By Ron Herndon

Herndon, a longtime community and education activist for black Portlanders, is director of the Albina Head Start early-learning program. He lives in Portland.

When it comes to reading and writing, the number of black students in Portland Public Schools showing proficiency is 53 percentage points below the number of white students. At some primary schools fewer than than 15% of black boys are meeting grade level expectations. Only 6 % of black high school juniors are proficient at grade-level math, based on test scores, that, unfortunately, are limited in their reliability due to so many students opting out of taking tests.

But the picture is clear. This data translates into crippled lifelong opportunities for thousands of children and the communities they will

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