(Thanks to Lakeitha Elliott)
Yesterday I wrote that the last reconfiguration of Jefferson High School had "been no less than disastrous."
Portland Public Schools board member Ruth Adkins agrees, or at least she did three years ago when she co-authored this Tribune op-ed piece bemoaning that newspaper's support for school closures and the dismantling of "successful" small school programs at Jeff:
"Moreover, how do we know the new programs/academies will actually result in increased enrollment... [?] ... more than 70 percent of Jefferson-area parents who send their children outside the neighborhood were never surveyed as to what would bring them back.
"Unfortunately, it appears that Jeff is headed toward privatization... .Privatization is threatening our district: increased numbers of charter schools, private foundation/grant money influencing major policy decisions, and a top-down 'business' model for our schools."
The piece proved prescient. Jefferson's enrollment has flatlined. One of its single sex academies has closed. Test scores (for whatever they're worth) and graduation rates haven't improved. Academic offerings are scant.
So much for the reform of Jefferson.
The community at Saturday's gathering realize what's happened. And that's why they demand a return to a comprehensive* high school like those found in wealthier areas of the city.
The question remains: Is the district listening?
*(Small schools within schools are not at all incompatible with comprehensive academic and elective offerings. The key is to allow students in small communities of learning, which typically focus on core academics, access to course offerings within the larger school.)