Transformational changes needed in state education

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Oregon’s Education System Needs Dramatic Reform and Fresh Ideas

Oregon House Republican Office

Salem, OR – House Republicans Monday called for transformational changes in state education, beginning with the appointment of a reform-minded leader to succeed Nancy Golden as Chief Education Officer. In calling for bold, new leadership, House Republicans expressed disappointment with the selection of Lindsey Capps, a former teachers’ union leader and longtime lobbyist and bureaucrat, to serve as acting Chief Education Officer.

“Oregon’s education system is in trouble. For too long, the same entrenched interests and individuals have embraced the status quo and failed to help Oregon students reach their potential,” said House Republican Leader Mike McLane (R-Powell Butte). “It’s time for our state leaders to think ‘outside the box’ and put forward policies and programs to transform our schools and make our education system one of the best in the nation, not one of the worst.”

Oregon currently ranks lower than a vast majority of other states in many key education metrics. At 68.7%, Oregon has the lowest high school graduation rate in the nation and is the only state with a rate lower than 70%. According to the Education Week Quality Counts report, Oregon also ranks poorly in several education benchmark categories, including: 41st in Overall Education, 46th in Early Childhood Education, 40th in K-12 Achievement, 36th in Opportunities for Success, and 36th in School Funding. An in-depth analysis on chronic absenteeism by The Oregonian also shows that Oregon has the 4th worst absenteeism rate in the nation.

“We can no longer afford to reuse and recycle the same tired politics and policies that are failing our students, families and local school districts,” said Representative Mark Johnson (R-Hood River), who is serving his third term on the Hood River County School Board. “I’m hopeful Governor Brown will work with and seek advice from legislators and educators from across Oregon who are serious about raising outcomes for students as she makes future appointments and oversees the makeup of our public education system.”

Despite large majorities and control of state government, Oregon Democrats did little this past session to address the systemic failures in the state’s public education system. Legislative Democrats passed an inadequate K-12 budget that underfunded schools and shortchanged students; House Republicans advocated for a larger and stronger budget to reduce class sizes and allow for a longer school year.

House Republicans brought forward school choice proposals to give students and parents more flexibility and opportunity in choosing an education that fits their needs; House Democrats refused to consider them.

“Adequately funding our schools is a no-brainer, but it is not the only answer,” said Rep. McLane. “We need to shake things up in Salem and stop the revolving door of politicians and lobbyists who continue to put special interests before kids. Unless we break this cycle and bring in bold and fresh ideas and faces, we will never get our education system back on track.”

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Posted by at 05:00 | Posted in Education, Oregon Government, Oregon House | 10 Comments |Email This Post Email This Post |Print This Post Print This Post
  • Bob Clark

    If you want change, you probably need to remove Kate Brown as Governor as a start. She is essentially bought and paid for by the Teachers Unions and the SEIU. The public employee unions by and large have a monopolistic control of state education, and this control yields them significant economic rents which would otherwise flow through to parents and children and those outside the public employee union ranks.

    Willamette Week aptly names the current bricks and mortar, old legacy, one-size-fits-all public education model, “The Beast.” Other states and locations are allowing their beasts to be softened and transformed by introducing a growing amount of school choice – in various forms.

    • guest

      Most right minded folks likely to concur.

  • thevillageidiot

    for party that espouses fiscal conservatism and smaller government they sure like to spend lots of OPM (other peoples money) and increase the bureaucratic control. Transnational change would be to put the entire control of a school back into the hands of the local school board. reduce the consolidated system back to many small schools where the parents of the attendees have much more influence. increase and encourage home schooling by eliminating taxes for those who home school or attend online schools. removes the state from the education system, removes the federal government from the education system. Or an alternative for those of you who love government schools, remove the school boundary lines and let the schools anyone who wants to attend a particular school go there. the one caveat would be that the parent is responsible for getting the student to school. The bully’s would need to be expelled. no mandatory attendance.
    The republican solution is to try to “fix” the problem. cannot be fixed by government

    • Eric Blair

      Having government change the laws and rules, is by definition, having the government fix the problem. Also, local school boards are still government.

      • redbean

        Local school boards are more accountable to parents and citizens, therefore preferred.

      • thevillageidiot

        there in lies the problem. gov does not fix the problem. simply creates new ones.

      • thevillageidiot

        local is governance not government. how state legislators actually live in any particular school district? a local school board member and the entire board are accessible bu individuals.

        • Eric Blair

          It is still government… governance is just a slightly different word that means the same thing in this context.

  • MARK

    Many Oregon students are faced with hardships that prevent them from learning. Hunger, old textbooks, crumbling classrooms, chalk shortages, you name it, these brave kids have had to endure it. No wonder, then, that so many fail to graduate and do so poorly on almost any standardized test. It is not their fault and not the union’s fault. It is the overall state of things in America. It will not help matters to blame people who are only trying their hardest to do the best they can for our kids. People like those mentioned in this article are at worst poor managers, but at best, they are people who care. And that is what really matters.

    • Mark upon Mark’s words

      A silly assassination, contemporary of any common sense dissertation coming out forum left of US.

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