"I grew up in a poor, working class Catholic family in Boston. I watched my parents struggle to put food on the table for their four kids and provide for our other basic needs. My father never graduated high school and regretted it his whole life; my mother was one of the smartest people I’ve ever known, but was never able to take her place in the world. In my neighborhood, graduating from high school was notable; graduating from college was unknown. I’m an optimist at heart, believing in the possibility of improvement, if not perfectability, of the world.
But I was lucky. While everyone else told us all the things we couldn’t do, my parents talked about what we could do – if we studied hard. I was lucky enough to attend the best public school in Boston. I attended college thanks to scholarships, loans, and jobs. Then I went all the way to graduate school and a PhD in Political Science. I’ve had opportunities and adventures that I never dreamed possible in my youth and I owe it all to education.
I am a single mother and felt compelled from the beginning of my son's education to be involved. I served on the PTA and Site Council at my son’s schools beginning in 2002 and had to advocate hard for him to get the supports he needed to succeed in school. But my real introduction to PPS came in 2005 when I was appointed to one of the community planning groups for K-8 reconfiguration and possible school closure. That experience opened my eyes to many of the systemic problems that plague PPS: lack of planning, lack of vision, poor management, and institutionalized inequities. Since then, I have focused my volunteer activities on addressing district-wide issues. Serving on multiple advisory committees has allowed me to develop expertise on enrollment issues and the budget.
Although my son graduated from high school in 2013 and will be graduating from college in May 2017, I have remained an activist in PPS because I care about all our children. Education was my ticket out of poverty and into the world. I want all of our students to have the same opportunities I’ve had.
Because of my long experience with PPS in many different roles – mother, activist, advocate, advisor - I bring a real understanding of PPS’s strengths and weaknesses as a system and the critical issues that need to be resolved. And I have the temperament and a proven history of building consensus to accomplish common goals.
Portland’s future will depend in large measure on our ability and willingness to give our children the educational opportunities that will allow them to develop their talents and thrive as adults. I know that a well-functioning PPS is vital to our future. I am running for the School Board because our children and our city need PPS to do better. With my training, experience, and temperament, I believe I can help PPS change." - Rita Moore