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Black Kids Matter: A Letter in Support of KairosPDX

Early Learning Multnomah believes that every child can be successful in school, but too often, race and ethnicity and language are predictors of poverty and low rates of school success. In Multnomah County, 64.8% of 0-6 year olds living in poverty are from communities of color. We work to ensure that children of color get what they need to thrive in kindergarten and beyond. 

ELM supports KairosPDX. We recognize that KairosPDX tackles these areas of influence early on through their cultivation of young, Black leaders who will move on to become change makers in their own right. We believe in the ability of KairosPDX to provide a welcoming environment and culturally responsive education for Black students. Decades of data show that Black students have been one of the lowest performing demographics across the state, and Black student success in PPS has come to an all-time low. KairosPDX has shown that they have the tools to change the narrative for underserved children and they are making a marked difference. 

Because of our work and commitment to the Black community, ELM is urging Portland Public Schools to show their commitment to KairosPDX through the granting of a 5-year lease in the Humboldt School building to allow them the time to continue their program without disruption and secure a long-term space. PPS' support of KairosPDX, or lack thereof, sends a clear message about its dedication to Black children and ALL children. We implore PPS to work with KairosPDX to create a comprehensive plan for Black student success. 

For many of us, the attempted disruption of KairosPDX's work has amplified the challenges of working toward measurable and sustainable change from within the institutions that have perpetuated displacement of black and brown kids and their families. Instead of disrupting the lives of Kairos students, families and staff, PPS should be disrupting the structural barriers put in place that families of color face when their young children are growing and learning. 

We urge PPS to do the right thing in recognition of the value of Black students, their families, their communities, and their futures. 

For more background about KairosPDX and its history with Portland Public Schools read The Oregonian's August 24, 2018 article: "Portland's historic wrongs to black families deepen disagreement over charter school."