Portland Public School Superintendent Carole Smith made a decision this week to close a high school and it was Marshall who lost, not Grant. Benson would be reduced to a Junior/Senior high. The goal is to move students from Marshall to Madison and Franklin, while seeking the same curriculum at all general high schools. If the core curriculum is the same at each high school, there would be no reason for students to transfer from Jefferson or Roosevelt, for example.
Anna Griffin in commentary at the Oregonian said Smith had two solutions with respect to Jefferson:
Close the school as we currently know it, or force more affluent families to go there. (emphasis added)
The first idea would infuriate the predominantly black school’s small but vocal network of supporters. The second would give white parents more reason to abandon PPS.
Remember from my earlier article, 70% of the students from the Jefferson neighborhood chose to transfer to a better school. The district brought the problem on themselves. Rather than fix the schools, they instituted a liberal transfer program and students voted with their feet. Now, the district wants to do what it should have done in the first place, fix the schools. Gone is our freedom to transfer.
What track record of PPS gives parents any hope that their child will receive a good education from Jefferson and Roosevelt. In an editorial The Oregonian opines that the success of this “…plan depends on stable and sufficient state funding. If Oregon schools face more cuts over the next several years, as is possible, Portland may be unable to keep its promises about well-rounded high schools.”
With the state facing major problems with a budget shortfall and an out of control PERS, something has got to give, and I’m afraid it’s the Carole Smith plan. Now, however, you can’t transfer.