Last week, WW highlighted the voices of four Portlanders who were leaving 2017 with new identities ("Voices," WW, Dec. 27, 2017). The most controversial perspective came from Tan, a 20-year-old former Antifa member who was ostracized from the group after being exposed as a police informant. Here's what our readers had to say about Tan's ousting:
Hannah Howard, via wweek.com: "If Tan had a different opinion about police (albeit a pretty naive one), Tan should have voiced it to the groups Tan was part of, and those groups could have made a decision as a whole about working with police. Instead Tan acted entirely individually, on the view that Tan knew better than Tan's fellow activists, and didn't even bother to tell those activists about it."
Aaron Brock, via Twitter: "It ain't snitching when you're trying to protect innocent people who get caught in the crossfire from bad guys."
David Elrod, via Facebook: "Don't come to Berkeley. No snitches needed here."
Cody Guenther, via Facebook: "Oh nice, another hit piece on Antifa. WW might as well endorse Trump for 2020 if they're going to go out of their way to (poorly) smear the only people willing to do anything these days."
Sean Fleckenstein, via Facebook: "Antifa makes me a little embarrassed to be a tree-hugging lefty. They're not accomplishing anything, quite the opposite."
Lee Matsuda, via Twitter: "Antifa isn't 'superstitious' about cops—they are rightfully distrustful of a dangerously right-wing militarized police force."
Amanda Smith, via Facebook: "You clearly don't remember the past or are grossly ignorant of Portland's history. There's a good reason antifascists don't try to change the minds of white supremacists, because it never works. They weren't looking for open-minded discussion when they beat Mulugeta Seraw to death and they aren't looking for it now."
Education reform takes time
During my interview for "Voices" [WW, Dec. 27, 2017], journalist Rachel Monahan repeatedly framed her questions around the Chalkboard Project in the negative ("a notable failure") and then presented my comments in a way that made it appear I affirmed her point of view. In the spirit of accuracy, I wanted to share more of what I told Rachel. Chalkboard has become an independent, trusted voice in education reform. In districts where it's been working, there has been measurable improvement. Chalkboard's core programs focus on improving teacher effectiveness and have shown success. Many are now being transferred to the state for widespread implementation. So there have been real successes, but they're incremental. Education is a gnarly bureaucracy with deeply entrenched practices that takes years to evolve. We haven't reached our aspirations around lifting student achievement outcomes statewide, but we're on a solid path towards systemic change.
Doug Stamm, Meyer Memorial Trust