As teachers in one of Portland’s most diverse schools, we were alarmed by the article in The Forecaster of Aug. 24 that claimed that “Students tend to flee city’s most diverse schools.” Writer Emily Parkhurst implies that Portland is experiencing “white flight.” Yet the pie charts included in the article clearly show that parents are asking to take their children out of schools that are labeled “failing” and requesting schools that excel, regardless of their ethnic composition. Thus, King Middle School, surely among the most diverse schools in Portland, is a wildly popular choice for all parents, while Lincoln Middle, far more homogeneous, does not appear to be the first choice of many parents.
What we took away from the article was that parents have great confidence in schools that excel, regardless of their ethnic diversity; it is the CIP schools that are losing the confidence of parents. The headline, and the misrepresentation of the accompanying data, does Portland’s parents and schools a tremendous disservice.
Sarah Shmitt & Ileen DaPonte
Portland High School