PPS School Board: Segregation Now, Segregation Tomorrow, Segregation Forever

by Steve, October 27th, 2007

As I’ve written here before, there is no political will on the Portland Public Schools Board of Education to reverse their effectively segregationist open transfer enrollment policy.

The school board knows about the racial isolation brought on by this policy, and the annual shift of tens of millions of dollars out of our poorest neighborhoods into our wealthiest. They know full well that the balkanized “academies” at Jefferson, Roosevelt, Madison and Marshall do not give students adequate educational opportunities, and they know full well that this encourages even more out-transfers from those schools.

But they are certain, from their own “market research,” that “School Choice” is a “strength” of the district.

This is all becoming more clear as the Student Support and Community Relations committee continues to meet, and prepares for the November 5 board meeting, where this will be a major agenda item. Look for committee recommendations to “tweak” the policy to make it simpler. But don’t expect any recommendations to ameliorate the devastation this policy has caused to our poorest neighborhoods.

Simplifying the lottery can mean only one thing: removing or relaxing any kind of weighting that might have given advantage to poor or minority students.

I think it’s safe to say that there is a deliberate pattern here, foisted upon our district: in tight times, screw over the populations least likely to complain, and make sure the middle class neighborhoods get the best of the best.

The school board is creating a time bomb. In the neighborhoods expecting the most demographic growth, they’ve closed schools, sold or leased the buildings, and have completely gutted the high schools. In ten years, everybody’s going to be saying “What the hell happened?” and everybody will pretend they don’t know. I’m telling you right now who’s responsible: Ruth Adkins, David Wynde, Bobbie Regan, Dan Ryan, Sonja Henning, Trudy Sargent, and Dilafruz Williams.

None of them has the political courage to stand up to the corporate-dominated Portland Schools Foundation and say “Enough!”