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Preview: Comments on: Following the Money: the Big Picture

Comments on: Following the Money: the Big Picture

Peace, Justice and Hockey

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


By: Steve

Tue, 18 Sep 2007 23:18:44 +0000

Cool. It'll be good to have a serious challenger for that seat. We'll have to get all the dirt on you from Mr. Buel. :)

By: Lisa

Tue, 18 Sep 2007 22:15:31 +0000

Hey Everybody! I am planning to run for the Zone 6 seat in May 2009. I attended PPS (Woodmere, Lane MS, and Marshall HS). You can read a bit more about me at If you've got any questions for me, feel free to ask. However, please be patient, I am a classroom teacher, and my extra time is next to nil right now. An interesting tidbit of trivia, Steve Buel was one of my 8th grade teachers many years ago. Thanks, Lisa

By: Steve Buel

Fri, 07 Sep 2007 18:57:24 +0000

Zarwen, I talked to her about an hour during her campaign (sent her some money) and explained how important these types of initiatives are for these middle schools. Haven't heard a thing from her or seen anything she has done that moves in these directions. So, yes, I have pitched them to her. Also, she heard me discuss these at length during the supt. search forums. Nadda. Now, don't get me wrong. I think she has a lot of good attitudes and the right ideas on lots of stuff affecting PPS. But, the problems in poorer neighborhoods are seldom addressed by the board (or the administration for that matter) in a way which might REALLY make a difference. Just doesn't happen. And now that there are the supposed 4 votes for doing things differently I am waiting for any serious attempt to truly address the problems in these neighborhoods. I am not holding my breath since SFC and TSF still control what takes place in most instances. Also, I don't want you to get the idea I thought it was a good thing to close any schools, including Kellogg. But that is a neighborhood thing, not an educational one. Remember, every person on the school board ran on a two part platform (well, if you count being accountable with tax money, three part): student achievement and stronger neighborhood schools. (Pretty innocuous when you think about it, which few people evidentally did.) Thanks, Zarwen.

By: Zarwen

Fri, 07 Sep 2007 01:57:03 +0000

But Steve, you still haven't answered my original question: what has Ruth said or done that makes you think she would not support these ideas? All you said was "pitch these 6 things to her and see which she is willing to get behind and champion." What evidence do you have that she wouldn't? Have YOU (or anyone else) pitched these ideas to her and gotten a negative response?

By: Steve Buel

Thu, 06 Sep 2007 21:43:53 +0000

Zarwen, good question. A long, long answer but I will hit the high spots. 1) Serious resources into electives, athletics, music, the arts, computers, counselors, activities etc. at the four remaining middle schools in the N. and SE. 2) Serious resources into making sure kids who can't read or write in these schools can read and write decently (the testing doesn't work for the kids who are really behind) 3) A radical shift in how the most important in-school issue is handled -- discipline. which includes setting up classrooms which have no disruptions (kids who are willing to buy in) and moving out the major disruptive kids (about 3 per class) the 1st week of school into classes where they are not in the main stream of the school until they are willing to not be disruptive 4) Serious recruitment which would result in a cadre of excellent young teachers who are hyped to work in these schools 5) Using a focussed testing strategy in the midst of a broader general education model which genuinely educates kids 6) Hiring principals and vice principals who are willing to spend the time it takes to put forth a program similar to the one outlined -- these are some of the ideas, and as I said I like Ruth a lot, but pitch these 6 things to her and see which she is willing to get behind and champion. (maybe #4, but they are all important). People can come back and say why the district can't do these things, but I believe they can and have talked for years about how you can get them done. Doesn't do much good to keep a Kellogg around if it is not that good a school. What needed to happen is a committment to make it work. Sure, the people who are running it, the teachers who often don't know any difference and who are working their tails off, and the main parents who are involved and making sure their kids get a decent education would all tell you it was working decently well. But the middle schools in these neighborhoods are not structured to work well and the school board (including Ruth) should have been hammering on the necessity to make improvements, and not in a piecemeal way, so the school could work for most of its kids. Thanks Zarwen for holding my generalistic comments accountable.

By: Hyacinth

Thu, 06 Sep 2007 07:28:49 +0000

The President of the Portland Schools Foundation resigned today. Read about it here and here It provides some insight into the Foundation's molestation of Jefferson.

By: Zarwen

Thu, 06 Sep 2007 05:36:07 +0000

Steve Buel wrote: "I like Ruth, but she is not about to support the type of radical decisions necessary to make the lower economic schools work well." Sorry for being dense here, but what "radical decisions" do you mean? Ruth campaigned as a champion for neighborhood schools at ALL income levels. And it wasn't just hype! She really has the credentials. She actively fought the proposed closures of Humboldt and Kellogg (lost on the latter, unfortunately, but not her fault). And she supported the parent group at Jefferson that fought (and is still fighting!) so bitterly against the way they were/are being treated. I did not succumb to the post-election euphoria about a "new board majority" that would magically undo all of VP's damage, but what "decisions" do you think Ruth would not support for the betterment of these schools?

By: Jeff

Thu, 06 Sep 2007 04:24:01 +0000

Yes indeed, Zarwen. The Portland Schools Foundation did give a grant to one of their own board members. And the outcome of that grant (which was supposed to increase parent and community involvement in the school) was a signed agreement with the district giving that Portland Schools Foundation board member a formal role over school decision-making and spending. And guess what? Not a peep of opposition or concern from a single PSF/SFC backed school board member.

By: Steve Buel

Thu, 06 Sep 2007 03:04:03 +0000

Zarwen, the Ruth Adkins endorsement is an interesting question. Here is my opinion. Ruth actually fits the profile of who SFC and TSF likes a little better than Morgan. But they couldn't just turn their back on Morgan. So by going with both of them they didn't make any of their supporters mad. They don't really have to control the school board, just make sure they get like-minded people on it. Don't get me wrong, I like Ruth, but she is not about to support the type of radical decisions necessary to make the lower economic schools work well. SFC knows that. Go back two elections and the PAT supported John Ball and Richard Garrett, while SFC and TSF went for the other guys. This was a telling election in that the PAT found out they couldn't beat the power structure. This solidified the powers to be. Both Garrett and Ball would have taken into account the entire school district so, of course, they wouldn't get the SFC and TSF endorsements. I missed something in my election analysis which I remembered later. SFC and TSF can run a slate. They will send out brochures with say 3 candidates on them. Hence, they pay only one third of the cost for many of their mailers. So a challenger has to pay three times as much for many of their mailers. Or can send out only a third of the mailers for the same cost. So in actuality you need a lot more money than a SFC candidate to do the same amount of campaigning. Good luck.

By: Zarwen

Wed, 05 Sep 2007 17:31:12 +0000

So, Steve, why do you think Ruth Adkins was able to get a co-endorsement from SFC? Did she have some connections going in? Did Doug Morgan offend someone over there, or did they see the handwriting on the wall and figure he would probably lose? Given your experience, I am really interested in your take on this. Concerning PSF, I am afraid my comment was just wishful thinking. I do not know of any way to dismantle a "charitable" foundation, short of turning up some legal issue. Oh, wait. Didn't they give a grant to one of their own board members, Tony Hopson? Seems like that should at least merit an investigation on the basis of conflict of interest, if nothing else. Anyone out there know a legal eagle who would be interested in taking this on?