Saturday, December 17

More Education Discussion

Thank you to everyone who joined our conversation about the merits and challenges of all-day school for the littlest students. It is a very important topic to me and I invite further thoughts that you have.

Recently, Portland Public Schools Superintendent, Vicki Phillips, along with the "Jefferson Design Team", proposed to the PPS Board their recommendations for Building a Culture of Achievement. If approved, Jefferson High would be divided into three schools: a leadership academy for 7th-12th grade boys, a co-ed arts & technology academy for 9th-12th graders and a co-ed college prep & environmental studies academy for 9th-12th graders. Harriet Tubman Middle School would be renovated into a 7th-12th grade academy for girls, focusing on technology & science. A number of elementary schools would expand from pre-K or K through 6th grade to 8th grade. All Tubman and Jefferson schools would have required uniforms.

Wow. These are some radical changes that would surely have some sort of effect on the students in these schools. I cannot imagine that splitting the genders will happen without great outcry from the kids. I know I would have hollered had they suggested that for my school! As a mom of little guys, I definitely have concerns about adding eight graders to the elementary schools, but I'd support the change for the good of the overall big picture. As for school uniforms, I could easily go with that change. The fact that these are only being recommended for the Jeff schools, though, causes me pause. If school uniforms are a good idea, why not make that a district-wide policy? Jefferson takes a lot of heat, I'm sure some deserved, some not. I'm not sure that making them stand out in this way will be good for the school. Will it help or hurt truancy rates? Will more kids just apply to go elsewhere in the district, like Benson or Lincoln?

It is the start to a good discussion. I like that this superintendent is thinking outside the box. We'll find out in January if the board approves this, after hearing from the community; it will then be a two to three year transition. Looking forward to seeing how this turns out!


Allan White said...

When I heard this, I told Kristi that I was glad to hear that some radical solutions were being proposed - things have gotten to the point where drastic action is required.

She may face strong opposition, however. One challenge facing school board leaders (and other leaders) is that decisive action is rarely possible with so many hearings, entrenched interests, and skewed media coverage.

I hope the proposals can be evaluated individually, rather than as an omnibus proposal.

rebecca marie said...

i like it. i could go on and on about my reasons... but this would get looooong. basically, the girls will still get to the boys... the boys will still get to the girls. but if i can at least keep my kids from passing love notes in class, well you get the idea.

and i realized i have just oversimplified the entire issue, which was not my intent.

basically. yes. please.

as far as uniforms? i've always been in favor. just say "black on the bottom, white on top." or whatever. kids will always find a way to let who they are shine through. the reason i'm in favor is for the poor kids, like me.

my sister found a pair of guess jeans at the thrift store, and painstakingly sewed the little triangle logo onto her lawman jeans. i don't want that for my kids. ever.