When buying our first home, we considered what school district the home was in. We researched schools, the ratings, the teachers, and neighborhood violence but ultimately bought the home we thought would best fit our growing family. Me, like thousands … Continue reading
Money is causal to academic success. No one wants to admit it, but in order for a student to graduate high school on time, with good grades and a solid future ahead, is expensive. In Portland public school districts alone, … Continue reading
Bethany Kraft has started her own education blog and posted prompts for the Week 5 Discussion there. Check out her post, and start a conversation on the good, the bad, and the questionable about this “promise neighborhood” model of reform! … Continue reading
How can social movements move our society towards educational equity?
How can we as students, use what we have learned to impact the racial/social/economic injustices that hinder our schools and prevent them from moving past mediocrity?
Public policy, classroom discussion, and even grassroots movements can sometimes fall short on action. Everyone knows that something needs to change. Some of us can even agree as to what needs to change, but this week we discuss what that looks like in action, beyond our classroom.
With discussions on how to narrow the achievement/opportunity gap in our minds, there are some challenges our public schools are facing. Here are some things that most movements/individuals can agree are necessary to school success and vitality.
1. Access to quality teachers.
2. Access to safe and equitable resources
3. Equitable and sufficient funding for ALL schools
4. Reform that creates early intervention and encourages active, hands on learning.
5. Ensure equal opportunity to high school graduation and college participation to all students regardless of their background.
How can we use what we have learned to support these principles?
Help fund our schools by voting!
Voting and passing legislation that supports school funding is vital.
Tell people why voting is vital for better schools. A friend of mine recently complained that her sons school was really lacking in hands on learning and her son was struggling to stay focused. She doesn’t vote and doesn’t know where our money for schools comes from (I didn’t either!).
Discussion outside of class and our school peers will be important to education movement.
Talk! Talk! Talk!
With your neighbors, your local politicians, your educators, community members, the list goes on! Open a discussion to get people thinking about their values and the future of their community.
Don’t know where to start? Here are some links to give you encouragement!
Actively participate in your community. It helps. It is seen by others. The results can be life changing for some.
Finally, look inward. Are there bias’s, privileges, or other values you hold that could be excluding some the right to equitable education? It’s hard to look at our beliefs in this way, but who knows how valuable it could be!
I think the key is to keep moving forward. Keep asking questions. Keep expanding your ideas and your tools.
What will you do to move to a more equitable education system?
Note: Kelsey emailed this post to me a few days ago and has been working in the Beverly Cleary Elementary school. Her post was incredibly timely. See her thoughts on what led to the most recent decision about the overcrowding … Continue reading
Greetings Classmates! (I am sorry I am behind on this!)
This week (week 3) our focus is on the barriers to a good education. Obviously a lot has been done with the passing of Brown v. Board case, but as we can see in Portland, one of the whitest major cities in the county, our treatment of students of different races has not improved much beyond desegregation. I can’t help but wonder if there is a socioeconomic prejudice to blame.
Is the spending of $2.5 million dollars on training (called Courageous Conversations) the best way to eradicate this problem?
Sample quote from an outside text;
“According to data provided to WW by the school district, the overall number of students being disciplined has fallen in the past three years, but the inequities between white and black have grown worse. Today, African-American students in Portland schools are nearly five times more likely to be expelled or suspended than whites.
It’s a record that puts Portland’s unequal treatment of black students well above the national average and far worse than districts under federal investigation for civil rights violations.
“We have lost generations of young men because of disparities in the education system,” says Urban League of Portland, President Michael Alexander. “There is no acceptable level of disparate discipline.”
Over the past six years, Portland Public Schools has spent millions of dollars to address a wide range of racial inequities, including graduation rates and reading scores.” ( http://www.wweek.com/portland/article-21197-expel_check.html )
My biggest concern is that this money is being wasted on staff training, when really there is a deeper seeded issue here: the relationship between staff and students can’t possibly be a positive one with such racial inequity, and MANY studies have been done on the effects of overzealous disciplinary action in regards to graduation rates.
Please post your thoughts on;
How can we hold PPS more accountable when it comes to demonstrating a connection between resources and outcomes?
Please read the entire Willamette Weekly article in order to respond effectively.
firstname.lastname@example.org or 971-340-9504
The civic engagement activities that I have engaged in, as a result of my senior capstone class, Enhancing Youth Literacy, have exposed me to the tremendous need that is prevalent in our local Portland-area communities. I believe that this exposure and experience has enhanced my Civic Identity and Commitment. These experiences have clarified my sense of civic identity and reinforced my commitment to public action. I now see it as a personal duty to volunteer my time, when it is available, and my strengths, when they can be utilized, to better my local community. There are many different needs prevalent in our community, and a variety of ways that one can give back. Finding out what your interests are in and where you can make a difference is simpler than it may seem.
Using Hands on Portland to Find Volunteer Opportunities
Hands-On: Greater Portland is a great website that lists many diverse volunteer opportunities in the Portland Metro area. One can conduct an “Advanced Search” to seek out a certain time-frame that one has available to volunteer or a certain subject that one is most interested in, there are even opportunities to volunteer with your children.
Through Hands-On I found a volunteer opportunity to unpack and sort donated supplies for low-income children in the Greater Portland area. This opportunity was with Northwest Children’s Outreach, which is a local faith-based non-profit organization dedicated to helping children in need in the local community. Continue reading
I went to the Board Of Education meeting on Monday, Feb. 4th. I arrived early and had no idea what to expect. At about 5:45, community members that looked to be parents, children, and may be some staff of Chief Joseph Elementary came in armed with their signs of not closing the school, and like I said, had no idea what to expect, and unfortunately, I really didn’t know why they were all showing up to begin with.
The meeting was called to order at 6:00. The speaker then called for public comment. Four people went up. Three of them addressed their concerns for the closure of Chief Joseph Elementary. Once the public comment concluded, superintendant Smith disclosed her proposal in dealing with various issues which included proposals for boundary changes district wide, and looking at enrollment and transfer policy, and also addressing the enrollment stability in the Jefferson cluster. The reason for public concern for Chief Joseph closing is that the school is currently facing over enrollment issues. Superintendant Smith recommends that over time merge Chief Joseph to one campus on Ockley Green. The importance of strengthening neighborhood schools and trying to figure out why families are transferring out to different schools may be one reason why enrollment has been affecting this area. Because the district faces over enrollment and under enrollment in some school is why they need to take action. Schools need enough children to continue to exist and perform. “When a school has the target number of students, they qualify for more resources and teachers. That prevents turnover and creates an atmosphere wherein teachers and parents are invested” (http://www.oregonlive.com/portland/index.ssf/2012/10/chief_joseph_elementary_parent.html).
Here is a link that shows the different kinds of classification of schools
There are still some opportunities that the community can get involved and have their voices and concerns heard. On Saturday, February 9th, from 10 am to noon at Jefferson High School Auditorium, they will be a public hearing about enrollment options. Community has to sign up in advance to testify.
Another opportunity will be held on February 11th at 6 pm at 501 N Dixon Street to meet about enrollment options, and the public will have 45 minutes for public comment.
February 25th at 6 pm is when the Board will vote on the superintendant’s recommendations.
Here is the link for the School Board meeting that was held on February 4th : http://www.pps.k12.or.us/departments/tv-services/6442.htm. I really didn’t think I’d get much out of going to a board meeting, but I was wrong. We are all capable and have an opportunity to have our voices heard about a topic that we feel strongly about. Not saying that the voices will be heard and or have any effect, but at least it’s out there. The community of Chief Joseph Elementary definitely won’t give up, and for sure will be seen advocating for their children in upcoming public comment sessions. As for myself, I am curious to what the Board will either support the proposal, reject, or come up with something of their own. Regardless, children will be affected by this, and hopefully their decision will benefit and not hurt the children.
Today, I am wearing red to show my support for teachers at Garfield High School in Seattle, WA. Read here for more details on the MAP standardized test boycott. While I can’t drive up to Seattle with my two little ones in tow and I won’t be able to make it to the Portland Student Union’s meeting on opting out from Portland’s own standardized tests, (it’s right at baby bed time), I do want to spread the information about what’s happening at Garfield and to show my solidarity.
I am a teacher. I am a parent. I am the daughter of a teacher. I am the wife of a teacher. I trust teachers to make decisions that are good for students. I want my children to have teachers who advocate for their best learning opportunities.
I happen to be in a bit of an ebb when it comes to being physically present at a lot of community meetings and rallies. My children are 3 and almost 2. I teach full time +. I work as a service learning coordinator at Rock Creek. I volunteer to be part of committees that talk about how to get students more socially engaged. I am at my limit.
Luckily, in this age of social media, I can still show up. I sign petitions; I share information; I talk to my kids about social activism; I wear red in solidarity. And in a few years, once the littles sleep through the night , I will be back out there doing what it takes to make my voice even more present.
This is a small life lesson. There are many ways of “showing up.” Even if we have barriers or are busy, we can still find ways to show up. There’s no one right way to be an advocate or to seek social change. The only bad decision you can make is to do nothing at all.
Note 1: In UNST 421: Enhancing Youth Literacy, students are required to independently seek out and attend/participate in one other civic engagement opportunity beyond their assigned volunteer positions in the course. They will be reporting out on the community meetings, discussions, and rallies they attend here in the “Civic Engagement Chronicles.”
Note 2: Do a little pre-reading about the recent report on PPS high school graduation rates.
For my Independent Act of Civic Engagement I went to a PPS school board meeting. It was on Monday January 28 from 6 to 9:30pm. First they introduced everyone on the board and then went right into it. After the student testimony and student representative’s report they went into the first reading which talked about uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance coverage and personal injury protection coverage policy. Then the board went on to capital bond overview, the compact report. Next, they talked about the budget for this school year as well as the Jefferson PK-8 Enrollment Balancing Discussion. This was particularly interesting. They talked about the graduation rates and which schools need to be focused on to get the rates back up.
This is what the school board said: “As a state and a district we have put our stake in the ground around three key targets. This team proposes the following ambitious goals for these three key metrics:
- PPS is fully committed to Oregon’s goal that 100% of students have completed high school by 2025. This committee recommends that we accelerate that target and have 100% of this year’s 8th graders completing high school or the equivalent in 5 years. The State’s 40/40/20 goal is that:
- 40% of adult Oregonians have earned a bachelor’s degree or higher
- 40% of adult Oregonians have earned an associate’s degree or postsecondary credential as their highest level of educational attainment; and
- 20 percent of all adult Oregonians have earned at least a high school diploma, an extended or modified high school diploma, or the equivalent of a high school diploma as their highest level of educational attainment.
2. 9th Grade Credits Earned: previously the PPS “10th Grade on Track to Graduate” milestone. As the Connected by 25 research demonstrated, students who were able to earn a quarter of their grades by the time they entered 10th grade were more likely to graduate. This important metric has been a key milestone focus for the last four years. This committee recommends that we continue emphasizing this important target with a 5% point increase and 5% point narrowing of the achievement/opportunity gap.
3. Third grade reading to learn. This committee recommends aligning with the current district goal of having 100% this year’s Kindergartners (the class of 2025) reading to learn by third grade, the 2015‐16 school year.”
“Our graduation rate has increased by 9 percentage points in 3 years (from 53% to 62%) and the largest gap between white students and students of color decreased by 11% points. Last year in reading, we increased from 71% to 77% of all third graders reading to learn and the gap decreased by 4% points.”
Then they talked about the recommendations for achievement compact targets. They talked about college and readiness outcomes, about the 3rd grade reading proficiency and that their goal for 2015 is to have 100% of all third graders reading to learn. They also mentioned 5th and 8th grade math proficiency and the methods to go about helping to decrease the students who aren’t proficient.
Here is a site that has a great amount of information on the Portland Public Schools Multilingual & Multicultural Center