VisionPDX and Portland Public Schools

by Steve, September 18th, 2007

Amanda Fritz got her hands on the proposed visionPDX report, and correctly dings the authors for its wishy-washy statement on education: “The public and private sectors jointly provide a K-20 educational enterprise that serves the intellectual, cultural and economic needs of the region, the city and its people.”

VisionPDX is an initiative started by mayor Tom Potter. According to its Web site, “visionPDX is a City-supported, community-led initiative to create a vision for Portland for the next 20 years and beyond. The project provides an opportunity for all Portlanders to share their hopes and ideas for the future.”

Sounds real warm and fuzzy, but the process has been criticized for being light on statistical methodology and heavy on the feel-good factor.

I am not surprised by the lack of a strong statement on education in this report, since our city leaders have consistently spoken platitudes about our public schools while consistently failing to hold our school board to account for its policies that threaten our public neighborhood schools, even as they refer to them as our “crown jewels”.

I don’t mean to be rude or take Amanda’s discussion too far off track, but I had to call her out about this. I support her in her drive to fix the visionPDX document, and hope to nudge her — and any other potential city council candidates — to take a hard look at PPS policy and to at least take a stand as firm as the Flynn-Blackmer audit (230 KB PDF).

Obviously, this is an issue that impacts the entire city, and the silence of our city leaders (and would-be leaders) about our radical school transfer policy is puzzling, to say the least.