The Weight

by Steve, December 11th, 2007

One of my favorite songs from one of my favorite movies… The Band with the Staple Singers, for your enjoyment.

PPS to Charter Schools Applicants: No, No, No, No.

by Steve, December 11th, 2007

It is refreshing to be on the same side of an issue with the entire school board. The Portland Public Schools board of education unanimously voted down all four charter applications in the current cycle last night (with Sonja Henning absent).

Following a rhetorical lead by David Wynde, who enumerated the myriad choices already available in the district and explicitly rejected an absolute free market approach, several board members made sweeping statements in opposition to increasing the competition for our neighborhood schools. One might get the sense (if one were an optimist) that the pendulum has reached its maximum free-market position and could conceivably begin to swing back.

In the interest of equity, let’s hope so.

At several points during the discussion of the four proposals, board members expressed concern about the schools being able to provide “comprehensive” education to their students. I hope the irony isn’t lost on the board members that this is a concern for the students of Jefferson boy’s academy, not to mention all the other “small schools” that were carved out of the formerly comprehensive Jefferson, Roosevelt, Madison and Marshall.

Also on the agenda was the facilities plan, and some prep work for floating a capital bond.

Here’s a preview of my position on any new construction bond: I will not support any PPS bond unless and until the board articulates a goal of a comprehensive high school in every neighborhood. I will actively campaign against a bond that sets in stone the narrowly-focused academies at schools in our working class neighborhoods.

I seriously hate to sound like a libertarian, but until this board and administration demonstrate a commitment to equitably distributing what they’ve already got, I will fight against any further revenue.