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Summary Meeting Notes: November 19, 2012 Education and Youth Success PEG Meeting

Summary Meeting Notes

Education and Youth Success Policy Expert Group Meeting #6
Meeting Date: November 19, 2012
Time: 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Attendees: Paul Cathcart, Ernesto Contreras, Karen Fischer Gray, Will Fuller, Douglas Hardy, Mary Richardson, Troy Tate, Stacey Triplett, Helen Ying

Staff / Facilitator:   Dante James and Judith Mowry, Office of Equity and Human Rights; Deborah Stein, Bob Glascock, Christina Scarzello, Uma Krishnan, Desiree Williams-Rajee, Bureau of Planning and Sustainability; Clark Worth, Barney & Worth

Public / Guests:  None

View the original agenda, including materials, for this meeting.


Welcome and Reflections from Last Meeting
Presenter: Clark Worth
Summary: Self-introductions 
Reflections on October 15 meeting highlights: no comments were offered by PEG members.

There were two announcements.  Will Fuller summarized a handout on “broadband equity” that he distributed to PEG members.  Stacey Triplett announced the upcoming Oregon Sustainable School Awards program.  2013 applications must be submitted by January 14.  PEG members can learn more at www.sustainableschools.org/sosi/oregon-award-program.

Meeting Goal: Develop a shared understanding of equity issues and how they apply to the Comprehensive Plan update, with a focus on educational issues.


Equity Fundamentals
Presenters: Dante James and Judith Mowry, Office of Equity and Human Rights
Summary: Highlights of the Office of Equity and Human Rights’ presentation
Children of color comprise more than half of Portland students.  This change isn’t happening—it has happened.  Race has an effect on student achievement, community economic well-being and many other measures.  On average, students and other people of color are lagging farther behind the white community in terms of educational and health outcomes, income, and other indicators.

A goal is to have race produce no discernible effect on educational outcomes.  We all share bias and need to investigate institutional barriers to success.  Another goal is to develop a level of comfort talking about race.  This is still an uncomfortable topic, more taboo in Portland than in other big cities—why?

Deborah Stein presented information on stark disparities in educational outcomes by race.  The data are included in the Coalition of Communities of Color report.  These numbers show the achievement gap widens as students move through grades.  Discipline is disproportionate by race, and dropout rates are up to twice as high for youth of color.  White students are twice as likely to graduate from college.

Comments and questions from PEG members:

  • For educators, this information is “preaching to the choir”.  The data speak for themselves.  The key question is what will we do about it?
  • The 1980 Comprehensive Plan contains almost nothing related to equity.

Education and Youth Success Issues through an Equity Lens
Presenters: Dante James and Judith Mowry, Office of Equity and Human Rights
Summary: PEG members were divided into two small groups for facilitated discussions.

PEG Discussion:

Questions and observations offered by PEG members and observers following the small group discussion:

  • Terminology is a problem.  Not everyone understands the planning jargon.
  • Policies to achieve equity should “build on the human factor”.

Public Comment
No members of the public were present.

Next Steps
Clark Worth announced the next PEG meeting (currently set for December 17) will focus on gentrification and growth scenarios.  Deborah Stein mentioned the December and January meeting dates may be rescheduled due to Christmas and Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. holidays.  PEG members will be surveyed on possible replacement dates.  Also, a Working Draft of the Comprehensive Plan is anticipated to be ready for review in late December, and will be the subject of the PEG’s January meeting.  PEG members asked to see an updated schedule of meeting dates and topics for 2013.  Deborah Stein described the role of the PEG going forward: first, help refine the Working Draft and make it respond better to education / youth issues (including policies indirectly related to educational success, such as policies promoting stable housing, transit, public safety, etc.).  PEG members will also be asked to help design meaningful questions to elicit effective public participation, and in later phases of the Comprehensive Plan update, review draft land use maps and project lists.

In response to a question, Deborah said there will be 5 or 6 public meetings on the Working Draft held in different parts of the city, plus outreach to organizations interested in specific topics.

Meeting handouts and presentations:

For more information, please contact either Deborah Stein, Bureau of Planning & Sustainability at 503-823-6991 or deborah.stein@portlandoregon.gov, or Clark Worth, Facilitator at 503-222-0146 or clark@barneyandworth.com.

Group Discussion – Desiree Williams-Rajee, Facilitator

Question 1

  • Some of the terms aren’t defined and aren’t clear: “e.g., interconnected system of centers and corridors”.
  • “…health and diverse communities” could be “healthy, diverse communities”.
  • There are equity implications of dispersed employment centers versus a concentration of jobs in the Central City.  This may produce resource inequities.

Question 2

  • “An interconnected system of centers”—is that achievable?
  • The lack of density and infrastructure in some areas (especially East Portland) thwarts the concept of 20-minute neighborhoods.
  • Will the policies encourage schools inside centers, outside centers—or both?
  • How can East Portland be retrofitted with infrastructure (sidewalks, parks), services (especially transit), and good, contemporary schools?
  • The Northeast Coalition of Neighborhoods has a good checklist of quality of life goals and measures.

Question 3

  • How could the policies help communities of color?
  • How can we assure that all people are served?
  • It’s nice to have families stay in one place, build roots, reduce student mobility challenges.
  • What new policies are needed to positively impact schools?
  • Shouldn’t every Portland neighborhood have good schools and “the basics”: parks, transit, SUN schools, other facilities and services?
  • Wouldn’t it be better if schools were located in centers?  Why can’t they be repurposed as “community centers”?  Is this possible?

Question 4

  • The group ran out of discussion time for this question.

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