01-22-2022  7:35 pm   •   PDX and SEA Weather
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Report: Oregon Has Too Few Public Defenders

Oregon has only roughly one-third of the public defense attorneys it needs to provide reasonably effective assistance to low-income defendants

Blumenauer Boosts Efforts to Put Three Black History Landmarks on National List

Congressman makes case for Mt. Olivet Baptist Church, Dean’s Beauty Salon and Barber Shop, and the Golden West Hotel’s importance to city history and heritage.

Lawsuit Says New Majority Latino District in WA a 'Facade'

A Latino civil rights organization and others filed a federal lawsuit Wednesday that says new political maps in Washington state approved by a bipartisan redistricting panel intentionally dilute Hispanic voters' influence.

Washington Students' Test Scores Drop Significantly

Reports show that between 2019 and 2021, the overall percentage of students who met state standards on the math portion of the exam fell by 20 percentage points.


Five Schools Return to In-person Instruction on Jan. 24

Alliance, Faubion, Franklin, Ockley Green, and Roosevelt return to in-person instruction; George, Harriet Tubman and Kellogg...

Portland Winter Light Festival Begins in Two Weeks, Illuminating City for Seventh Time

Free, all-ages, outdoor activity returns with new opportunities for outdoor art experiences all across Portland ...

PassinArt Introduces ‘Play Reading Mondays’

The Spanish Jade and The Learning Curve, both directed by William Earl Ray premiere in February ...

Revamped TriMet Website Makes Planning Trips Easier With Map-Based Tools

Riders can now track real-time locations of buses and trains on their smartphone ...

PHOTOS: Founder of The American History Traveling Museum: The Unspoken Truths Honored

Delbert Richardson's Alpha Phi Alpha, Alpha XI Chapter fraternity brothers presented him a plaque that reads “Your commitment to...

Wolves attracted by cow carcasses kill Oregon herding dog

BAKER CITY, Ore. (AP) — Wolves attracted to six unburied cow carcasses at an eastern Oregon ranch killed a herding dog, wildlife officials said. Brian Ratliff of the Oregon Department of Fish and Game said the wolves killed the 40-pound (18-kilogram) herding dog on Friday about 150...

Orchestra fighting stigma of mental illness marks 10 years

BURLINGTON, Vt. (AP) — A classical music organization started in Vermont for musicians with mental illnesses and the people who support them is celebrating its 10th anniversary with a free performance in Boston on Sunday. Me2/ is a non-auditioned orchestra of musicians, half of whom...

UNLV promotes interim AD Harper to full-time job

LAS VEGAS (AP) — UNLV has promoted interim athletic director Erick Harper to serve in the job full time. Harper's hiring, announced on Monday, was effective Jan. 1. He had served as interim athletic director since Desiree Reed-Francois left UNLV for Missouri in August. ...

Army stuns Missouri in Armed Forces Bowl on last-second FG

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — Cole Talley kicked a 41-yard field goal as time expired and Army rallied to beat Missouri 24-22 in the Armed Forces Bowl on Wednesday night. After the Tigers took a 22-21 lead on a touchdown with 1:11 to play, third-string quarterback Jabari Laws led Army...


OP-ED: A House Divided Against Itself Cannot Stand

January 6th, Voting Rights and the Tyranny Threatening America ...

Support Nikole Hannah-Jones and The 1619 Project

This important and ambitious project pulled back the curtain of euphemistic rhetoric composing American historiography that points only to the good in our history and sweeps under the rug the evil deeds perpetrated against people of color ...

In 2021, Organized Labor is Again Flexing its Muscles

We have seen dramatic change in the makeup of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) under President Biden. ...

Study Reveals Racial Pay Gap for Social Media Influencers

The racial pay gap has long presented issues for African Americans in Corporate America and other industries. It’s now filtered to social media. ...


Jewish leaders, backers defiant a week after hostage siege

On the eve of her 100th birthday Saturday, Ruth Salton told her daughter she was going one way or another to Friday night Shabbat services at Congregation Beth Israel, just days after a gunman voicing antisemitic conspiracy theories held four worshippers hostage for 10 hours at the Fort Worth-area...

McConnell responds to uproar over comment about Black voters

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell pushed back Friday against the uproar over a comment he made about African American voters, calling the criticism directed his way “outrageous.” McConnell had been accused of racism for saying that “African...

Abuse victims see inequity in payouts at 2 Michigan schools

Two former University of Michigan football stars who stand to receive as much as 0,000 each through the school's sexual abuse settlement with more than 1,000 students say the per-victim payouts should be much higher, pointing to a similar case at rival Michigan State. Dwight Hicks...


Weber Grills apologizes for ill-timed meatloaf recipe email

NEW YORK (AP) — Weber picked the wrong day to suggest grilling meatloaf. The outdoor grill maker apologized on Friday for sending a recipe-of-the-week email earlier that day featuring instructions on how to prepare “BBQ Meat Loaf.” The email coincided with news...

Meat Loaf, 'Bat Out of Hell' rock superstar, dies at 74

NEW YORK (AP) — Meat Loaf, the heavyweight rock superstar loved by millions for his “Bat Out of Hell” album and for such theatrical, dark-hearted anthems as “Paradise By the Dashboard Light,” “Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad,” and “I’d Do Anything for Love (But I Won’t Do That),”...

Louie Anderson, comic, Emmy winner for 'Baskets,' dies at 68

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Louie Anderson, whose four-decade career as a comedian and actor included his unlikely, Emmy-winning performance as mom to twin adult sons in the TV series “Baskets,” died Friday. He was 68. Anderson died at a hospital in Las Vegas of complications from...


Berlusconi drops bid to be elected as Italy's president

ROME (AP) — Former premier Silvio Berlusconi on Saturday bowed out of Italy's presidential election set for next...

Jewish leaders, backers defiant a week after hostage siege

On the eve of her 100th birthday Saturday, Ruth Salton told her daughter she was going one way or another to...

Stray bullet kills English astrophysicist visiting Atlanta

BROOKHAVEN, Ga. (AP) — A stray bullet struck and killed an English astrophysicist while he was inside an...

Berlusconi drops bid to be elected as Italy's president

ROME (AP) — Former premier Silvio Berlusconi on Saturday bowed out of Italy's presidential election set for next...

Russia toughens its posture amid Ukraine tensions

MOSCOW (AP) — With tens of thousands of Russian troops positioned near Ukraine, the Kremlin has kept the U.S....

UK lawmaker says he'll go to police with 'blackmail' claims

LONDON (AP) — A British politician who accuses the government of blackmailing opponents of Prime Minister Boris...

By Brian Stimson of The Skanner News

This is part one of a two-part series.

Madison High School Librarian Nancy Sullivan

You might not know it, but the libraries inside schools have a lot to do with how well our students learn in the classroom.
But at Portland Public Schools, two-thirds of libraries don't even have a certified librarian running them. In a district of 85 libraries, only 28 are staffed with librarians.
About 50 percent of school libraries are only staffed half-time. Over at Harriet Tubman Leadership Academy for Young Women, for example, the library is only staffed Mondays, Wednesdays and every other Friday.
And many don't even have any money for new books.
So why are school libraries in Portland Public Schools in such a crunch for support?
Susan Stone, a "Teacher on Special Assignment" (or TOSA) for libraries, says it has everything to do with the district's lack of money.
"Sometimes it's easy to think a library can slide for a while," said Stone, one of only a skeleton crew at the district level that assists school libraries. "But the problem with that is that they usually don't come back."
The district's director of curriculum, Marcia Arganbright, didn't return calls by press time.
Even when accounting for differences such as poverty, the experience of classroom teachers and demographics, the library's health will likely tell you how well students are scoring on reading, according to research.
"When these other conditions are taken into account, LM (library media) program development alone accounts for three to five percent of variation in Oregon reading scores," according to a 2002 report by the Library Research Service. "Generally its importance falls between that of community differences, which consistently demonstrated stronger effects, and school differences, which usually demonstrated weaker effects."
That report, "Oregon School Librarians Collaborate to Improve Academic Achievement," says that a school with an adequately staffed and stocked library that coordinates with teachers' lesson plans -- and that also embraces networked information technology -- attains higher levels of achievement.
Over at Madison High School, Nancy Sullivan, a certified teacher and librarian, has to put in a lot of her own time to keep the library running at full pace. State guidelines say libraries should be putting $27 per student for new books and materials.
"We don't have money for tape," she says.

 Madison High School Book Sale:

Sept. 25 and 26
Madison High School Cafeteria, 2735 NE 82nd Ave.
Featuring books, music and other media items

Sullivan is one of the industrious ones – she sells buttons, applies for grants, holds casino night fund-raisers and on Sept. 25 and 26, Sullivan is organizing a large music and book sale at the school to help raise funds for new books.
For her efforts, she stocks the shelves with new fiction, has created a graphic novel and zine section and regularly brings in authors to speak to the students. Portland author Heidi Durrow – "The Girl Who Fell From the Sky" -- is on the list, but she has to raise money for books to ensure students get a chance to read the novel before the visit.
Even Sullivan's assistant isn't paid for by the district. She raised enough money last year to pay a part-time salary.
At Roosevelt High, library assistant Daniel Menche said that he's nearly doubled the circulation rate in the three years he's been there with very little money. Unlike Sullivan, Menche has found little monetary support from the school's community, where about 75 percent are on food stamps.
Menche, like Madison and others, started displaying more books by their cover, instead of their spine. He also makes it a point to engage students who come into the library and make sure they find the book they were looking for. If someone is struggling to read he encourages them and makes the library the most welcoming place in the school. The Roosevelt library is also open from 7:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. – the longest in the district.
As Roosevelt's circulation rose, Menche began sending out emails to all the staff about the number of books that were being checked out.
"I started treating it like a sports score," he says. "Then I started comparing the numbers of other high schools."
Low and behold, Roosevelt's students are reading about the same rate as at other high schools, despite the school's less prestigious reputation. And a $7.7 million grant to the school has also allowed the hiring of a licensed media specialist and possibly some money for new books.
Without much money, Menche says it's more important than ever to make the library a place students want to come. During meetings, he says he hears from many "old-school" librarians who say the reason they became librarians was because they love books.
"Great. Barnes and Noble is full of people who love books," he said. "But do you love readers? Do you love young readers and readers who are having trouble reading?"

Continued in Part Two: As County Library Gains Accolades, School Libraries Struggle


The Skanner Foundation's Martin Luther King, Jr. Breakfast

Photo Gallery

Photos and slide shows of local events