improved much without bringing in leaders in the Jeff community and giving them a serious role in improving things (I do think I know how to do that) — and then kick in the resources.

    I agree that step one is returning to a comprehensive high school. I don’t have answers beyond that and I have spent much time talking about the problems and paying decent attention. I think the problems are way more difficult than the other serious problems in other lower economic areas (Madison, Roosevelt, and Marshall). And I don’t have faith in either the people running the schools or the city to make changes which really turn things around. That is why I think it is so necessary to have genuine input, real input, and power given to the people making the input, because the solutions are so difficult.

  2. Comment from Steve:

    I know I probably sound overly optimistic, but I think the stars are coming into alignment to finally get it right at Jefferson. And I think the school board finally hired a superintendent who really wants to listen to the community.

    The state of Jefferson is an undeniable mess, and there’s a growing consensus among not only the various communities that make up the Jefferson CommUnity, but also PPS administrators, that step one is a comprehensive high school at Jefferson.

    Why don’t you come out next Thursday and introduce yourself in person the Carole Smith? I’ve never met you in person, either, and it would be great to meet you.

  3. Comment from Rebecca:

    Thank you for your work. I am a Portlander, living in London for the last 17 years. I’m in the process of moving back with partner and 2 kids and starting to think about schools.

    I was one of the white kids from SW who benefited from the Jefferson magnet arts program in 1980. This was great opportunity for me, and I have always regretted that due to teenage idiocy I transferred to Lincoln midway through and was deeply unhappy till I graduated. Jefferson was an exciting place then, with brilliant teaching, not just in the arts.

    I do understand though, how that magnet programme and resulting integration did not necessarily improve the educational experience of Black children, and also that the magnet programme helped pave the way to the ‘school choice’ situation now which so undermines public education in Portland. Still, it sounds like Jeff in the 80s was a hell of a lot better for everyone than it is now. I’m so pleased to see that you think things might improve.

    Also that you’re not moving to Beavo. We probably be moving to N Portland, an adult ESL teacher and computer guy (so probably commute like yours) and in some ways tempted by the charters (working on long comment to post to Zarwens article, relating to UK experience) but I believe in public schools.

    Lots more to say but want to put this up quickly since I missed anti-lurking day…

  4. Comment from An.Ry.Briggs:

    “Nobody can look at the state of Jefferson High, compare it to the comprehensive high schools at Lincoln, Grant, Cleveland and Franklin, and deny that we have a grossly inequitable system in place.”
    __________________________
    I understand your conclusion, but what makes it inequitable? What are the item-by-item issues that make one school thrive/one fail? FTE allotment? Academic support? Parent/Teacher involvement?

    On paper, Jefferson has the best teacher/student ratio in Portland, and the highest funding per student: It’s got an excellent after-school program, a nationally known Dance program and devoted, talented teachers. Jefferson has the attention of the local movers-and-shakers, and if we count column-inches in the Oregonian, Jefferson is yards ahead of any other local school.

    So I’m asking sincerely ~ why is Jefferson doing so poorly? Do you look at the NCLB transfer policy, or the issues of Standardized testing? Facilities issues? Of those things, what can we change? NCLB and Testing are outside of our school-district’s pervue – and while Jefferson is a failing ’5′ in terms of building facilities, so are many of the surrounding schools.

    “The entire city of Portland is failing Jefferson, its students, and the greater community it once served.”

    Ok, asking sincerely, what do you recommend we do? Vote again for raising taxes (I’m ok with that) but what else? Whatever we do has to ‘fit’ the needs of the Jefferson communitybut it also needs to be equitable across the entire district.

    Jeff. is not alone in feeling the hurt right now, and I do not believe this hurt can be attributed to lack of concern/lack of funding from PPS School Board and school community. So I’m in agreement we need to “Fully fund Jefferson as a single, comprehensive school serving the entire Jefferson CommUnity.” But will this be a case of stealing from Peter to pay Paul?

  5. Comment from lindsey morrison grant:

    My mother is 76…she graduated from Jeff. She remains proud to be a Democrat, but at the same time rather sad, for together we have weathered a storm watching the tide of public opinion wash away support for the school, once a mighty contender on the field, accademically and even with marching bands.
    The magnet programs of the 80′s excited my children, but just as they were getting to be the right age, the life’s blood…the funding was drained out of them….slowly, but surely, until they were, but skeletal remains.
    Tom Potter doesn’t know, this new superientendent doesn’t know, but what people need…especially kids, is a sense of something “special” to have pride of ownership in. Having the “most gutted school in town” is nothing to be proud of. Being named, “The School that Was…” is at the very least pitiful, but not inspiring. How do we expect kids to perform when we take back every promise, and the inequity and disparagies of social class are so obvious?

  6. Comment from Steve:

    The inequity at Jefferson is not in FTE ratio but in program offerings. They barely have the core curriculum covered and the elective offerings are minimal. That’s the inequity, and it’s plain to see if you visit the school, and then visit one of Portland’s comprehensive schools.

    I do not support robbing Peter to pay Paul. I’ve clearly documented how the district’s open transfer policy drains over $14 million dollars a year from the Jefferson cluster, and coincidentally leaves the student population disproportionately poor.

    “Jefferson is doing so poorly” because the district has a policy that effectively encourages out-transfers, then punishes those left behind.

    My call to the city is to lobby the school board to implement an enrollment policy that is consistent with city goals of strong, livable neighborhoods, instead of a policy that is effectively segregationist and clearly discriminatory.

  7. Comment from Steve Buel:

    Dear an.ry.,
    The school district is divided into four parts and they are all treated separately. The Jefferson cluster is but one of the four parts — the other three are 1)the Madison, Marshall, and Roosevelt clusters, 2) the Lincoln, Wilson, and more well to do parts of Grant and Cleveland, and 3)the remaining schools which includes Franklin and probably Benson.

    PPS continually favors cluster #2 in a huge myriad of ways — documented many times over on this website and on Terry Olsen’s website, as well as my school board campaign and to some degree in Ruth Adkins’ and Michelle Schultz’s campaigns.

    If you are truly interested give me a call (I am in the phone book) and I will lay it all out for you, beginning with the teacher transfer policy which matriculates better teachers to the #2 cluster, the difference in acceptable discipline in the schools, the student transfer policies, the equalization of resources which don’t respond equally to need, the constant use of cluster #2 parents and political activists to staff committee after committe in PPS, the total control of the school board by cluster #2 organizations and on and on and on.

    To expect PPS to truly address Jefferson’s problems within the context of this inequity is pretty unreasonable. For instance, I have advocated for a genuine advisory committee in the Jefferson cluster with some real power to make serious recommendations set up so it truly reflects the views of community leaders. I could tell them how to do it no sweat. Got nowhere.

    The school board has no interest in truly addressing problems in the Roosevelt, Madison, and Marshall clusters and wouldn’t have any idea how to do it anyway since their kids don’t go to school there, they don’t work there, don’t live there, don’t have friends there, and have little idea even what those communities are like or what the real needs of kids there are. And it is even worse in Jefferson where the problems are more difficult because they intersect other issues to a greater degree.

    So, sorry, can’t tell you what to do in the Jefferson cluster, only how to do it.

  8. Comment from An. Ry. Briggs:

    Ah, Meat! thank you for specific 1, 2, 3s of what needs to be done for Jefferson. I don’t have HS aged kids, so much of this is new to me. But of course I have questions…

    1. “the teacher transfer policy which matriculates better teachers to the #2 cluster…”

    What exactly does it say in the Teacher’s Transfer Policy that allows this flow? Codified, or teacher preference? [Note that I am in a Grant Cluster k-8- and of our last 5 hires, all 5 were brand-spanking first-year teachers in their 20's. We're not seeing transfers, but cheaper replacements to fill in staff-movement. All good hires, but not experienced.]

    2 “Acceptable discipline in the schools…”

    I thought this was codified within the student handbook, so the same across the district? Or is your complaint with the implementation of discipline at Jefferson compared to other schools? Isn’t that internal to Jeff. Administration?

    3. “Student Transfer Policy…” Oh, ouch. I agree with you. But political suicide for any politico to touch. And it’s not clear-cut (from Jeff. or Grant’s perspective). Transfers give, and they take.

    4. “The equalization of resources which don’t respond equally to need…”

    Are you saying that as Jefferson has greater problems, Jefferson students deserve a greater chunk of the resources? I understand the argument and as a leftie Democrat am conditioned to agree. But it’s frustrating. “Need” isn’t unique to Jefferson, and using some calculations (PPS’s highly inaccurate “School Profiles”) Jefferson students are in the cream right now.

    5. “the total control of the school board by cluster #2 organizations…”

    Oh, let’s name names! PTA, Stand, CPSS, Chalkboard etc? Or are you talking about the schools affiliated with the children of senior PPS staff or board members? I’m in the #2 Grant Cluster, and I’ve never felt like we have any undue influence in board actions ~ from our perspective, we lost. (RCP/Hollyrood closed, transfer policies changed, k-8 advanced grade support gutted, large class-sizes). But it’s true that when I attend dstrict-wide PPS meetings, the faces I see are often parents from my district.

    5. From Steve’s note: “The district’s open transfer policy drains over $14 million dollars a year from the Jefferson cluster”

    I have the worst time with this statistic. I read (and enjoyed) the original blog-article and comments, but looking at current (a) class size and (b) $ per student, Jefferson is #1. The money may be drained away, but it is flowing back somehow -$7,614 per student at Jefferson, $4,374 at Grant. [Mind, these numbers are from the highly questionable "PPS School Profiles" webpage.] If PPS stopped all transfers from Jefferson, wouldn’t (a) class-sizes soar, and (b) decrease $$ per student (to pay for increased staffing & support?)

    We are a consumer society and parents approach education as a consumeristic product. If Parents don’t like a product, they take their money and move on to a different store-front. And instead of fixing the problems they transfer down the road, taking with them both their money, their gifts, and their problems. And the problem I have with the $14 million stat. is that it assumes (a) people won’t do the same (Private, Charter, or physically move) and (b) that the money would follow the children in like-to-like fashion. So I don’t know. What I do know is that I admire the activist parents who fight for their schools. They are blessed before the school-gods.

    “The school board has no interest in truly addressing problems…”

    While I disagree with the school board lots, none of the current board took this unpaid volunteer job for fun or profit. It’s a miserable job. They need more input from the surrounding communities ~ and that’s why I think these blogs (and all of us parents talking) essential. We either all stand together (or fall apart.)

    An. Ry. Briggs

    PS: Both Steves, I can’t do phones, but I do want to learn.

  9. Comment from Steve:

    Funding per student is higher because of the decreased enrollment. It needs to be higher to just barely cover the basics. Jefferson students do not have any where near the elective offerings as Grant. That’s an observable, quantifiable fact. Yes, the district is spending more money per student at Jefferson, but the Jefferson students are getting less for it than those at Grant.

    Of course, the transfer policy is punitive to both types of schools, in the form of overcrowding at schools like Grant and program cuts at schools like Jefferson.

    If you think it’s political suicide to touch the transfer policy, I’m telling you its social suicide to let it continue to work against our greater common objective of strong, livable neighborhoods.

    I also think the people of Portland are smarter than that, and with the white middle class spreading across the city into historically poor, minority areas, the issue is a lot less of a third rail than it once was.

  10. Comment from An. Ry. Briggs:

    Steve ~ thank you for the insight (funding higher because of decreased size). That hadn’t clicked in my brain, and makes sense.

    Re: Political Suicide. I didn’t mean the term to sound so glib. I do think if PPS immediately stopped all-transfers it would lead to major political infighting (throughout the district/City).

    Yet I shouldn’t have been so glib and taken the easy, jaundiced answer (ie: “It’ll never happen! It’s political suicide!”) as I think the PPS board is doing the best they can (heads barely above the water) ~and I think they would agree with your argument about the problems with the transfer policy. (Hence the recent transfer diminishments and charter refusals.)

    According to my wife, the best thing we can do is build the biggest, shiniest 21st C. School imaginable at Jefferson ~ and let the local community relish in it. She says that as a city we all want Jefferson to thrive, and I agree.

  11. Comment from Steve:

    I’m with your wife!

    But listen, I don’t want to immediately stop all transfers. My report to the school board in September called for a phased curtailment of neighborhood-to-neighborhood transfers. But first we have to rebuild the schools.

    It’s going to cost money in the short term, but it’s the only way to do it.

    And if we do it right, the out-transfers will curtail on their own.

    Thanks for your thoughtful comments. It really helps to focus the message.

  12. Comment from Steve Buel:

    g3An.Ry.,
    My comments were about more than just Jefferson. I offered the phone because EACHq of these issues is extremely complicated and needs lots of explanation. But I’ll give you a reasonable overview.

    1)Teacher transfer and hiring: More teachers want to transfer to upper middle class schools where the discipline is better. Hence, the mathematics of the process pretty much guarantees those schools get a larger pool of teachers to choose from, hence a better chance of better teachers. I have tried to get PPS to backload with outstanding teachers (hired previous to any other district) into the lower economic schools to offset this slow drain. No luck.

    2) Discipline: The discipline code was written when I was on the school board (early 80′s) and has not been updated much to my knowledge. There is a massive (MASSIVE) difference in misbehavior (particularly classroom disruptions) from upper middle class schools to lower economic schools. (Sylvan suspension last year = 2%, George suspensions =34%, That’s a third of the kids in each classroom.)
    While classroom disruptions are probably the single most important factor in lessening learning, we almost never discuss it, take no serious steps to improve it, and generally leave it up to the schools whose best interests are served by masking it. I have offered several suggestions to help correct this situation. No luck.

    3) Resources: District resources are allocated by numbers of students. So a school with huge numbers of kids on drugs, in alcohol and drug affected families, immense numbers of kids who don’t read or write well, incredible dropout rates in their cluster, huge neighborhood crime numbers, poor parents who can’t afford solid activities for their children after school, and on and on, get basically the same resources from PPS as schools with hardly any of these factors. Does that make sense? Someone could make the case, and it would be true, that there are extra resources in these schools. But just look at one type , the counselors, and you will see it is nowhere near what it should be, and certainly not what it needs to be. There are ways to obtain lots of what is needed which I have set forth, particularly in the middle schools and upper elementary grades. Never got the time of day.

    4) School board control: All the members of the school board who have been elected in the last several years have gotten elected because they have had the support of Stand for Children and the membership of the Portland School Foundation. These people come fron the Lincoln, Wilson, and parts of Grant, and Cleveland clusters. Their policies have heavily favored these neighborhoods — and they are the people with all the access, who sit on all the committees, who whisper in the ears of the board members, who know nothing and care little about the rest of the district. End of story. (It is true that the schools in these parts of the city suffer from many of the same problems facing the others, but you get favored and are way better off. The other schools can be horrible, truly horrible compared to what passes for good education, say in Vancouver.)

  13. Comment from An. Ry. Briggs:

    Steve~

    ~Wives rule!

    Steve B.~

    All 3 of your comments on Teacher Transfers, Discipline and Resources haunt back to the issue of what you call Misbehavior. (Specifically:, “More teachers want to transfer to upper middle class schools where the discipline is better”…”There is a massive difference in misbehavior [at assorted schools]” ” “[some schools have] huge numbers of kids on drugs, in alcohol and drug affected families, immense numbers of kids who don’t read or write well, incredible dropout rates… ”

    Ouch. I am curious about any solutions you have to the behavior/discipline issue. They would seem to be societal, not School Board resolvable. The last attempt at Social engineering (the Jefferson Academies) fell flat from what I’ve heard.

    Regarding 4) “School Board Control.” I respectfully disagree. I do not believe the current school board ‘know nothing and care little about the rest of the district’ ~ I think it’s a very tricky situation, with the board stuck between competing interests (business community, PPS bureaucracy, Union pressure, passionate parents). While SfC and PSF take credit for everything, I don’t think they lead the conversation ~now that VP is gone, I optimistically think we as a community can do that. And in Jefferson’s favor – in all of my conversations with Cluster 2 activists I’ve never heard anyone not decry the problems at Jeff., and not hope for a favorable resolution.

  14. Comment from Zarwen:

    Andrew,

    In the interest of naming names, I’d like to add the Portland Schools Foundation (PSF). Now that Sho Dozono is running for mayor, I wonder if he has any idea what he created, or if the outcome is what he anticipated/desired back in 1996. Also the so-called Real Estate Trust–they are the ones who really decide which buildings close, and invariably it’s the ones whose lands have the best resale value. Smith and RCP are two good examples of this. Their interest is in enriching their real estate colleagues, not in how best to house and educate schoolchildren. Keep this is mind while we watch the “Reshaping Schools” fiasco unfold!

    Concerning the teacher transfer issue: Steve Buel is correct as far as he went, but there are other factors. For example, no experienced teacher wants to apply to a school that appears to be at high risk of closure, which may be why your school keeps getting rookies. Another factor is that teachers sometimes apply to a school because they admire the principal there. Lastly, the teacher contract requires that a principal interview no more than 5 candidates for any open position. Seniority is NOT a requirement in choosing who to interview. I remember when an opening came up at Laurelhurst about 10 years ago, they received over 100 applications(!), all from within the district, per the contract. But the principal only had to interview 5.

    I am confused about your comment that Grant cluster “lost” (and I am also a Grant cluster resident). You mention RCP and Hollyrood closing. But Hollyrood is still open (albeit with a new configuration), and RCP was in the Madison feeder pattern. How do these add up to a “loss” for Grant cluster? And which “transfer policies changed”?

  15. Comment from Steve Buel:

    Zarwen, and we get a lot of good teachers hired also, often ones who have slipped through the cracks in other districts, ones who want a little more money, or ones who just want to live and work in the city. Otherwise PPS gets slaughtered in the teacher hiring process. Literally slaughtered.

    Andrew,
    Well, maybe “know nothing” is a little overstated, but if they do know stuff then why do they do nothing substantial? Kind of makes “could care little” stand up.

    Sure the cluster 2 people decry the problems at Jeff, but do what? Also, do they decry the problems in the Madison, Marshall, and Roosevelt clusters? And what have they done there that address the serious problems? No, the “could care less” remark stands solid as a rock.

    Things to do to address the discipline problems in poor middle schools and upper grade K-8′s in some cases:

    Identify it as the major problem it is so that energy and time will be spent on it as a top priority.
    Create classrooms without misbehavior so kids who want to really learn have a place they can.
    Set up alternative placements the first day within buildings and place kids there until they want to return to the regular classrooms and attend school regularly and not disrupt.
    Set up Saturday school as a deterrent.
    Create more electives to involve more kids in interesting classes. In middle school this can be done at almost no cost. (Messed up the ability to do this with K-8′s)
    Increase the number of counselors in lower economic schools. Very expensive but a must.
    Create meaningful after school activities tied to the school itself — including interschool sports programs which increases immensely student-teacher rapport and parent involvement.
    Allow principals the leaway to crack down on misbehavior — they don’t have it now.
    Get serious about reading and writing improvement for kids who are still struggling at the middle school level. The testing system focusses reading and writng attention on the bubble kids instead of where it should be.
    Create a system and administrative attitudes which increases the power of the teacher in the classroom. Lots of things could be done here.
    Quit focussing so much on the idea of improving teaching methods and spend much more time on making sure the school itself is working for the kids who are there.

  16. Comment from An.Ry.Briggs:

    Zarwen wrote: “I am confused about your comment that Grant cluster “lost””

    My subjective call based on past events ~ and we’ll see how it plays out in future years. Hollyrood Elementary was officially closed and Fernwood Middle School converted into a K-8 in May 2006. At the time this was deemed a ‘loss’ by activist parents at both schools, as Fernwood had been a succeeding Middle-School with a good assortment of electives, and Hollyrood an archetypal small neighborhood Elementary school. No more. We’ll soon be at 675 kids in a K-8 headquartered in Fernwood. From the hindsight of 1.5 years, whether you believe this is a loss or not depends on your view of K-8, neighborhood schools, and the relevance of the middle-school experience. I am an advocate of small neighborhood schools, so viewed the school boards actions in 2006 harshly. But I accept that reasonable people can disagree, and this year (our first as a true K-8) has gone better than I expected.

    Zarwen asked: “…and RCP was in the Madison Feeder”

    RCP was/is 20+ blocks from Hollyrood-Fernwood, and our families attend the same churches, same Sat. Market, same cub-scout packs. Many of the active parents at H’rood-F’wood saw the closure of RCP as a blow against a neighborhood schools, and argued with school board members for RCP’s continuation both because of the neighborhood school issue, but also ~ neighbors support neighbors.

    With RCP’s closure, L’hurst, Alameda and H’rood-F’wood all gained former-RCP students (from the redrawn line at w/57th), so RCP’s closure directly impacted us. I don’t know anyone happy about what happened to RCP.

    Zarwen: “And which “transfer policies changed.”

    Instead of saying ‘transfer policies changing’ I should have said ‘transfer numbers changing.’

    5 years ago Hollyrood and Fernwood both had a large number of transfers (off-hand, I’d say 25 to 30% of the student body.) This has changed: Hollyrood-Fernwood now takes only a handful of transfers (around 5 kids a grade-level). What with our demographics we don’t have the space for more transfers (and neither do L’hurst, Irvington or Alameda.)

    The transfer issue was a hot-issue within the parent community 2 years ago, with some arguing for continued Transfers (rational: Sonja Hennings’ comment that the world is multi-cutural. H’rood-F’wood is fairly lilly-white, and only thru minority-student transfers do we give the school-community a glimpse of the world at large.) Others were against Transfers due to class-size issues and the lack of neighborhood investment by the transfers themselves. As conversations go, it was a difficult one, but irrelevant in the end, as we have no space for any influx of transfers.

    … Have you looked at the school numbers for schools around Jefferson? I wonder if they’re all as full-up as we are. Pretty soon their will be no transfers as no space at any of the schools!

  17. Comment from Zarwen:

    You are right, Andrew, about middle school supporters being the “losers” on east side. Although, Beaumont is still there if anyone wants it, and most of the other clusters still have at least one middle school still around. The glaring exception is Madison; the nearest middle for them is also Beaumont, and that is quite a commute for most of them, one that should never have been necessary.

    I am disgusted to no end that the west side clusters were spared from all this, and I have not been able to reach any conclusion other than what Steve Buel wrote about, above.

    As far as enrollment in the Jefferson Cluster goes, you need to take a look at Steve’s (our host here, not Buel) posts here back in August and Sept. Look at the red-and-green maps: they’ll give you a great picture of where the enrollment (and therefore the money) is going.

  18. Comment from McAngryPants:

    At some point do we need to hold the parents RESPONSIBLE for the behavior and performance of their children?

  19. Comment from Steve:

    Of course, parents need to be held responsible. And young adults need to be held responsible for their own behavior.

    But my focus is holding the school board responsible for policy that concentrates poverty and its attendant problems at schools like Jefferson.

  20. Comment from Nicole:

    Here are some specifics about how PPS provides unequal educational offerings at Jefferson.

    Jefferson High School has about the same number of high school students living within its attendance area as Wilson High School in SW (Jefferson attendance area=1,751; Wilson attendance area=1,642).

    Educational offerings at both schools
    Math: Jeff=6 courses; Wilson=14
    English: Jeff=7; Wilson=13
    World Languages: Jeff=3; Wilson=17
    Music: Jeff=0; Wilson=15
    Art & Theater: Jeff=4; Wilson=12
    AP/IB classes: Jeff=0; Wilson=12
    Career pathways: Jeff=3; Wilson=6

    Two schools serving communities with the same number of students, but offering very different educational opportunities, because school district policies allow schools to be drained of enrollment.

  21. Comment from Steve:

    It is so powerful to see the numbers like that. It’s too bad the district won’t provide a spread sheet of all the schools at the different levels illustrating this. If they’re going to have “choice,” shouldn’t we be able to easily and accurately inform ourselves?

    Also, we as taxpayers should be able to see how the kind of “choice” PPS offers really isn’t really free or fair.