For Portland Public Schools Zone 2
 
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MICHELLE’S PRIORITIES

I believe in public education. As a public school graduate and classroom volunteer with kids of my own at PPS, I see how public schools can launch students into rewarding lives. But, we are failing too many of our children. It’s time we step up. It’s time we do more for our kids. It’s time we make sure every child succeeds.

Accountability & Fiscal Responsibility

PPS has failed to ensure that taxpayers’ dollars deliver the outcomes we all agree matter. Bond projects are $180 million over budget and way behind schedule. Every year, PPS spends almost $700 million running our schools and yet far too many kids fall through the cracks, failing to graduate on time or ever.

My years of experience keeping large construction projects on time and on budget are needed at PPS. I’ve also managed large programs. I have a background in program evaluation and will make sure PPS holds staff accountable, scrutinizes programs closely and improves oversight of bond-funded school upgrades.

Teachers, like all workers, deserve to have work-life balance. Teachers deserve sick leave and time off to attend to normal daily activities like making and going to doctor’s appointments, or taking a child or parent to an appointment. But something is amiss when the average non-vacation time requested is 3-4 weeks each year. We need to support teachers to be the best they can be in the classroom while providing stability and continuity for our children. We can do better. I aim to get us to better.

Making Sure Every Child Succeeds

K-12 education is the single largest expenditure in the state's general fund budget. We are the state’s largest school district, yet some of our kids, specifically from communities of color and English language learners, aren’t benefiting from the high-quality public education all this money should provide. Portland Public Schools is failing our most vulnerable kids and failing Oregon's next generation. We must not accept a double-digit achievement gap for any child.

Let's be honest about student outcomes. If success for all kids is the goal of PPS, then we need to rigorously evaluate programs and be transparent in reporting results to parents and the community. How can we ask our kids to place value on their grades if we are not willing to grade and evaluate our own work? We can do better. I aim to get us to better.

Safe and Healthy Schools

As a parent, when I send my kids to school in the morning I expect they will be safe and I expect that their school is healthy. You can’t expect a child to learn if they feel threatened, bullied or unsafe. We need to do a better job of protecting our children, particularly students of color, undocumented and refugee children, the houseless, LGBTQA students and those with disabilities. Our kids need healthy food, clean water, and time to exercise and get fresh air.

Students need support to thrive in life as well as in the classroom. PPS needs to invest more to deliver education services that are trauma-informed, address food and housing insecurities, immigration safety nets, and crisis prevention.

PPS has developed systems to deal with the wide scope of the health issues including lead in the water, lead paint, radon, asbestos, and mold. It’s time to evaluate those systems and ensure we are meeting the goal of keeping kids healthy.

Recess is a critical part of learning social skills and encouraging physical activity. Time outside is proven to benefit mental and physical health as well as bolster learning. We must restore and expand outside learning and outside play.

We can do better. I aim to get us to better.

Experienced Leadership For Our Kids

You and I know that complaining is easy while making real change is hard. Big institutions like PPS are difficult to move in new directions. The kind of change we need at PPS will take collaborative leadership, experience, and vision.

What sets me apart from my opponents is in addition to being a part of the PPS family for three generations, I have over 30 years experience working in this community in both the public and private sectors. I’ve proven my ability to work effectively with others, getting things done through collaborative problem solving while including diverse community voices in decision making. I understand how to navigate complex systems and where the levers are for change while holding all partners accountable.

As a parent, I have spent time in classrooms, on field trips, at extracurricular activities, and at PTA meetings. I have seen beautiful, wonderful moments of caring and learning. But I have also seen far too many moments of missed opportunities—chances to positively impact a child—that we won’t get back. As frustrating as it can be to see the gaps in what we are providing to our children, I have not lost hope! I believe we can do better.

I want to be part of helping all of our children succeed in school, giving them what they need to succeed throughout their lives.