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Comments on: School Choice vs. Neighborhood Shools



Peace, Justice and Hockey



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By: Lisa

Tue, 18 Sep 2007 22:46:18 +0000

I reflected on my experiences as a student and as a teacher to figure out how exactly to respond to this. There are many great points here, and I'd like to add one more. It is: One of the most effective pedagogical methods is building relationships with students. This can be done by an individual teacher, a team of teachers, or by a school as a whole. A sense of community is likely more easily achieved in a neighborhood school. I currently teach in the city of St. Louis, with Teach For America (www.teachforamerica.org), at a charter school. My children are bussed from all over the city. The steps I must take to build a sense of community in my classroom are much bigger than they would be if my students were able to walk to school, or felt a sense of ownership over their campus if it were a fixture in their neighborhood. More learning happens when students are invested in achievement. The best way to invest a child is through a relationship. The job of PPS teachers would be much easier in this respect, then, if we had true neighborhood schools. I do not intend to denigrate all charter schools and/or transfer systems. However, our focus as a PUBLIC school district should be quality, successful PUBLIC schools. Thanks, Lisa



By: Zarwen

Fri, 14 Sep 2007 20:13:13 +0000

Now you know why I wasn't singing and dancing when Ruth got elected to the school board. A change of one seat simply is not enough. We would need wholesale change on the order of 2003 in order for any progress to happen.



By: Steve

Fri, 14 Sep 2007 13:53:22 +0000

...unless the board is willing to curtail choice, it’s unlikely it will do anything to undo the damage wreaked by allowing students to flee their neighborhood schools. Yep, you've been saying this for two years, Flynn-Blackmer said it over a year ago, and it's exactly what I've been hammering on here for a few months. PPS can't ignore Flynn-Blackmer much longer, particularly the central unanswered question: What is the purpose of the school choice system? The only answer so far is that it supposedly guarantees access to the best education for all students. Clear evidence shows us the opposite is true. We could truly achieve that goal by simply making school programs equal across the district and curtailing neighborhood-to-neighborhood transfers. So either the school board will have to go against the auditors' report and give us more song and dance, or they're going to have to curtail neighborhood-to-neighborhood transfers. I'm betting the reason they've delayed so long is they're trying to figure out a new song and dance.



By: Nicole

Fri, 14 Sep 2007 05:59:36 +0000

PPS really has a school lottery system more than a school choice system. The current system has eliminated the choice of a strong neighborhood school for many families, and a significant percentage of families who submit a transfer request (for another neighborhood school or a magnet program) don't get their first choice. Some don't even get their third choice.



By: Terry

Fri, 14 Sep 2007 05:18:44 +0000

Well said, Steve. As I wrote in this piece for the NSA almost two years ago, "...you can either have strong neighborhood schools OR you can have a market-based school choice program. But the two, by definition, cannot coexist." Portland's transfer policy is a necessitated by its commitment to school choice, so unless the board is willing to curtail choice, it's unlikely it will do anything to undo the damage wreaked by allowing students to flee their neighborhood schools.