Vicki Phillips Leaving

Portland’s School Superintendent is leaving to take over as the head of US Education Grants for the Bill and Melinda Gates Educational Foundation.

That’s very interesting. But here’s the hidden gem in the article:

“Reached on her cell phone Wednesday, Phillips said the connection was bad, and she did not return subsequent calls.”

That…is…awesome…

Anyway, more fall-out to come. Your thoughts?

10 Comments so far

  1. Himself (unregistered) on April 25th, 2007 @ 4:43 pm

    Hallelujah! What a disaster she’s been. Her legacy can be summed up in three words (only one of them “unprintable”): Jefferson Cluster F**k.


  2. atlas (unregistered) on April 26th, 2007 @ 9:06 am

    Aside from the trouble with staffing at Jefferson, what are the other problems that people have with her.

    I can’t imagine she is all that awful, or a “disaster” as himself put it.


  3. Rusty (unregistered) on April 26th, 2007 @ 9:10 am

    Honestly, since my daughter’s only 18 months-old, I have no clue about the state of our school system. BETSY, on the other hand, has her hands deep in the pot, so I imagine she can share plenty of info. And she tends to be even-keeled enough that I imagine she’ll be fair to whatever side she isn’t on in the process, and well-reasoned in her thoughts, and all of that stuff which makes her such a valuable source for these things…


  4. Betsy (unregistered) on April 26th, 2007 @ 9:15 am

    Thanks for the nudge, Rusty. Look for a post from me later today.

    Bottom line: it’s a huge loss. She was a mover and shaker and liked to get things done. You can’t do that without pissing people off. But without her, we’d wouldn’t have passed the local option, and our schools would be limping along with 300 fewer teachers.


  5. Betsy (unregistered) on April 26th, 2007 @ 9:17 am

    And Himself, Phillips inherited the mess at Jefferson. There’s been a revolving door of leadership at that school that predates Phillips.

    Let me ask you this: six administrators have come and gone. Did the district pick the wrong candidate *each and every time*? Or are there larger factors at play here…?


  6. Himself (unregistered) on April 26th, 2007 @ 9:37 am

    Betsy, of course Jefferson was a mess when she came in. The point is, she made it worse with her asinine charade of public involvement in the redesign, and the bizarre plan that eventually came out of it.

    Then there are her attempts to funnel public money to churches, her fast track to repeat the mistakes of Seattle in shuttering neighborhood schools in favor of larger centralized schools, and her fealty to business interests and right-wing think tanks over parental concerns.

    I’ve detailed these failures of leadership and more on my blog:

    http://morehockeylesswar.org/blog/archive/2007/04/25/thirteen_reasons_vicki_phillips_needed_to_go/

    As a Jefferson cluster parent, I can assure you things are far worse off now than before she showed up.


  7. Himself (unregistered) on April 26th, 2007 @ 9:43 am

    Oh, one more thing: Crediting Phillips with the passage of the local option measure is a huge insult to all the parents, students and community members (my family included) who worked hard for its passage. Of course she campaigned for it. But it was a grass-roots effort that got it passed, not her endorsement. Please.


  8. Betsy (unregistered) on April 26th, 2007 @ 3:51 pm

    I was one of the people working hard for the passage as well, and I’m not giving her total credit.

    But the one thing you can pretty much guarantee is that it would have had a snowball’s chance in hell of getting support from the business community (much less the 80% of people who don’t have kids in public schools) if she’d NOT closed schools in the spring.

    I’d much rather have someone there wiling to make tough decisions (and perhaps getting them wrong part of the time) than to be paralyzed into inaction (see Canada and any one of superintendents before him.)


  9. Himself (unregistered) on April 26th, 2007 @ 4:21 pm

    Betsy: support of the business community is nice, but it’s individual citizens who actually voted for the measure.

    I don’t want to get into it here about school closings, except to say that statistically, closing buildings doesn’t save much money. The big win is in laying off teachers (which, thankfully, was avoided).

    Phillips’ school closures were not about budget; they were about her large school, K-8 vision. Perhaps she could have better gained the trust of the business community and citizens by trimming her PR budget. Or not Effing up the Jefferson redesign.


  10. Betsy (unregistered) on April 26th, 2007 @ 4:56 pm

    Understood – and what I’m saying is that individual citizens wouldn’t have voted for it had she not made decisions to close underutilized buildings, among other things.



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