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April 13, 2008


All of the traffic zipping around doesn't just pollute our world and waste gas -- it also makes the roads unsafe for students who are walking or biking to their neighborhood schools.

Big shout-out to the Bicycle Transportation Alliance and the Safer Routes to School people for their hard work.

There are lots of issues connected with the increases in traffic because of school transfers, Wacky. Safety is one. But there's also health and childhood obesity.

School planners --if that's not an oxymoron-- have to start looking at the bigger picture.

The irony of all those kids arriving at Sunnyside by automobile....

What, exactly, are we teaching them about "walking the talk?"

Please stop referring to PPS's lottery transfer system as school choice. The policy decimates schools in some neighborhoods, taking away those residents' CHOICE of a quality neighborhood school, and a huge number of families who apply for transfers do NOT get their first choice. A school lottery does not equal school choice!

The transfer policy serves a few purposes, none of which maximizes school choice:
- To justify the inequitable Portland School Foundation fundraising policies that allow wealthy parents to buy teachers for their schools only and other policies that create a two-tier public education system, by creating the illusion that all students have the "choice" to attend the better resourced schools in wealthier neighborhoods.

- To cater to a few weathlier families who want special programs for their kids that aren't available to the masses. (But often those wealthier families leave PPS for private school anyway if they don't win the school lottery.)

- To buffer small schools in wealthy neighborhoods from closure. Ainsworth has one of the smallest neighborhood student poplations in the district. Their Spanish immersion program helps them import students from other parts of the city to keep their school's enrollment up and shift school closures to other poorer neighborhoods.

- To drain enrollment from neighborhood schools that PPS wants to close. In the 2005 grant application to the Gates Foundation Vicki Phillips admitted that PPS was using "choice as a key lever for system change."

Stop letting school closure advocates and opponents of an equitable school district call the harmful transfer policy "school choice." Don't buy into the rhetoric! School choice advocates aren't supporting quality for all, they want choice for a few. We need good schools districtwide, not a school lottery.

You're right, beep.

But the the way I see it, without the district's commitment to school choice, there would be no lottery. In fact, the lottery has been imposed only because there are too few attractive --meaning "wealthy"-- schools to accommodate the demands of parents who dislike their own, usually lower class, neighborhood schools.

I'm beginning to believe that true school funding and program equity will only be achieved after the district's wide open transfer policy is shut down --completely!

I repeat, PPS does not have a commitment to school choice. They have a commitment to creating the illusion of school choice, and a commitment to an open transfer system NOT ACTUAL SCHOOL CHOICE.

Yes, I agree with you that we need to shut down the wide open transfer system. Abolish the school lottery!

I heard that.

While I agree that we as a society place too much emphasis on the automobile; I must also state that the PPS transfer isn't the only cause. We are further away from our Neighborhood assigned high school that is across town in N Portland then we are from Grant High that is walking distance from our home. This is true for so many PPS high school students who found their neighborhood schools reassigned because of elementary school closures that created a different feeder pattern, and thus a change in High school assignment. With High Schools so awkwardly placed, it is all but certain that many students or families will be forced to drive to commute even to their neighborhood school.

i went to the same school as patrick. i remeber those girls from my school who wrote in. they were white trash...i always felt so bad for them.

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