Many educational activists in Portland seem to believe that any protest, student or adult, is good and to be supported and defended. This is crazy and dysfunctional. The goals, motives and likely outcomes of the protest make a difference, make all the difference really.
In the current protests, the mostly White, mostly affluent students at Lincoln High School want bond funding to rebuild a newer, much larger school. They do not want to wait for a full cost assessment of needed health and safety at all PPS schools. They are not protesting to integrate either their school or all district schools. No, they want a newer, enlarged White privileged high school. They are the establishment. Their protest is an effort by the establishment to continue the status quo.
I would support protests that challenge the educational establishment. Lincoln High School student Michael Ioffe appeared as spokesperson before the PPS Board and, according to the Oregonian (here, here), organized the walk out. So let me ask him, as student representative, why the students are not protesting for significant changes. Why protest for such a self-serving, status quo continuing purpose. Why not protest for significant changes in an outdated, inequitable, and inefficient system. More specific questions would be:
(1) Why are not Lincoln students protesting for a more integrated high school in a more integrated school district?Would Lincoln students support moving boundaries so that some current Lincoln students attend Roosevelt? Attend Jefferson? Attend Benson? Would Lincoln student support transfer slots at Lincoln for students from low-income families?
(2) If cost estimates for critical health and safety improvements across the district (including Lincoln) would consume all the next bond funds, would Lincoln students be satisfied with some improvements and a downsizing of enrollment to reduce overcrowding?
(3) For their generation, the global economic and national security environment poses new challenges. Would Lincoln high school students support and protest for a paid high school study abroad program (here)?
(4) Why are not Lincoln students protesting for more online course offering? Or more community based learning opportunities?