" A school board member needs to be passionate about service for the community. There should be no direct outside influence; the ultimate questions at the heart of every decision should be 'what is the impact on the children; what is the impact on the vulnerable students; does this inadvertently benefit a particular group?' There are many difficult decisions that a board member must make, but if they base them on their true evaluation of these questions, as I would hope to do, they are making the best decisions for the community as they understand the issue. "
How Can We Do Better
From Dan's perspective, Portland Public Schools have worked hard, and done many things well, but there are many areas for improvement. Dan Rodgers feels equity in programs of both primary and secondary education, and safety from a health perspective during COVID-19 are some of the biggest issues for the district today. He has said he will not accept that neighborhoods that are historically of lower economic status, or neighborhoods that are historically occupied by minority groups are not advancing at the same rates due to systemic issues; he will strive to make real change for these communities.
Education during the Pandemic
COVID-19 has had many impacts on our society, not the least of which is the impact on education. Dan Rodgers supports the return of students to the classroom to the fullest effect as soon as possible, provided it can be done in a manner that is safe for all involved (students, staff, and faculty), and equitable across our diverse communities.
In Dan's own words:
" Exclusive online learning over this prolonged period, and suspension of many IEPs has led to a significant detriment for the education of our most vulnerable children (as well as children at large). I think the heart of the issue of returning to in-person learning needs to focus on safety. Parents need to feel safe for their families and children, faculty and staff need to be safe if schools are to remain operational. The budget and the resources need to reflect that basic tenet; there needs to be adequate funding for increased sanitation/disinfection; logistics and staffing need to be adequate to screen and reduce exposure; robust protocols need to be in place in case of outbreak and to help protect against one. Fortunately, the bargaining agreement has certainly made strides in many of these areas. My perspective as a healthcare professional is that safety is primal."
Caring For Our Community
Although Dan has only lived in Portland for two years, he has cared for students as their healthcare advocate. On a daily basis Dan helps to facilitate Independent Education Plans (IEPs), and navigate children's social, emotional, and medical barriers to education. This is a perspective ingrained in his personality and he feels this can be integrated throughout our academic system.