Our Top Priority

Racial Equity

We remain focused on racial equity. From early childhood work to our focus on college and careers, we are committed to improving outdated systems that have perpetuated inequities for decades. Young people of color make up nearly half of all youth in Multnomah County, but their outcomes consistently lag behind their white counterparts along the entire cradle to career continuum.

Our community is making progress in several key areas:

  • School boards in each of our six partner school districts passed equity policies to ensure that racial equity remains a top priority, even through changes in leadership.
  • While our overall on-time graduation rates have climbed 17 percentage points since 2009, Latino students have seen a 27 point increase and African American students have gained 21 points.
  • 31 percent fewer students of color were suspended or expelled in 2015-16 compared with four years earlier.

We still have much work to do.

The evidence is clear in the data we collect: 4 in 10 Pacific Islander students are chronically absent from kindergarten; three-quarters of American Indian/Alaska Native students do not meet third grade reading standards; 81 percent of Black/African American students do not meet eighth grade math standards; and among Latino students who graduate from local high schools, 82 percent do not go on to complete a college degree or certificate.

We must stay focused on the voices and experiences of those who are most impacted by historical and current inequities and injustice. The fact remains, if we continue to fail kids of color, the social and economic consequences for our community are dire. This is unacceptable.

Being a part of this work means not only sharing this value, but standing up for it and taking action in our community.