Excellent Blog
2007 Inspiring Blog
Rockin' Girl Blogger

The Proposed Emerald Charter School: Why They Need to Stop Working My Nerves

September 10th, 2008

Lordy, you know my family is not fond of the charter schools. (Thanks to Terry O. for writing about this.)

The children dressed in stripedy clothes and cunning hats. Their parents, patting themselves on the backs. “She is an artist!” “He is a scientist!”

Newsflash: All children are artists and scientists.

Their neighborhood schools will simply, simply, simply not do.

They are “choosing” what’s best for their wee ones by running as far and as fast as they can away from their neighborhood schools. Uh, guys? Where are you going? I thought we were going to volunteer together?

Here’s another proposal! This one wants to crop up where, exactly? Right-o! My (transitional, somewhat diverse, not wealthy) neighborhood. Thanks for asking, hon. No, Emerald Charter School, we don’t want you here. Now go away. (And do you love the lingo with these folks? It’s always “Ivy,” “Emerald,” “Village,” “Trillium,” “Harvest.” Green, feel-good words. While they’re busy burning up gas and oil to get their kids to school. (OK, some of you are in the neighborhood and bike or walk. I will grant you that. But many of you drive to get to those special schools.)

Stop patting yourselves on the backs. Go to your neighborhood schools, already.

Please go fill out their stupid Survey Monkey survey and tell them so. Here’s what I told them:

Please learn enough about my neighborhood schools to know how to spell their names. It is Ockley Green K-8, not “Oakley Green.” For real, why would I want to send my kids to a school where the grown-ups don’t know how to spell?

I am extremely irritated that you include a list of my neighborhood schools here (including the one my children attend) and ask people to “rate” them.

You know what we need in this city? “Rice and beans,” ie, equity and the basics, for everyone, instead of “cake and ice cream,” ie, boutique schools such as the one you’re proposing.

Rice and beans can go a long way toward sustaining a community.

I am opposed to your proposed charter school and would like to let you know why.

1) Charter schools suck away families and resources from neighborhood schools that need them.
2) Charter schools are elitist. By nature, they tend to attract whiter, more monied families.
3) Please put your time and energy somewhere where you will truly make a difference. Read to students, work in the school gardens, write some grants to help pay for books and extras. Be part of our community, not off creating your version of a little utopia that only the few, the special, can attend.

We love our children’s school. They are happy there. They need more rice and beans. Thanks for asking.


Edited to say:
A meeting about the proposed Emerald Charter School will be held at Matt Dishman Community Center, 77 NE Knott, Portland, on Saturday, September 20, at 3 PM. “Each meeting will consist of a 20-30 minute introduction and presentation followed by a question and answer session. Two additional meetings will be announced soon.”

Sarah Bailen Smith is listed as the contact person — 503-309-5662. I’m sure she would love to hear from you. And if you would like to put in a good word for Vernon, Woodlawn, Chief Joseph, Ockley Green, King, Beach, or any other of our fine neighborhood schools, I urge you to attend this meeting and do so.

I love our neighborhood schools and we in the Roosevelt, Jefferson, Madison and Marshall clusters need support — not more divisiveness. Stand together or fall apart. What’s that? Die on your feet or live on your knees?

Yes, I think that’s it.


  1. The Other Laura says

    We are so on the same page with this. Here I am, nodding my head in agreement.

    September 11th, 2008 | #

  2. BlackFriend says

    um, ANOTHER one?!?!?!?!?! did Trillium suddenly burn to the ground? Last time I checked it was still going strong. I see nothing different in what Emerald wants to offer, than what already exists in the “marketplace”.

    September 11th, 2008 | #

  3. Rose says

    Oakley Green. Oh my. I guess that’s where lack of test-taking takes you: you can’t be bothered to visit the schools you are condemning and then promising to replace.
    Had they visited Ockley oops, Oakley, they would find everything they are promising: arts, music, diversity, community and a refreshing refusal to teach constantly to the test.

    But of course, Ockley, I mean Oakley, is a public neighborhood school, and therefore automatically inferior, especially since it contains by those horrid little “at-risk” youth, I mean, I think I mean, real live minorities. And not just the ones they cut and pasted into our brochure.

    September 11th, 2008 | #

  4. kidscountfirst says

    Your lack of knowledge is very interesting. Why do charter schools go to North Portland? Because the public schools are not doing their job. Charters schools are legal, they are funded by federal, state and local money and they are school options.
    While PPS schools exist in dilapidated buildings, utilizing teaching methodologies from the 50’s and waste an incredible amount of money; charter schools have the ability to adapt their environment, teach methodologies that meet student learning styles and do so at 80% of the funding for each PPS student.
    The crime here is not only how PPS does not meet our kid’s needs, but how it leaves families of color and living in poverty behind. Look at who gets disciplined in school, who drops out of school and who gets “left behind”.

    You r concerns are valid, but directed at the wrong people. Until there is a fundamental shift in the education system at all levels of government and in the PPS transfer system then kids will go elsewhere and charter schools will be an option.

    Oh, and where do you think families go when they don’t like what is happening in their schools? Out of cluster and out of the district. That is where the dollars go.

    September 21st, 2008 | #

  5. wacky cousin says

    Concern troll, WM! Yay for you!
    Does this mean you’re blogging superstar?

    September 23rd, 2008 | #

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.