Portland schools: Time to translate reforms into better student results

Carole Smith

It hasn’t been an easy week at Portland Public Schools. For the first time in nearly 30 years, the Portland School Board voted to close a high school campus. The school board also endorsed bringing needed changes to all our high schools, which will increase graduation rates, close the achievement gap and guarantee every Portland student a well-rounded education at any of our neighborhood schools.
This past week I heard from hundreds of people upset about the loss of their school. For me, proposing to close Marshall was a heart-wrenching decision, but a necessary one. A decade-long enrollment decline — driven by Portland’s changing demographics — has drained more than 2,500 students from our high schools. Coupled with a shrinking state investment in education, we simply do not have the dollars to provide a rich, well-rounded high school education to students on all our current campuses.