Monday, April 7, 2008

Those darn kids

I peruse alot of blogs, local and national. I think it's a prereq for actually writing one! One of the local sites that I think I've learned the most from about a subject of utmost importance to me-education, is PPS Equity .
Reading it tonight reminds me of why I have hope for the future and don't get lost in the doom and gloom mentality. All we have to do is look at tomorrow's generation (and NOT television's rendering of it) to see the bright spots down the road. PPS Equity posted a letter written to the Oregonian by some students at Jefferson High School that should remind everyone, or open their eyes to the fact that we greatly undervalue our youth and what they have to offer the future of our society. Young people today in no way, shape, or form deserve the low expectations that we have of them.

Here is what they had to say:

Commemorating the life of Martin Luther King is important, but it’s not enough. During the Mayor’s Week at Jefferson in January, the Jefferson PTSA presented a resolution to the Portland School Board and City Council which began with:

“WHEREAS, Portland Public Schools policies have resulted in increased racial and socio-economic segregation in our city’s public schools and discriminatory access to educational opportunities for Portland’s children and youth, in direct conflict with local, state, and federal education policies as well as the 1954 Supreme Court decision in Brown vs. Board of Education, the 1964 Civil Rights Act, and the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.”

The PTSA’s document detailed specific examples of inequitable and discriminatory school district policies and actions, and concluded with almost five pages of recommendations for addressing those issues. How many of our school district and city leaders even read the document? If they did, they certainly didn’t respond.

[But just like 40 years ago, it’s not just the policy makers who are responsible for discriminatory policies. The folks who felt entitled to sit at the front of the bus, or who did it just because they could, were also responsible. It’s no different today.]

It doesn’t matter how many people participate in a civil rights march, if we continue to allow discrimination to exist in our public schools, the justice system, and throughout our society. Martin Luther King may have reached the promised land, but we still have a lot of work to do.

Most adults I know couldn't have said it better

And here is the rest of it.


Steve Rawley said...

Thanks for the kind words about PPS Equity!

The letter writers aren't actually students at Jefferson, but parents and community members.

That doesn't detract from what you're saying, though. There's an amazing spirit in the Jefferson student body, which was on display during the mayor's week there. Several students spoke to both the school board and the city council about the inequities in our system that leave a school like Jefferson gutted of educational opportunity, while schools in wealthier neighborhoods, like Lincoln and Wilson, have it all.

Diane J Standiford said...

When I was in the 10th grade, my school had its first black teacher. He taught social studies. For an assignment I wrote a paper on MLK Jr. (This was about 10 years after his death.) and it won a place in the main display case. I was so proud. I came from a lower class neighborhood, and given the opportunity we all are capable of greatness.(However small the deed.) That teacher, Arthur C Eldrige(ACE) went on to coach an award winning basketball team as the area high school's first black coach. He was one of the best teachers I ever had; he believed in me and I believed in him. Me, an unpopular, dirty, white girl, who skipped more school than a kangaroo. Kids just need someone who cares to motivate them. I am proud of what I am seeing in the current generation of young people; when not long ago I was deeply concerned. Bravo for PPS Equity.