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I know this discussion is focused on arts education statewide, but my comment is specific to Portland Public Schools - I hope that's alright.
PPS seems to have history of closing or threatening to close successful schools (Edwards Elementary, Hollyrood Elementary) while throwing money at struggling schools which never seem to regain their footing. They seem to be at it again with their current plan to close Benson High School while allowing Roosevelt and Jefferson to remain open, at enrollment levels well beyond those at the remaining PPS high schools. I don't understand this thinking.
Benson High School, which serves a very diverse student body (a large percentage of which are kids for whom Jefferson and Roosevelt are their neighborhood schools.) Their graduation rate is rivaled only by that of Lincoln High School. The program is clearly working, so why is altering it even a discussion.
To me, what makes most sense is to focus on what schools do well. In the case of Jefferson, what that school is best known for is their Jefferson Dancers program. Why isn't PPS building on that success?
The City of Portland has long claimed to support the arts and crave members of the "creative class" as residents. Why aren't we creating this creative class here at home rather than luring others from out of state.
We have a strong arts curriculum at Buckman Elementary and and DaVinci Middle School - but then where do those kids go?
Close Roosevelt. Take the money that would have gone to Roosevelt and pump it into Jefferson. Make Jefferson an arts-focused high school - fine arts, performing arts and allied arts - art, music, drama, dance, graphic design, interior design, etc. That's the way to make Jefferson thrive.
posted 2 years, 11 months ago
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