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Emerald Charter School SHOT DOWN IN FLAMES

November 24th, 2008

Congratulations! The school board schools the Emerald School on adverse impact.

I am happy to report that at the meeting of tonight’s Portland Public Schools Board of Education, the directors voted down the proposal to open the Emerald Charter School, aka Stripedy Stupid School for Kids Who Must Be Protected from the Neighborhood.



  1. Lelo says

    I love you Wacky Mommy. :)

    November 25th, 2008 | #

  2. WackyMommy says

    Well that’s funny, Lelo, cuz I love you, too!

    November 25th, 2008 | #

  3. Terry says

    And where was Ruth?

    November 25th, 2008 | #

  4. WackyMommy says

    Her testimony was read, and it was blistering. I also appreciated what D. Wynde had to say, and his support of my neighborhood schools.

    November 25th, 2008 | #

  5. Steve R. says

    Ruth was not there in person, but she had her written comments read into the record for her. Watch it when it is replayed, Terry; she made some great points.

    November 25th, 2008 | #

  6. Steve R. says

    Oops! Must have submitted at the same time as WM!!

    Also note-worthy was Bobbie Regan’s listing of all the ways the Emerald charter application fell short.

    November 25th, 2008 | #

  7. NoPoMama says

    I also appreciated what Wynde had to say but the reality is that many of us are in neighborhood schools that fall WAY short of providing a developmentally appropriate curriculum or treat children with a shred of respect. What are we supposed to do? I agree, this charter seemed to fall short in many ways. But as much as I am a supporter of public education and neighborhood schools (mine is currently at his), I feel that due to how poorly ours is doing in so many ways, I have to explore alternatives. Unfortunately, all neighborhood schools are not equal.

    At our neighborhood school, our kids get 20 minutes of recess a day (a 6 hour day, I might add for 5 year olds), 1 day of PE a week, 1 day of music and the strongest emphasis toward teaching to the test that I’ve seen. There is no focus on what is developmentally appropriate for small children in terms of sit time, creativity, exploration, etc.

    As an aside, are your kids at their zoned neighborhood school? Or did you transfer them to a more appealing neighborhood school not too far awayl? Clearly I know the answer to this and I only share it here because it strikes me as disingenuous when you so strongly fight for attending neighborhood schools while you don’t walk that talk yourself. If you lived in the Abernethy, Ainsworth, Sunnyside (you get where I’m going with this) districts you might just as easily wave the flag for neighborhood schools. If your child was at Vernon, King, Beach, etc. you might be singing a different tune.

    December 7th, 2008 | #

  8. WackyMommy says

    Naw, I am not being sneaky, but thanks for suggesting that. If only I were clever enough to be disingenuous. Ha.

    I would be happy to go into the particulars of our situation, but I don’t feel like boring the Internet to death — send me an e and we can talk.

    December 7th, 2008 | #

  9. Steve R. says

    From my perspective, it has never been about personal choice. PPS has set up a two-tiered system of public schools, especially at the secondary level. I will never fault any parent for taking advantage of a transfer if their choice is between “crap” and “not so bad”. Of course, you go for “not so bad,” as long as you can manage the transportation and other issues.

    But it’s quite a leap from transferring to the next neighborhood school over to creating a new school from scratch.

    I understand the allure of charters, but the reality has rarely (if ever) measured up to that promise in Portland.

    The reality of charters in Portland is increased balkanization or our public schools, aggravating the two-tiered system that already exists. Portland’s history of charters is one of socio-economic and racial segregation in those that have survived, along with a handful of outright failures.

    Given the situation at your child’s school, I suspect you’d have better luck getting rid of your principal than starting and enrolling in a successful charter school.

    December 7th, 2008 | #

  10. NoPoMama says

    This seems to me like avoiding the issue. Why do some of us have “particulars” that make choosing an alternative to our neighborhood school ok, while the rest of us are abandoning public schools and being “elitest”? My point is that I might have particulars as well. And, more importantly, that public school should be for everyone, not just kids who can conform to the very narrow structure of the curriculum offered. Trust me, I hate full day kindergarten but the district is going in that direction now. What is a family to do?

    Btw, I said nothing about being sneaky. I just think it’s only fair that if you’re going to share your life on the blogosphere and pass judgment on families who are very unhappy with their neighborhood school, who have tried to affect change to no avail and don’t want to throw their kid under the bus in order to live their politics then perhaps you might want to curb your criticism of others and their choices…since you’ve clearly exercised your right to choice as well.

    I would 100% get behind PPS to rid the district of choice altogether. That would mean that you’d have to send your children to your neighborhood school. But we need folks like you there! If everyone in this neighborhood had no other choice but to send their children to Beach, Beach would be up there with the best. We only have a 48% capture rate…those most passionate and able leave and we lose their valuable input and efforts.

    I am mostly complimenting you in saying that we could have really benefited from having your family at our school. But if you are going to exercise the choice that the district allows and choose a neighborhood school other than your own, then you need to lay off the rest of the folks out there who do the same.

    December 7th, 2008 | #

  11. NoPoMama says


    Getting rid of a principal is ridiculously difficult. Trust me, that was the first pass. We are stuck. I completely disagree with you about transferring from “crap” to “not so bad”. If your family and all the rest of the families in this gentrified neighborhood were forced to stay, I believe without a shadow of a doubt that things would shift there and it would maybe be “not so bad” for all the kids.

    We have families that have come from Humboldt and King who feel Beach is a huge improvement from their neighborhood school. Where does that leave those schools? Should all of these families use the lottery to get into a less “crappy” school? What about the kids left there who could have really benefited from the those families’ participation? Talk about socio-economic segregation…you, whether you want to admit it or not, are taking part in that divide. Beach is probably one of the most diverse schools in the district. With such a small capture rate, what does that say? (Btw, my child is a student of color).

    I agree with you regarding the myriad of problems that arise from charters. But the pre-existing transfer system is problematic as well. Those most fortunate, who can take advantage of what the system offers, who can get nivolved enough to know what is lacking in their neighborhood benefit. The rest of the kids? Oh well.

    I think you’re deluding yourself into thinking that the choice you made is so different from choosing a magnet, a focus option or a charter. I absolutely understand the issues around charters and the money they take away from the existing schools. I agree with you entirely. But with the plethora of choices available to families within PPS, charters are only a part of the problem.

    December 7th, 2008 | #

  12. NoPoMama says

    I have to follow up on my posts. I don’t mean to point the finger, although I know it reads that way. It just seems to me that villainizing parents for their choices in this crazy system isn’t the answer. Holding PPS accountable for the mess they’ve made seems to be more to the point. If folks couldn’t leave, many more of our N. and NE schools would benefit.

    I’ll stop now…I promise!

    December 7th, 2008 | #

  13. Steve says

    I may be missing something here, but the post was about the rejection of a charter school proposal. Trying to start a charter school is a much, much bigger deal than using the transfer policy to attend a different neighborhood school. It’s probably a bigger deal than getting rid of a principal, too.

    You may be right that transferring from one neighborhood school to another is no different than transferring to a charter. But I’m not reading any criticism of families choosing to send their kids to charters. Just about those trying to start yet another charter to draw students out of N/NE Portland schools.

    I think we’re actually a lot closer in terms of policy than you think. I’ve researched and written pretty extensively on the effects of “school choice,” and would invite you to read and comment on that if you want on my blog, where there are quite a few educators and parents who share the kinds of concerns you have with regards to testing, lack of recess, and the lack of “enrichment”.

    At the end of the day, it’s important to remember that this is an issue of public policy, not personal choices.

    I totally get your frustration, and sincerely hope you find a school that suits your child, whether it’s public, public charter or private.

    December 7th, 2008 | #

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