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Saturday, March 20, 2010

Closing an escape hatch

The O declares today that the Portland school board's tightening of its once-liberal transfer policy is "[l]ost in the drama of sign-carrying parents protesting potential school closings." Really? I don't know whom they've been talking to, but everyone I've heard from about the schools lately has mentioned it prominently, right up there with the impending high school shutdowns.

There's only one way that closing Grant as a neighborhood school (turning it into some sort of specialty focus school) is going to get some affluent and middle-class white students into Jefferson -- which is undoubtedly among the primary goals of the current shuffle. And that is, if the school district doesn't let those students opt out of Jefferson.

But of course, what Super Carole and her bobbleheads are missing is the fact there will always be alternatives to Jeff -- several private high schools will take the displaced students, and the parents can always move them the heck out of Sam-Rand. I'm sure they'll miss the streetcar, but sometimes you have to sacrifice for your kids.

Comments (17)

Where do they get these superintendents? I cannot remember one in decades that had any common sense or a clue as to what needed to be done for the students. Always some absurd way of rearranging the deck chairs....for a lot of wasted money. Is it the unions? How about the recent Alaskan cruise for education credits and extra pay? Unbeleivable.

"...and the parents can always move them the heck out of Sam-Rand."

Wasn't it Saxon who did exactly that, with a rental so his kid could get a better edu?

But it is all about the kids, you know, to force people into staying in districts that they want to leave.

Competition... it's what's good for the winners and the losers.

You can't have an open transfer policy and have "neighborhood" schools. Pick one.

We bailed from PPS years ago when our 1st grader was rejected for admittance to our neighborhood magnet program - and we've never looked back. There are some really good private schools out there, and not all of them are as expensive as you'd expect.


Our kids are at Columbia Christian - 2010 1A Basketball Champs. They are a small college-prep school, and graduating seniors garner nearly $1M in college scholarships.

Time to do away with the four year school as we know it. With the drop out rate at state schools as high as it is all students whether 17 or 70 should first get an associates degree at the community college level and then go on to the university for two years to get a BA or BS.

Hmmm, doesn't that No Child Left Behind Act guarantee transfers out of substandard schools?

Why not just close Jefferson. The parents in the Jefferson district have already voted with their feet.

Whoops! This was at the wrong post. I shoodda staid in skool.
"Time to do away with the four year school as we know it. With the drop out rate at state schools as high as it is all students whether 17 or 70 should first get an associates degree at the community college level and then go on to the university for two years to get a BA or BS."

What a joke. No way does the school district have enough political capital to do battle with some real rich dudes and dudets populating the Grant highschool area. Maybe these people fire back with a charter school proposal for Grant High. This might give the teacher union a massive coronary, stopping any PPS move to close Grant High.

As I've said before, my sense is that Grant won't close, but boundaries will change and the offerings will diminish from what they are now.

Bark- NCLB will still have to be complied with re: transfers from failing schools, but one result of the reorg of all the schools may be to reset the clock on that and there will no longer be "failing" schools...

the offerings will diminish from what they are now.

As I wrote, it will be turned into some sort of focus school that most students in its vicinity won't want.

If I'm not able to afford private schools when the time comes, I would absolutely move before sending my kids to Jefferson. Absolutely.

We've been cautiously considering Grant for our kids (no decision required for several years), but Jefferson is totally out of the question, no matter what promises are made.


There are options to PPS.

My son is graduating this year from De La Salle, a small private college prep high school in north Portland. It has been a long haul but worth the effort. The academic expectations are a challenge to him and he has to work harder than most to make it. In addition, the program includes students working all four years in a corporate internship job one day a week to offset tuition. The end result is he's definitely better prepared for the transition to college (and eventual adulthood) than he would be if he'd gone to the public high school in that district. To my surprise, he is even expressing appreciation to us for sending him there and is realizing he has made substantial progress because of the experience.

PPS' leadership (I use that term lightly) is peanutbuttering. This means it's taking the successful students and forcing them to go to failing schools. This is an effort to make it look like fewer schools are failing. The reality is that most high-performing students are from high-performing households. You can't ignore the socioeconomic link. So these households will send their kids to private schools, or move out of Pdx. They have the resources to do so. Schools like Jefferson never have AP courses because the kids there can't even pass a standard curriculum. Their educational standards have been dumbed down for years, and by the time the kids are in high school they are hopelessly behind. People may shout that this isn't fair, and I agree. The real unfairness is that higher performing kids tend to have parents who actually take the job of parenting seriously. Forcing these kids from Grant to Jefferson just punishes their families for doing well. Policies like these have ruined school districts around the country. Look for our property values to drop further as families leave the city.

PPS is blind, deaf, and dumb if they think the folks on top of Alameda Ridge will send their kids to Jefferson rather than go private or leave Portland for the burbs. I still hold out hope that Grant will remain a comprehensive school (Grant is a big part of my decision to buy where I did) but I fear the boundaries are going to be warped to the point the school loses a big chunk of students/courses. Love the PPS approach to this - if you don't want your kids at Jeff, you're racist (ignore the fact that Jefferson has about 400 students because the parents in that district rightfully want their kids to have a chance at a decent education), the Westside is untouchable, and a bunch of Chicago/East Coast technocrats and consultants will plan our way to a better future.

Jack, with all due respect, when you say "Jefferson is totally out of the question, no matter what promises are made" you open yourself up to the same criticism some people throw at the tea partiers...that you are showing your racist tendencies.

In reality, I think you're doing no such thing; you're simply looking at the evidence and concluding that Jefferson would not be a good educational experience for your kids; just like the tea partiers are looking at the evidence and concluding that ObamaCare will be bad for them (and their kids). Race has nothing to do with it.

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