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October 02, 2008

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Way to work Paul Newman into a post about PPS, Terry! Artfully done.

But I'm sorry to say it sounds like you've been drinking too much Kool-Aid if you believe we can provide equal opportunity in poor and minority neighborhood schools. That's just not the way it works, Terry.

Much better to double up on test prep there -- poor and minority children don't need science, economics, history, music, art or literature anyway -- so we can close the "achievement gap."

(Sorry, there's something about the way he keeps bringing up Kool-Aid that just makes me feel sarcastic. And the Kool-Aid analogy is wrong anyway, or at least I've never heard it used the way he's using it. I always related it to swallowing the company line, a la the followers of Jim Jones. In that sense, I think it's safe to say that it's Martín González who's been drinking too much Kool-Aid.)

Steve,
Are you being too pessimistic or just too sarcastic. Don't give up on us now! We need your voice for equity.

I've been to dozens of meetings, with like minded people, so I can understand your frustration. I don't see where I have been effective in these groups.

I finally decided I cannot solve the big picture with regard to educational equity, but I am going to do it with about 20 North Portland kids at a time. They are, and will continue to be, exposed to the educational and socisl opportunities taht richer neighborhoods provide. I, and my fellow mentors simply have to do it on a smaller scale.

Rich, it's total sarcasm, for which I apologize.

I'm a little defensive because I get the feeling González is talking about Steve Buel (and me, and Terry, and you, and all the folks who came together as the Neighborhood Schools Alliance to resist Hurricane Vicki) with his "Kool-Aid" and "magic" remarks.

Maybe I'm mistaken about that, but it sure seems condescending and a little arrogant for a public policy neophyte like him to be telling a veteran educator and policy wonk like Steve Buel how things work.

(I'm going to resist a sarcastic Palin/Biden analogy here. Again, sorry for the sarcasm. It's about impossible to get the right inflection in print.)

Steve,

I am relieved! I pretty much thought it was sarcasm because you have been a staunch advocate for equity, but I had to be sure.

I too am getting tired of the road to nowhere that PPS and our school board is riding. I don't know much of anything about Mr. Gozales, but I was hoping he would show some zeal in solving the equity problem.

I hope Steve Buel will run in the next election.

Thank you Rich. I am going to run. And as the "opposition candidate". While Gonzalez will be supported by the upper middle class neighborhoods and they can elect whomoever they want to the school board (the last 10 or so election winners were supported by Stand for Children) at least I can continue to work with everyone who understands that we need good schools in poor neighborhoods NOW, today, not in a few years and also to speak out on this topic.

Kind of interesting the comparison between PPS and the Old South. I teach a class in the 8th grade on the history of diversity in America. In one of the movies I use (from Eyes on the Prize) Thurgood Marshall, the NAACP general counsel at the time, is asked if he believes in gradualism. He says he does but 90 odd years from slavery to the present (1954) is pretty darn gradual. Well, we have had 15 years of slow destruction of schools in lower economic neighborhoods, including Benson, and that is enough. It is time to ACT. We have had 30 years of poor hiring practices and it is time to ACT. We have had 18 years of NCLB's ruinous emphasis and it is time to ACT. We have had 15 years of school boards acting as if they are not accountable to the district as a whole, don't need to have discussions in public, respond to citizens who address them, don't respond or listen to people who disagree with them, and can do everything in small back room meetings and it is time to ACT.

Steve,

Let me know when you officially throw your hat into the ring. (Does anyone but me talk that way today?)

I would be glad to support you anyway I am able.

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