Portland observer. (Portland, Or.) 1970-current, February 09, 1983, Page 3, Image 3

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■ •
Portland Observer, February 9, 1983 Pay« 3
School Superintendent discusses
black community concerns
- .
was complying with state require
by C. Eddie Edmondson
m entt to desegregate O regon’s
schools, resulted in the return of the
I remember when we met last
fourth and fifth grades, resulting in
summer when the [Portland Pub-
an overcrowding at Hum boldt
/ ' - ' School Board reneged on Ito
which cannot be relieved by "addi­
promise to locale Tubman at its
tional space to the building."
present site. One suggestion I
" A n d so the space problem is a
made then was that i f the Board
good problem.” Prophet said, "be­
d id n ’t "straighten u p " that you
cause parents are insisting that it be
would resign, »•ell. I'm glad that
solved. They are getting involved.”
you dtdn ’I resign.
Prophet also discussed several
concerns raised by people in the au­
-—Ronnie Herndon,
dience. Concern was expressed re­
Black United Front Co-Chairman,
garding lack o f adequate inform a­
to Dr. Matthew Prophet,
tion from District officials when de­
segregation consultants hired by the
Portland Public Schools
District come to town for confer­
February 7, 1983
Signaling a return o f the neigh­
Several members with the District
borhood school concept for stu­
Citizen Desegregation Committee
dents in inner Northeast Portland.
say they have asked repeatedly for a
Dr. Matthew Prophet, Superinten­
time schedule o f when consultants
dent of the Portland Public Schools,
w ill arrive and their schedule but
told residents that overcrowding at
without success.
Humboldt Elementary School will
Regarding the School D istrict’ s
be relieved next fall by giving prior­
m inority
ity to Hum boldt students living in
Prophet said, " A loophole in the
the school’s "neighborhood anti as­
Oregon statutes requires our policy
signment pattern."
(that a minority business is one in
which the majority of employees are
Noting that he was addressing one
minorities) read the way it reads,
of the agreements negotiated by the
but, that our attorney said we can
School District and members of the
apply it to get the results we in ­
black community in inner Northeast
te n d ." Herndon jokingly pointed
during last year’s school crisis nego­
out that either the Portland T ra il­
tiation, Dr. Prophet told about 20
blazers or a lettuce farm with m i­
persons last Tuesday, Feb. 7th at the
grant labor would qualify as minor­
King Neighborhood Center that he
ity businesses.
had decided to give first right of ad­
Prophet said the expected com­
mission to Humboldt students living
pletion o f Tubm an, the M iddle
in the area next year.
School demanded by the commu­
“ Once the neighborhood students
n ity, w ill be completed by Sept.,
are accomodated, then other (H um ­
1984, pending the need to acquire
boldt students) can attend on the ba­
additional parking space necessary
sis presently applied,” Prophet said
to be in compliance with city zoning
to the meeting sponsored by the
laws for the number of students and
Blacu United Front.
teachers the size of Tubman.
The B U F organized direct con­
Speaking under a school poster
frontation tactics following wide­
reading, "When we say ’all hands.’
spread public discontent with the
we mean all hands,” Prophet told a
decision by the School Board fo l­
teacher in the D istrict (who com­
lowing the election o f two new
plained that if she or any other mi­
members to the Board. The in ­
nority teacher reports another
coming board immediately voted af­
teacher or s ta ff member for lan ­
ter taking office to reverse an earlier
guage or actions against a black stu­
Board-community-negotiated agree­
dent, they risk being downgraded on
ment to locate the Tubman Middle
their evaluations the next tim e).
School at its present site. During the
" T h e black and other m inority
negotiations with the Front, the U r­
teachers simply must be more asser­
ban League, the Albina Ministerial
tive.” The teachers' unions should
A lliance, and retired Reed C o l­
be required to be more sensitive to
lege professor William McClendon,
your special needs. Prophet added.
Prophet said, the D istrict also
A study of the District’s disciplin­
promised to uddress the resultant
ary policy, which was found to more
overcrowding at Humboldt.
harshly apply to blacks, is still being
In 1980, the School District, un­
completed by Dr. Junius Williams,
der the leadership of former super­
one o f the desegregation consult­
intendent D r. Robert Blanchard,
ants, Prophet said. "H e has made a
who unexpectedly suffered a heart
thorough analysis (o f the District s
attack shortly after being fired by
disciplinary policy and its opera­
the Board for his intransigence,
tion) but has not made his recom­
took all middle schools out of inner
mendations," Prophet added. One
Northeast Portland, forcing black
o f the findings, he said, was that
students to go to schools outside
"in fra c tio n s were inconsistent"
their neighborhood. E arlier de­
from school to school and it was
mands by blacks to correct what
hoped that a District-wide disciplin­
they considered an inequity, and
ary policy will be developed
what Blanchard and the Board said
Prophet - also
said he would rec­
ommend to the board that an ex­
pected $950,000 saved through ad­
ministrative changes he’s made since
coming to the District, be spent de­
veloping the use of computers in the
School D istrict as teaching and
learning aides. Currently, he said,
there is no central computer policy
in use.
Several parents active in Jeffer­
son, which has one of the District’s
student computer programs, com­
plained that only 20 of the 52 open­
ings for a computer introduction
course offered parents by the school
were set aside for their use. When
they attempted to utilize those 20
openings, they were discouraged in
one form or another— in one case a
parent was asked to pay $20 for a
sim ilar course in another school.
Dr. Prophet said he would look into
that. too.
PSU holds International Week
The week of Feb. 14-18 will be In­
ternational Student Week at P ort­
land State U niversity, featuring a
series o f lectures and dem onstra­
tions and culminating in the annual
International Night dinner and en­
tertainment on Friday.
Monday through Thursday there
will be lectures and demonstrations
regarding the many cultures repre­
sented by PSU ’s international stu­
dents. These will take place on the
second flo o r o f Smith M em orial
Center. The events are being coor­
dinated through the U niversity’ s
International Student Services O f­
fice (229-4094), and the Organiza­
tion of International Students.
On Friday, Feb. 18, at 7 p.m ., the
week of events ends with an interna­
tional dinner and entertainment in
the Smith Center B allroom . The
menu will feature soup from Japan,
a salad from T u rkey, a Saudie
chicken and rice dish, and a Brazil­
educational needs and concarna of tha black com­
(Photo: Richard J. Brown)
Dr. M atthew Prophet and BUF co-chairman Ron
Herndon shara the heed tabla during dlacuaalon of
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