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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Where's Lolenzo?

The Portland public schools can't stop throwing money at "diversity," which has now been replaced by "equity." Last week, the school board resolved to spend $60,000 more up front, and who knows how much annually, implementing a newly adopted "equity in public purchasing and contracting policy." No doubt the move was made in preparation for the November election on the school district's new, household-budget-busting property tax increase proposal for school construction:

Elaine Holt, the district's director of purchasing and contracting, estimated that less than 5 percent of its contracts went to state-certified minority- and women-owned businesses....

The district expects to spend about $60,000 toward implementation and will appoint Lee Fleming, a senior contract analyst at the district, to act as a point person for the plan.

Under the policy’s draft administrative directives, the district will make an "aspirational goal" of making 18 percent of its contracts for consultant and construction services go toward firms that are minority-owned, women-owned or emerging small businesses. The policy says the district would have to give an annual report on progress.

We're all for diversity in contracting, but the amount of money that the school board burns on this and other "equity" initiatives is staggering, particularly given the anemic results that it typically achieves. It's got Lolenzo Poe, Urban League chair and lifetime bureaucrat, on the pad as "chief equity and diversity officer" at around $122,000 a year, along with at least one other full-time "equity specialist." Every now and then it runs out and drops $1.7 million on a consultant to tell Super Carole and the crew that the minority kids who disrupt classes are just expressing cultural differences.

But all the existing efforts couldn't get the minority contracting job done. So they'll throw another 60 grand on that bonfire, buying with it a few votes for the bond.

Comments (15)

The education industry has to find something to spend all the money they are throwing around, so sustainability, diversity and equity will continue to win, and the kids will continue to lose. It is much worse at the higher ed level, but K12 is bad as well. At the K12 level, it is also very admin heavy, where high schools actually now have a "Dean of Students"! WTF? In high school?

We used to have a guy called the Prefect of Discipline. Basically, Jefferson Smith in a black robe.

Aspirational?....I'm sorry...oh, oh, RIGHT. Just another PPS grammar misadventure. They meant to spell it "ASS-pirational." In keeping with the new high-school trouser fashions, of course.

Liberal white guilt and the need to buy votes to support the bond issue are powerful drivers of the money pump.

Is it helping a diverse community thrive by creating expensive new initiatives for hiring make work contracts? Talk about shooting yourself in the foot.

There is no suggestion of discrimination for selection of these contracts. Only that the work needs to spread around evenly, even if it costs more for less. Folks, every wasted school dollar negatively affects every minority child in the district.

And thanks Gaye, they had me thinking I was seeing a new word for the first time.

The sea of waste and junk That constitutes education in America has finally spit us out, staggering up the shore in search of fresh water.

50% of kids in Oregon passed state Math standards in 2011.
Of course, that information is not widely public yet; the school industry doesn't want to wreck anyone's summer.

We will be homeschooling next year, God willing. Salman Khan has a little altar dedicated to him in our household.

And many small businesses do not EVER bid on these projects. It is too expensive, time consuming and not profitable to do so.

Arn't many of these "minority or women" owened businesses fronts anyway ?

Isn't the bidding winner suppose to go to the lowest bidder that has met the qualification standards? Affirmative bidding is a sorry way to go if your worried about being equitable.

PPS will probably throw another $60,000 on another staff person to organize classes on how to bid, then throw in another $120,000 for the facilitator, space, and donuts. How does that educate students?

Equity is a serious issue, unfortunately, for PPS (and other districts). The relative quality of education at each school goes up or down depending on the demographics of the neighborhoods it draws from. Often it's more about family income than skin color, although the two are usually tied up together. But it is fair to ask if the money PPS spends on the issue is being well-spent, and why it has to resort to outside consultants so often when it is paying probably over $200,000 in salary and benefits for two staffers to work full-time on the issue.

Why is everybody so down on education?

I hear the Meth scores are way up...

Food for thought. Too many employees in our schools.


Public-school employees have doubled in 40 years while student enrollment has increased by only 8.5%—and academic results have stagnated.

Combine that with increased costs for benefits and pensions, and it will never get better without some very hard decisions.

Yes, home-schooling or private schools will be the preferred choice for those that can afford the time or $$$.

I was recently involved in writing the statement of work for a contract to be let under federal acquisition rules.
This was for onsite food preparation and serving during some training.
The total was in excess of $240,000 and it would have been nice in an Oregon business won the contract.
But under federal acquisition rules it had to go out on the street for 30 days for a solicitation of bids.
A Georgia based company won the contract.
Unfortunately their performance was so bad we terminated after 4 days and turned to the second lowest bid, an Oregon company who has worked for us before and done a good job each time.

I don't know if the original bid winner was a minority/women owned business but given federal incentives (bias) it would not surprise me if it was.

I have a little bit of experience in this area and from what I've seen, it is mostly a sham. It is just another fraud created by well meaning liberals. I've become fairly convinced over the last 10 years that most problems we see were created by liberals who thought they could fix a problem if they just created a new program, a new law, a new hand out, etc. I think their batting average is pretty low.

The government is a booming 'private' industry into itself.

They have as much throw around money as APPLE.

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