Thursday, March 16, 2006

Portland Public Schools--major changes ahead

The Portland Public School System is about to embark on a major restructuring. The first of what is likely to be several proposals has hit the street.

A few thoughts....

*Restructuring to a K-8 platform is a good idea. Children undergo fewer major transitions and it consolidates buildings, saving money and staffing. This model also lends itself well to allowing older students to "buddy" younger students--something I think is highly effective.

*Portland's system of tucked away neighborhood schools is romantic and parent friendly, but not necessarily economical and education friendly. Hillsboro has a similar style and its not serving them well, either. Beaverton's model of larger schools with bigger boundaries appears to be working for them. My personal favorite is the model they use in Forest Grove, but its a much smaller, college town. That's probably why its much easier to make it work.

*There will always be people that don't want to pay for schools via their taxes. Those people should be the consistent object of scorn and derision for their unwillingness to support the community.

*Change is TOUGH. Its going to be very difficult for families in Portland who are accustomed to the intimate elementary schools to endure that change. Given that the funding mechanisms for schools aren't likely to improve in the near future however, they've little choice. Have some chamomile and prepare to bite the bullet. Things will get better.