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June 13, 2008


Carole Smith's comments about the Madison teacher's "No Confidence" vote of their principal show how far out of touch the superintendent and the central district staff are from what's really happening in our schools, and what needs to happen to move forward. Or, the central district doesn't want certain schools to improve so they can close them down, and sell them off to raise money to expand Lincoln and rebuild other schools.

Bravo to Madison teachers! You are true heros. Keep up the good work.

Here's another theory: Ryan was not toeing the line the way that the real policy-makers who control the Board thought he should. So they are moving him to the PSF so they can get someone more in line with their way of thinking on the board now, so that he/she can run as an incumbent next year.

Dan Ryan is a perfect fit for PSF. He is a money raiser and not an educator. They fired, you might remember, one of the better educators in the country. Ryan knew very, very little about education when I ran against him for the school board, but he sure did raise a lot of money. As a board member he was not out of step with board policy and the way Stand for Children wants the board run. He never attacked any of the most serious problems in any meaningful way. He did a good job of talking about helping poor kids but did little, which fits right into the strategy of SFC. This is a big time move up in his political aspirations and important person in the community aspirations. Just reading the rediculous justification he gives for his supposed positive for kids move shows the ludicrousness of suggesting it is anything else than a step up. Forget the conspiracy theories. This one is a clear as can be.

The comments about Carol Smith are very well taken. She has done little to truly deal with the problems in lower economic schools and is almost totally nonreceptive to making real progress. Here, instead of taking the public step of responding in a meaningful way to very real and serious concerns she chastises the people who are bringing the concerns. She would be better off using the school boards approach -- the yellow light will go on when you have 30 seconds left, then the red light will go off and you need to wrap it up. Our response then will be nonexistent.

I'm a Madison student and i was so proud of my teachers when I heard of this. They are finally standing up. as they need to, for themselves and for us, the students. I think that Carol Smith's comments were completely uncalled for. She is totally unaware of Madison's needs and doesn't seem to care to even find out what the students and teachers really think.
Do superintendents ever get better?

Thanks for the comment, Laura.

You ask if superintendents ever get better. That all depends on the people who hire them, namely those who serve on the Portland School Board.

Schools activists are doing what they can to change the make-up of the board, starting with the person chosen to replace the departing Dan Ryan. We hope it will be Jefferson PTSA president Nancy Smith. Or perhaps the runner-up to Ryan in the last election, former school board member Steve Buel.

If not, three board members will be elected in May, 2009. Pay careful attention to who's running, Laura. Then urge your friends to vote (or work) for the candidates who will defend schools like Madison, Jefferson, Marshall, and Roosevelt and all the feeder schools in their respective clusters.

Again, Laura, thanks for visiting this site.

I wrote the post below on the Neighborhood Schools Alliance site last year when Phillips went to Gates. Ryan is now in an even better position to practice the cronyism he so freely talked about then:

Vicki Phillips just went over to Gates, true to her obvious allegiances to corporations over the public good.
The Oregonian's coverage included this excerpt and quote from School Board member, Dan Ryan:

"Gates, which has issued millions in grants to Portland Public Schools, received an infusion of $31 billion from investor Warren Buffett last year. Ryan said Phillips' move to Gates' Seattle office should be cause for celebration: "Do you know what it's like to have someone at the Gates Foundation who's your best friend?" he said. "
My comment: with friends like Gates who needs enemies? Gates money has blinded the school board to the bizarre, undemocratic reforms at Jefferson and will continue to do so.

We must build a movement to fight this CORPORATE take over of our schools. Open your eyes. Re-read Barbara Miner's powerful article below about the dangers of private money. And realize that Vicki Phillips,Bill Gates, and Eli Broad are NOT our friends.

For more information on private money and schools go to and search for "Barbara Miner". Read her essay "Who's Behind the Money", which exposes corporate control of our public schools.

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