Board promotes racism in schools, not progress

Readers' Letters
by: Christopher Onstott The Portland school board‘s recently adopted “Racial Educational Equity Policy” contends that the district’s “historic, persistent achievement gap” between white students and minority students is unacceptable. Letter writers weigh in on the controversial topic.

Ruth (Adkins), go back and study history (Schools' equity efforts are promising, My View, July 21). Please study one of our country's greatest civil rights leaders, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Please note what he said: 'I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.'

Yet you and all the liberals who only see skin color continue to try to regulate students by their skin color. We don't need to pass more students, we've been doing that for far too long. We need to get more students to pass the requirements to graduate from high school and even college.

We don't need to pass more students 'of color.' We need to help all students of all races learn to study, hunger for learning and move on to a better life.

Take off your 'only-seeing-color' shades and realize that some kids need help no matter their skin color. Realize that yes, some kids will fail. Hey, it's actually OK to fail. It's just not OK to not give them a chance to pick themselves up, dust themselves off and try again.

We don't need to populate the 'special education and discipline' classes with more people with white skin just to equal out the ratio. Nor do we need to populate the 'talented and gifted' and Advanced Placement programs with people of color to equal out the racial mix.

Quit promoting or demoting people based on color. Set standards and tell children that this is what they need to accomplish, not one standard for a white child and another standard for a black one. Not all children have the same degree of intelligence, nor do they all have insight and 'smarts' in the same area - so quit trying to act like they do.

Some may excel at math while others excel at writing. Some may do well at physics while others can rebuild a car engine. Some may suck at math, but it should be expected - demanded - that they learn it up to a basic level.

Just as some will write inspirational novels, while others need to understand that a properly written, grammatically correct three-page paper (well researched) is within their ability and we won't accept anything less.

Quit looking for racist issues. Reread your history, understand what (Dr. King) meant; and he did not mean to help and worry about one child over another due to skin color. What he did mean was set high expectations and treat all children the same regardless of their skin color.

Michael C. Wagoner


'Equity' just more PPS dysfunction

I wrote the Tribune regarding the foolish, wasteful and self-serving 'racial equity' proposal by PPS (Equity policy squanders resources, Readers' Letters, June 23).

Therefore, I assume Ruth Adkins' response to the observation was directed at me and most other Portland residents who continue to be stunned by the arrogant, inane and degrading mindset at PPS (Schools' equity efforts are promising, My View, July 21).

There is neither the time, nor space to react piece by piece to Adkins' writing. The entire (op-ed) simply confirms the bankrupt folly that is at the core of our public education system. Vague and ill-defined programs such as 'cradle to career coalition,' 'core program' and 'Parent Academy' all suggest a continuation of a thought process that defies logic. Nowhere did Ms. Adkins react to tangible facts that were raised by myself and other writers to the Tribune.

The exclusive 'promise' that the nonsensical racial equity program has is the 'promise' of another dysfunctional and growing bureaucracy within PPS.

Only a clone with years of personal and academic delusion could have penned such an article, and believed a word that they wrote.

And only failing administrators, bureaucrats and terrified teachers could read such a piece without either laughing or crying. The depth of the denial of facts is something that could only exist in a system that is far removed from reality, and one that breeds failure and incompetence.

Jim Speirs

North Portland

Influential parents drive decisions

You can't achieve equity when you continue to bow to the requests of the parents who have the most financial and social clout in the city (Schools' equity efforts are promising, My View, July 21).

Why weren't Rigler Middle School students set to transfer to Beaumont Middle School down the street? I don't know, but let's spend a whole bunch of money to bus them to another low-income school that is racially similar.

Jamie Stout

Northeast Portland

Schools divided by economics

It is wonderful that PPS is beginning to address racial inequities (Schools' equity efforts are promising, My View, July 21). However, the schools are not divided along racial lines but economic lines.

Often racial inequities are the result of the very extensive and damaging economic inequities which permeate PPS. Addressing one without also addressing the other will not be as successful as addressing both.

Another major problem is that PPS sees educational disparities as a test score disparity instead of actual educational disparities. Education has become test scores. Hence, the success of improving education for all has no measurement within the district other than improvement in a small swath of what a good education entails. And improving test scores often means teaching more directly to the tests - not improving education itself.

Some of the work not directed or measured by test scores which Ms. Adkins mentions are the right directions. For instance, increasing cultural competence among their staff. Others, such as dealing with discipline discrepancies, open the door to what could be some very negative consequences if not done correctly - and the history of PPS in dealing with this type of problem is very questionable.

We will see. All in all the school board's heart appears to be in the right place, except that for the last 20 years they have increased and rationalized the huge disparities many of which still exist today.

Steve Buel

North Portland

Board policy is racist BS

Translation: the school board recognizes that black kids ain't as smart as white kids, so we know that they need special help (Schools' equity efforts are promising, My View, July 21).

We also know that black kids can't behave as well as white kids, so we have relax our standards of discipline for them in order to make all things equal.

What a bunch of racist BS.

Julie Woelfer

Northeast Portland