05-20-2018  6:35 pm      •     
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NEWS BRIEFS

Raina Croff to Speak at Architectural Heritage Center

'When the Landmarks are Gone: Older African Americans, Place, and Change in N/NE Portland’ describes SHARP Walking Program ...

Portland Playhouse Presents August Wilson’s ‘Fences’ Through June 10

May 20 performance will include discussion on mental health; June 10 performance will be followed by discussion of fatherhood ...

Peggy Houston-Shivers Presents Benefit Concert for Allen Temple CME

Concert to take place May 20 at Maranatha Church ...

Family Friendly Talent Show, May 18

Family Fun Night series continues at Matt Dishman Community Center ...

The Latest: Cougar that attacked cyclists was underweight

SEATTLE (AP) — The Latest on a cougar attack that killed one mountain biker and wounded another outside Seattle (all times local):4:10 p.m.Authorities say the cougar that attacked two cyclists east of Seattle, killing one of them, appears to have been emaciated.Washington Department of Fish...

Portland jury issues million verdict against landlord

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A jury has ordered a rental-property company to pay more than million after a man fell through a rotting walkway at his Portland apartment complex.The Oregonian/OregonLive reports that Robert Trebelhorn argued that Los Angeles-based Prime Group, which owns the...

Cyclists tried to scare cougar but it attacked, killing 1

SEATTLE (AP) — The two mountain bikers did what they were supposed to do when they noticed a mountain lion tailing them on a trail east of Seattle.They got off their bikes. They faced the beast, shouted and tried to spook it. After it charged, one even smacked the cougar with his bike, and...

The Latest: Cougar that attacked cyclists was underweight

SEATTLE (AP) — The Latest on a cougar attack that killed one mountain biker and wounded another outside Seattle (all times local):4:10 p.m.Authorities say the cougar that attacked two cyclists east of Seattle, killing one of them, appears to have been emaciated.Washington Department of Fish...

OPINION

Golfing While Black Is Not a Crime

Grandview Golf Club asks five Black women to leave for golfing too slow ...

Discovering the Best of Black America in 2018

Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis discusses the DTU Journalism Fellowship & Scholarship Program ...

Will Israel’s Likud Party Ever Respect the Rights of Palestinians?

Bill Fletcher weighs in on the precarious future of the two-state solution between the Israeli government and the Palestinian people ...

The Future of Medicinal Marijuana in Pets

Dr. Jasmine Streeter says CBD-derived products show beneficial therapeutic benefits for pets ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Principal apologizes for 'insensitive' prom tickets language

CHERRY HILL, N.J. (AP) — The principal of a New Jersey high school has apologized for what he called "insensitive" language on tickets for the upcoming senior prom.The Courier Post reported the Cherry Hill High School East senior prom tickets urged students to "party like it's 1776" during...

2018 midterms: An early heat for 2020 Democrats?

ATLANTA (AP) — Look closely enough at the 2018 midterm campaign and you'll see the stirrings of a Democratic scramble to reclaim the White House from President Donald Trump.The leading players — from established national figures such as former Vice President Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders...

Northern states taking down vestiges of racism, intolerance

DETROIT (AP) — A nearly 80-year-old statue depicting a European settler with a weapon in his hand towering over a Native American that some say celebrates white supremacy has been dismantled by crews in southwestern Michigan's Kalamazoo.And at the University of Michigan, regents have voted...

ENTERTAINMENT

'Jurassic Park' dinosaur expert's next big thing: holograms

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Forget the gray, green and brown dinosaurs in the "Jurassic Park" movies. Paleontologist Jack Horner wants to transport people back in time to see a feathered Tyrannosaurus rex colored bright red and a blue triceratops with red fringe similar to a rooster's comb.Horner,...

Kelly Clarkson honors school victims at Billboard Awards

An emotional Kelly Clarkson opened the 2018 Billboard Music Awards in tribute to the recent school children and teachers who died in Texas, barely able to speak as she urged the audience and the world to do more to prevent deadly shootings from happening.Clarkson, who is hosting the show, said she...

Chrissy Teigen and John Legend reveal name of newborn son

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Chrissy Teigen and John Legend now have a baby boy to go with their toddler girl.The 32-year-old model and 39-year-old singer, whose real name is John Roger Stephens, introduced Miles Theodore Stephens to the world on Sunday.Teigen had been hinting to her millions of...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

In North Korea nuke site closing, spectacle trumps substance

TOKYO (AP) — Foreign journalists will be allowed to journey deep into the mountains of North Korea this...

Venezuela keeps voting stations open amid light turnout

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — Voting centers across Venezuela's capital appeared largely empty during Sunday's...

Police response to Texas school shooting remains unclear

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Santa Fe High School had conducted active shooter drills, armed police officers...

Record Everest climber returns, already planning next trip

KATHMANDU, Nepal (AP) — A Sherpa climbing guide who scaled Mount Everest for a record 22nd time last week...

Pope Francis to invest 14 new cardinals in June

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis on Sunday revealed his latest picks to be cardinals in the Catholic...

Britain basks in royal wedding afterglow; grave gets bouquet

LONDON (AP) — Unwilling to kiss Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's wedding goodbye just yet, Britain basked...

Teressa Raiford at PPS board meeting
By Arashi Young | The Skanner News

Local Don’t Shoot PDX activist Teressa Raiford approached the Portland Public School Board meeting with a story to tell -- the life and death of Andre Dupree Payton, her nephew.

Nearly five years ago, on September 26, 2010, Payton was shot on the corner of NW 2nd and Couch at 2 a.m. Raiford said he died in the same year that he graduated, making him another young man whose graduation pictures were used for his funeral.

She said Payton had been enrolled in culturally competent education since he was seven years old, but his education didn’t address his lived experience.

“These children aren't getting to 21 years old and they are coming through this system. This is a system, that I would think… would be competent enough to help those that have the biggest disadvantages,” she said.

Raiford and fellow Don’t Shoot PDX member Maria De Silva asked the PPS board to be more accountable to their most vulnerable students. They challenged PPS’s equity programs, calling these efforts a failure for Black students.

The activist group asked for an audit of all spending related to PPS’s equity department, including conferences, speakers, contracts, trainings and seminars. The organization also asked for an audit of publicly funded alternative programs for students who left PPS.

“We need strong oversight of our programs and spending because we are not getting the results we need for our kids,” De Silva told the board.

In 2014, the Oregon Department of Education fined PPS for disciplining Black special education students at a higher rate than other students. In response, PPS was ordered to spend 15 percent of its funding from the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act to reduce discriminatory discipline.

This $1.5 million sanction was to be used during the 2014-15 and 2015-16 school years. Don’t Shoot PDX wants to know how this money has been spent so far.

According to PPS, in July of 2014, Superintendent Carole Smith set goals to reduce the number of exclusionary discipline incidents for Black, Hispanic, Native American and Pacific Islander students. These incidents of suspension and expulsion had occurred at a higher rate for these underserved students.

In the 2012-2013 school year, 14.8 percent of Black students were expelled or suspended out of school, compared to 3 percent of White students. The number of excluded Black students dropped to 10.5 the next year and 6.9 percent for the 2015 school year.

In a presentation to the Portland City Council, PPS said the number of students excluded has been dropping since 2007, but Black students still experience the largest rate of expulsions. The report named key strategies to reduce expulsion disparities such as culturally responsive teaching and restorative justice conflict resolution.

De Silva told the board that the drop in exclusionary discipline for Black students over the last year is due to principals being pressured into making their numbers look good.

“A PPS principal came out to us, confidentially, and said principals are being directed to achieve the superintendent’s equity goal, but are not given any guidance, support or tools to achieve these goals,” De Silva said. “They are told they cannot provide SpEd services to Black kids, they cannot suspend or expel Black kids - no matter what.”  

The Don’t Shoot PDX activists asked the board to freeze all outside spending until the equity audit was completed. PPS Board member Mike Rosen told Raiford and De Silva that outside contracts had already been negotiated and would be paid.

Rosen, who chairs the auditing board for PPS agreed that equity programs should be assessed.

“One of the things we are talking about … is performance measures, so that we understand the return on the investment for the dollars we are spending,” Rosen said.

The meeting of Raiford and De Silva with PPS was a challenge to demonstrate the effectiveness of equity programs. Raiford also asked the board listen to grassroots leaders of the community, such as herself.

She said appointed equity directors couldn’t speak for children growing up in foster situations, families that have been affected by the criminal justice system, or parents whose children have been killed.

“If you are not knocking on our doors and speaking to us directly, you are not talking to anybody that has any kind of opportunity to speak on our behalf,” Raiford said. “We are not happy with the numbers that are coming out of this district as it pertains to the successful outcomes for our children.”

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