Here is how we demonstrate that equity and excellence are equals.
1. Address the Achievement Chasm
In 2019, The Secretary State Office issued a scathing audit of PPS schools. The audit highlighted a myriad of issues with PPS management, communication, and education service delivery. The most alarming issue is that PPS has the biggest achievement gap in the state.
We are failing to serve our black students. Across all grades tested in 2017-18, only 21% of African-American students at PPS met or exceeded state standards in English Language Arts, and only 11% did in math.” That compares to 74% of white students in English Language Arts and 60% in math (page 13)
My incumbent opponent is a corporate lobbyist. She politicized and failed to follow through on the serious issues uncovered by the audit. In my first 90 days, I will request that Superintendent Guerrero submit an action plan to close the achievement gap. The PPS Superintendent has a 17 person leadership team , the largest in the state. They must address the concerns outlined in the audit and close this chasm.
2. Focus on our students!
The current PPS strategic plan has only one goal: realize its own vision. The plan proposes idealistic system shifts buttressed with extensive social-emotional learning goals while giving scant attention to improving students reading, math, and science scores. The plan is not a strategy it is an “organizational journey” to PPS reImagined.
As a board member, I will reject strategic plans that are not focused on setting goals for our students. I will advocate that PPS adopt ideas from these four student-focused strategic plans:
- Atlanta School District: They establish 4 clear objectives for 2020-2025, outline strategies, and all underpinned with excellence and equity.
- Seattle School District : In six pages, they outline their priorities and measurable outcomes for 2019-2024. In addition, like PPS, they fully embrace the equity concept of Targeted Universalism.
- Beaverton School District: Their strategic plan is 54 pages. It has clear objectives and quarterly progress reports.
- La Grande School District : This plan is very clearly written and assigns an administrator to each of their objectives.
3. Improve the PPS Website
The PPS website is a perfect reflection of the disorder plaguing our entire district. Do you want to know how students are doing? Sorry, the Student Achievement Page is unavailable. Are you curious about how students are performing at your child’s school? Not a problem, you can scroll through volume 2 of the 2021 PPS Budget Report–it is only 175 pages.
Parents should be able to easily find information about schools. Other school districts across Oregon prominently show school data, PPS must do the same. This is an equity and accountability issue.
4. Implement a Continuous Improvement Plan
As a school board member, I will work with the Superintendent and his team to provide our students, teachers, administrators, and taxpayers to create a new Continuous Improvement Plan. This new plan will monitor academic achievement, target resources, and close our achievement chasm.
Continuous Improvement Plans are standard practice in school districts across Oregon and the entire country. Here are three stellar examples:
- Beaverton School District : They establish academic goals, share data, and measure progress.
- Lake Oswego: They provide attendance information, set academic equity goals, and share perception of school climate.
- Seattle School District: Each school has submitted its individual plans.
The current PPS Continuous Improvement Plan has no measurable goals for reading, math, or science. In fact, you won’t even find the word “reading” in the 72 pages. Just more rhetoric about transformation. The haphazard improvement plan epitomizes why we have the largest achievement gap in the state.