Jeff Miller: Wrong About Our Portland Schools!

Enlightening interview in The Oregonian by Scott Learn of Jeff Miller the new president of the Portland Association of Teachers. One of Miller’s top priorities is the passage of the local option, the school district’s $33 million local option property tax request. Miller voices concern about teacher migrations away friom the district’s poorest schools.

Miller: The district also needs to ask itself why experienced teachers are leaving some of these struggling schools.Learn: Why are they?

Miller: Many of our most experienced teachers say that they have left mainly because of poor leadership. There are two common (complaints): Abusive treatment of our members by their supervisors, and unclear or confusing expectations.

He is asked

What’s the effect of allowing students to transfer schools relatively easily?Miller: It’s been common knowledge for years that the district’s student transfer policy hurts schools in North and Northeast Portland. The remedy is not mysterious. What’s needed is courage to undertake it.

And the remedy is?

Miller: The school board would have to reconsider the degree of choice it currently allows.

So it is ok for teachers to leave the North and Northeast schools, the “poorest schools”, but if parents and students want to leave the poorest schools he thinks choice should be discouraged.

Now on the same page, we get to see the SAT scores of our high schools versus last year and the nation.

Reading Math Writing
2005 — 2006 2005 — 2006 2005 — 2006
Benson 452 — 479 489 — 512 457
Cleveland 534 — 544 522 — 538 521
Franklin 486 — 490 508 — 519 477
Grant 551 — 556 543 — 543 544
Jefferson 380 — 389 401 — 415 396
Lincoln 585 — 593 576 — 589 577
Madison 469 — 475 490 — 483 461
Marshall 457 — 449 450 — 490 424
Roosevelt 426 — 399 448 — 449 424
Wilson 563 — 574 562 — 572 546
David Douglas 487 — 478 498 — 485 469
Parkrose 490 — 465 479 — 450 452
Nation 508 — 503 520 — 518 497
Oregon 526 — 523 528 — 529 503

I have highlighted the SATs of the North and Northeast schools. Are the scores low because students transferred or did the students transfer because the quality of the school or teaching is low?

Portland should be ashamed that 8 out of 11 high schools don’t come up to the National Average in reading and 6 out of 11 are below the National average in math. So what have we gotten for all the money we’ve spent nationwide since 1972? The most right column shows out of a possible 800, the SATs have been mostly flat going from 509 to 520.

Average SAT Scores, 1972–2005
Verbal Score Mathematical Score
Year Male Female Total Male Female Total
1972 531 529 530 527 489 509
1976 511 508 509 520 475 497
1980 506 498 502 515 473 492
1984 511 498 504 518 478 497
1988 512 499 505 521 483 501
1990 505 496 500 521 483 501
1992 504 496 500 521 484 501
1994 501 497 499 523 487 504
1996 507 503 505 527 492 508
1998 509 502 505 531 496 512
2000 507 504 505 533 498 514
2002 507 502 504 534 500 516
2004 512 504 508 537 501 518
2005 513 505 508 538 504 520
Average SAT Scores byRace/Ethnicity, 2005

Education is broken in this country and leaders like Jeff Miller don’t want to admit that the old ways of doing things are not getting the job done. He thinks the answer is more money and fewer choices and more desegragation efforts will do the job. Money has not proven the answer in Kansas City, parents and teachers want to go to the best schools, and Chicago is finding that boys and girls do better apart.

Jeff Miller Portland Association of Teachers Education Mover Mike

One Response to “Jeff Miller: Wrong About Our Portland Schools!”

  1. You know, most of us already know that Portland is a screwed up place. A mecca for runwaways, the homeless, bums and druggies. That’s why WE don’t live there.

    The whole state of Oregon has a reputation for being filled with socialist Democrats who can’t afford to live in San Francisco or Seattle and who, regardless, don’t feel they should have to pay for the intrusive big brother government that they advocate.

    Most of us also know that the Public Schools in Urban America are staffed by do-nothing administrators who themselves are failed teachers and former Hitler Youth. That’s why those of us with children bite the bullet and send them to the infinitely better private and parochial schools.

    Maybew your kids can get something out of the public school system, but if they’re enrolled in it, they have two strikes against them from the start.

    oly

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