Bring Oregon into the School Choice Age

imageWhat makes Oregon special? The slogan “Oregon. We Love Dreamers” invokes images of idealism and innovation. But neither exists for many of our school-age children and their parents. Education Week ranks our public school system 43rd in the nation. Our overall grade is just C, and we rate a dismal D in academic achievement.

Our education establishment is attempting to improve itself by integrating all pre-Kindergarten through graduate school education in the state. However, this top-down approach likely will fail, just as the vaunted CIM and CAM testing regime that began in 1991 failed.

A better, bottom-up approach is being enacted in many states: letting parents have more choices about where their children go to school. Oregon is behind in this national movement, but we can catch up. January 27th through February 2nd is National School Choice Week, which highlights the need for effective educational options for all children.
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Posted by at 11:00 | Posted in Education | Tagged , , , | 286 Comments |Email This Post Email This Post |Print This Post Print This Post
  • ardbeg

    Look at the data for Oregon-online and charter schools are what’s bringing down the average for things like graduation rates. ODE web site will give you all the data by individual school. I like the idea of choice but right now the choices that parents have other than traditional public schools or expensive private schools suck! Then you have guys like Tim King and Norm Donohoe who run their charter schools (scam millions from us tax payers I mean) who treat education like a ‘maximize my profit’ at all cost business like the rest of corporate America. No thank you.

    • guest

      Dunk you every much, Mr ardbeg, PTA (patented total admirer) supporter of OEA PACker chee-chee whiz heads!

      • ardbeg

        Back to your native country until you master the English Language

        • guest

          Tee your bawl on 16th hole at the WM/Phoenix Open and draw from the assembled what they think of your swing for the OEA and the rich rub of the green PERS in blue coup Oregon.

    • http://cascadepolicy.org/ Steve Buckstein

      Charter schools represent less than eight percent of all Oregon public schools. Their graduation rates could be zero without pulling down the overall average to the 68%. And, the dropouts in charter schools would have likely dropped out in tradition schools also since many charter students are their because their local public schools were not meeting their needs.

      As for charter school crooks scamming taxpayers, I think you’ll find many parents believe their local public schools have in-effect scammed their tax dollars too, yet they never close and simply demand to waste even more tax dollars without meeting their children’s educational needs.

      • ardbeg

        http://schools.oregonlive.com/grads/ check for yourself. Just a couple of examples.

        Public:
        West Albany 94% with 340 students
        West Linn 93% 397 students
        Charter:
        Redmond Proficiency 59% with 111 students

        How much of a kids success in school is the responsibility of the kid and their parents? Funny I attended Oregon Public schools and did just fine. Both my kids as well. I think their success was a combination of the school, my kids and us (the parents) Why whenever a kid fails high school it the schools fault and the student and their parents aren’t seen as part of the problem?

  • Bob Clark

    Steve, understates Oregon’s education malaise. The Teachers Union are trying to hold onto a dying public education monopoly they’ve help bleed with gold plated benefit plans (Even Kitzhaber is trying to rein PERS escalating cost burden on schools) and salaries more becoming of full time rather than part time professionals. Measures 66 and 67 were suppose to restore public education funding to a level said necessary by this Union and the other public employee unions. But no, we now are hearing this is not nearly enough. We must now lift any semblance of tax certainty (such as that of Measures 5 and 50) for ordinary everyday citizens (Nike is above us all and so gets 40 year long tax rate certainty) so as to feed an otherwise dinosaur like public education monopoly (monopolies are easier to unionize and control than a diverse set of education service providers). The outcomes of this warped fight to keep from advances in education service delivery is somewhat bizarre. For example, schools like Benson High School with successful vocational training programs businesses are even eager to help fund have their enrollment capped all in the name of Equity. Equity is one dumb concept. How in the heck are you suppose to know what’s working and what’s not if you flatten the performance of the successful in order to preserve others in decline. Unequal results are necessary to knowing what works and what doesn’t. Astonishingly, our so-called smart people have come to believe highly in the concept of Equity. It’s completely backwards. You don’t cap the enrollment of schools like Benson but rather cut them loose to expand so as to let their success spill over to other neighborhood schools.

    Kitzhaber’s Czar of Education, Rudy Crew, is well meaning but has yet to define his program for bringing up the underperforming schools, and therefore, seems more like a delay tactic by Kitzhaber until tax revenues recover with economic growth. It would be nice for taxpayers if this delay tactic were effective, but I suspect Kitzhaber will rollover to the demands of the Teachers Union and allow big tax hike referrals on this November’s ballot.

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