Policy Vs. Practice – Why Portland Public Schools Are Failing Students Part 1, Volume 1.0

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Policy Vs. Practice – Why Portland Public Schools Are Failing Students Part 1, Volume 1.0

Statistically, Portland Public Schools have been failing students for many years. Portland schools systemically fail students of color, state audit says.

According to our system, the public has to hold the school board accountable, which directs the Superintendent. 

As you know, public education is an essential part of society, and it’s an excellent service provided by our tax dollars. In Oregon, our educational system is governed by Division 22, a set of rules and regulations on how we run and operate our educational system. 

Although Division 22 rules mean well and have good intentions, unfortunately, it makes it easy for school districts in Oregon to check a box for compliance. 

An example of an excellent intended Division 22 rule is OAR 581 -022-1130, which requires educational plans and profiles for students 7th to 12th.

“Education Plan: A formalized plan and a process that involves student planning, monitoring, and managing their learning and career development during grades 7-12. Students create a plan for pursuing their personal and career interests and post-high school goals connected to activities that will help them achieve their goals and successfully transition to the next steps. Education Profile: Documentation of student progress and achievement toward graduation requirements, goals, and other personal accomplishments identified in the student’s education plan.”

Here is an example of an Educational Plan and Profile https://www.oregon.gov/ode/students-and-family/OregonDiploma/Documents/ed-plan-and-profile.pdf

“The education plan serves as a “road map” to guide students’ learning throughout school and prepare them for the next steps after high school. The education profile serves as a “compass” that documents students’ progress and achievement toward their goals and helps them to stay on course.”

Imagine if we had an educational profile for every student starting in the 7th grade that could help build a trajectory for struggling students and trying to find their way. 

Just imagine for a moment. 

In this board complaint hearing, you will see that some of the Portland Public School Board Members focus more on compliance than integrity-based practices. Even though the parent does not have an educational profile and is requesting one, you will see the Board Chair insisted on moving on checking the box instead of exploring more of the opportunity to make something better. 

Two common approaches to public education regarding ethics are compliance-based and integrity-based. Compliance-based public education focuses on adhering to government agencies’ or organizations’ laws, regulations, and rules. These rules are typically in place to protect public health or safety, and public education that follows this approach often emphasizes understanding the legal implications of an action. On the other hand, integrity-based public education focuses on ethical behavior in a broader sense by emphasizing moral reasoning and decision-making. This type of public education goes beyond just relying on rules to explain why certain behaviors are wrong or right; it encourages public education participants to consider how their decisions will affect others and what values they promote. 

Both approaches have advantages and disadvantages, but in the long run, public education is more effective when compliance-based and integrity-based practices are used together. When public education programs integrate the two approaches, students better understand ethical behavior, its legal implications, and why it is crucial. This helps them make more informed decisions when faced with moral dilemmas. Ultimately public education that combines compliance-based and integrity-based ethics can create an environment of greater ethical understanding and behavior in public spaces.

School districts that rely heavily on compliance-based education can end up harming their students in the long run. Compliance-based educational practices focus on following rules and guidelines but do not emphasize the correlation between performance and learning. 

School districts should know that compliance-based education can negatively affect students’ educational outcomes. Districts must focus on engaging students in learning, encouraging them to think critically and understand the material they are learning. By focusing on this educational practice, school districts can ensure their students have a healthy understanding of knowledge that will benefit them for years.

By implementing deeper engagement with content, schools can promote academic success and equip their students with the skills they need for life. In the long run, this type of teaching will benefit students and school districts alike. School administrators need to recognize the harm of compliance-based education and take steps to ensure that their student’s educational experience is enriching and supportive. This knowledge can give them an edge in preparing for the future.

We need to know that the board has the authority to lead and direct the superintendent. 

We will see better results if knowledgeable board members move with more integrity and a solution-based driven mentality. 

There needs to be accountability, which is why we see the results in this district.

Check out this engagement. We need a power of four votes to move our district forward.

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