Today’s Oregonian has an editorial “Portland schools need a fixer, not visionary, in interim leader” which begins (here):
The Portland School Board is poised to select an interim superintendent to help the beleaguered school district navigate out of the crisis that forced out its superintendent. But first, it needs to get its act together.
The process is taking longer than initially anticipated. Koehler said the board now is aiming to interview candidates in mid August, rather than next week. He hopes to introduce the finalists, or, possibly, the winning candidate, to the public on Aug. 16.
I doubt any useful, non-status-quo-reinforcing, short term organizational fixes can be separated from setting longer term directions. In any case, if I were a Board member, I would want to hear the candidates for interim superintendent answer the following sets of questions:
(1) Integration: Portland’s residential housing patterns segregate populations and, thus, school enrollments by race and family income. PPS is in the midst of resetting school boundaries and enrollment transfer rules. How important educationally is it for PPS to achieve more integration at the elementary school level? What leadership could you provide?
(2) Teachers of color. PPS has had difficulties in recruiting and retaining teachers of color: About 44% of PPS enrollment are now students of color. Teachers of color are now less than 20% of all PPS teachers. How important educationally is it to close this gap? What leadership could you provide?
(3) Technology: What future role do you see for digital technology in the PPS curriculum? What budget priority, if any, would you put on PPS providing a take-home digital device (laptops, tablets, etc) to each high school student? Should PPS offer more online courses? Should PPS offer online courses that high school students can take independent of the brick-and-mortar schools?
(4) Bilingualism: How important do you view dual language immersion programs for students whose native language is not English? How important do you view dual language immersion programs for students whose native language is English?
(5) Study abroad: Would you support PPS developing a paid high school year abroad program?