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Preview: Comments on: PPS Neighborhood Funding Inequities Report

Comments on: PPS Neighborhood Funding Inequities Report

Peace, Justice and Hockey

Last Build Date: Sun, 19 Feb 2017 19:57:42 +0000


By: Neisha

Wed, 03 Oct 2007 03:50:07 +0000

There's a discussion re: kindergarten crowding at Blue Oregon right now:

By: paul G.

Mon, 01 Oct 2007 05:15:48 +0000

Steve, You characterize me right. I moved here after a decade in a tough urban district (Durham NC) but one where we actually had better educational options than here. A lot of my response is a product of that time--this was a district with poverty and equity issues far worse that Portland. It seemed like the reality of those issue that faced parents and educators daily forced everyone to deal with them. From my first year in Portland, "complacency" seemed to me the best word to describe the district. Blessed with a wealthy, generally homogeneous, generally educated population, the schools have been allowed to languish for more than a decade. And folks keep reassuring themselves that everything is OK because, after all, "80%..." As to transfers, I think Cleveland is getting hit hard by a) NCLB (and what seems to me the eventual end of Jefferson and at least one more eastside HS), and b) the inability to transfer into Lincoln and resultant desire of kids to get into the IB program. I busted my ass to get into a house in a neighborhood with a solid elementary, because I never believed the transfer policy that existed when I arrived here in 2001 was politically or demographically sustainable. I just didn't realize at that time how bad things would get a the middle and HS levels. In hindsight, we should have bit the bullet and moved to West Linn or Vancouver, where at least our kids would have full academic programs, decent facilities, and extracurriculars. As I wrote above, we're committed to staying, for now, but I suspect I am like many in that I don't recommend the City to new arrivals, especially with older kids. Sadly, I have to recommend they move to the suburbs or the 'Couv.

By: Neisha

Thu, 27 Sep 2007 18:52:40 +0000

I feel for you Marcia. Last year my son had 27 in kindergarten. It was *tough* on that teacher. This year that same teacher has 29, five of whom are half-day -- so she really needs to cram in the morning. At a nearby school that's converting to K-8 with very limited space (they're going to boot out pre-K to fit in 8th graders next year, and may end up needing portables) they have two sections of 31 kids. I don't see this getting better with all the restructuring. And since we're now looking at everything from a business perspective, what kind of marketing is this? But, maybe parents and kids are not the target market.

By: marcia

Thu, 27 Sep 2007 04:57:58 +0000

Wow. And I just found this quote about neoliberal goals... (which is characteristic of PPS under Vicki Phillips and our current school board): "increase the productivity of teachers by augmenting the number of students per class." Oh, now I get it.

By: marcia

Thu, 27 Sep 2007 04:00:04 +0000

"but overcrowding in kindergarten is really freaking people out." And nobody is more freaked out than us teachers...I have 27 now in my kindergarten...It's sort of like rats in a box...pretty soon they start chewing off each others' legs or tails because they are overcrowded...And then I am supposed to perform the miracles sent down from above (BESC) and assess them all one on one and according to the new scripted reading program also lead small reading groups as the other 21 or so stab each other with pencils and poke each others' eyes out....Are we having fun yet? I guess those folks in the Nut Hut who make the big bucks are...Out here on the battlefield it's another story...In ALL the schools...

By: Steve

Wed, 26 Sep 2007 23:33:37 +0000

Neisha, you are absolutely correct to be alarmed. PPS has been a little bit unforthcoming about this, but what we heard from a K teacher was that they're still budgeting for half-day K, even as many schools transition to full-day. So where you would have had a nice 16-student half day class, you've now got a 32-student nightmare. The fact that transitions to full-day have been unevenly implemented (it is not available at some schools, available for fee at others, and free at some) don't help matters at all. California got this right when they limited kindergarten class size to 20 , whether full-day or half-day.

By: Neisha

Wed, 26 Sep 2007 23:18:11 +0000

Yes, that's exactly right. Having half of the high schools half-full and the other half overcrowded is no good for anyone. I know I keep harping on the kindergarten class sizes (and I don't mean to come off as snarky about it), but overcrowding in kindergarten is really freaking people out. A couple years ago, by some fluke, Sabin had kindergarten classes of, like 18 or something. Word got out, and the next year there were 31 in one of the kindergarten classes. With fewer buildings now, there's a lot of anxiety out there about crowding.

By: Steve

Wed, 26 Sep 2007 23:08:44 +0000

... we are sticking with the district for now. I have two kids in HS. But for my 2nd grader and preschooler, we are much less committed. Our neighbors are bailing out at a disturbing rate. I hope I'm not mischaracterizing you here, Paul, but it sounds distinctly like you are not happy with the results of open transfers, particularly the overcrowding from in-transfers at your "green zone" high school. I've heard this same complaint about Grant. This is a critical element, which needs to be called out. This policy is harmful to students at schools all across the district. Students at green zone schools may have more academic and extracurricular options, but they have very significant problems of their own. In '06-'07, Cleveland had a net of about 100 more students attending than attendance area population. Grant had net in-transfer pressure of 72, Lincoln had 103 and Franklin had 110. Seems like removing 100 students from a school that's bursting at the seams could make a real difference to the learning environment.

By: paul g.

Wed, 26 Sep 2007 23:04:48 +0000

Steve One last note. When I wrote this Our enrollment figures can’t be described as “good” or “bad” in isolation I was not referring to you, but to the constant mantra that we hear about how our attendance figures are XYZ and therefore we are "world class" (see the Portland Vision statement as a glaring example). The question should always be: are we doing as well as we can, and what can we do better. And in order to answer that question, the District needs to know what the 80% figure really means.

By: paul g.

Wed, 26 Sep 2007 22:53:02 +0000

Sarah, I reported the 600 figure, which was given to me by my son from an assembly. So much for my reliance on my kid! You are right, Cleveland doesn't have 600, but I am glad that you acknowledge the enrollment pressures at the school. (From an athletics perspective, Cleveland is in PIL's 5A classification even though it is now the third largest school in the district). If anyone compares Cleveland with Lincoln, Wilson, and Grant, it's hard to understand how we can be "green." Yes, we got new books this year--thanks! But my first comment remains: my children have not one single class under 40 (a senior and a first year), and both of them are in the IB/Honors track. My daughter's gym class has 140 kids--yes people, you read that right--140 kids in PE. As I've responded to you in other forums, we are sticking with the district for now. I have two kids in HS. But for my 2nd grader and preschooler, we are much less committed. Our neighbors are bailing out at a disturbing rate. (Apropos of the branding thread--I honestly could care less about corporate logos if we got art, music, and sports back into the middle school and had a decent TAG program. Until we fix the funding formula at the state, I don't know what alternative there is.)