The Portland Parent Union
was founded in April of 2009 by Sheila Warren a, mother, grandmother, activist and advocate in the Portland Or. Public School Community. She saw the interests of the teachers, school administrators, and district leadership well represented and controlling decision making. The parents and students themselves suffering from the lack of a strong collective voice and support.
Tired of seeing parents - including herself and her family - pushed out, and after struggling with conflicts that should have been easily resolved, Sheila realized there was no organizational framework designed explicitly to advocate for parents and families and represent them when dealing with the school district. Other stakeholders have institutionally powerful support systems: teachers and staff have unions, principals have district administrators, district administrators have the superintendent, and the superintendent has the school board and full-time legal counsel. Against this institutional juggernaut, a family stands alone!
After many failed attempts to get a fair process and closure for her and her family, she was determined that no other family should go thru what she and her family had gone thru.
The Portland Parent Union was born of the desire to give parents representation and a collective voice equal with what teachers have. We will be a centralized group of parents and families connected to resources and supports necessary to be powerful advocates for our children and for each other, and ultimately for positive institutional changes and the greater common good.
We are the Families
fed up with the racism, classism, push out, so called achievement gap and exclusion within our education institutions.
We are families who will demand our rights for our children to get the education they deserve. We will take our place as experts of our children back. We will model the strength and tenacity of a strong father/mother/grandparent/guardian who does not give up.
These are our children- pushed out excluded, labeled, profiled, hurting and marginalized... Some have no hope. Through our efforts we will restore that hope.
We will do this with our love, support, education, engagement, mentoring and sometimes even with tough love.
We will take full responsibility along with accountability to galvanize, organize, and strategize the families.
Our goal is to rejuvenate our Family community/families through diverse methods as mentioned above.
Our Vision is to see transformed quality of life within our school communities. Our families will be whole again and the achievement gap closed.
We are making important steps so that we, amongst the rest of the Family communities, can go forth to do the work that we are called to do. Every family of the educational system has a right to be heard and the children have a right to a great education.
We are created in the divine likeness of those who came to demand before us. We live a struggle that we know to well but are creating/demanding safe spaces for us to be heard. This is what will sustain us.
We write of mental and physical oppression that attempts to keep our children bound to that educational slavery (testing, exclusion, labeling, profiling, privilege). Even though our Families have been indoctrinated with the belief that they are inferior, we will be courageous enough to know that families will evolve into the strong advocates who are respected and listened to as well as looked at as the true leaders.
Our educational oppression is a timeless message that tells of the struggle of our marginalized families and how every day we push our children to rise above the education system's expectations. We must see and name the process of knowing and connecting to the "RESTORATIVE PARADIGM SHIFT" message as our Families' capital.
We are dedicated to the growth and maturity of our Families/Students and carry an inner courage to conquer the trials we come across.
When asked for a word to describe the capital of our Families, we call it "RPS unified collaborative" capital. Ours is a community built on the strength drawn from the love of our Children.