By Representative Raquel Moore-Green
This legislative session there were several bills introduced to address various aspects of public education in Oregon, and in the house a few of those did not receive hearings. My colleagues and I, Reps. Zika and Weber attempted to pull our bills out of committee, as they are dead, to the floor for a vote on whether they should be heard on the house floor and debated for their merits. We were unsuccessful in our efforts. Those bills were:
Directs district school board to ensure that curriculum of each course of study offered by school district is made available to public on school district’s website. This bill would require more transparency in school curriculum so parents can better understand what their children are learning and ensure they receive fundamental skills as a priority.
Directs State Board of Education to conduct annual review of education standards in state. Requires standardized measures of proficiency, consultation with Higher Education Coordinating Commission and encouragement of grouping of students based on academic ability. Establishes phonics as core academic subject. Removes legislative directive that Department of Education review state requirements for high school diplomas and make recommendations related to requirements. Removes requirement that academic content standards for history, geography, economics, and civics include sufficient instruction on histories, contributions, and perspectives of certain individuals. Removes suspension of requirement of showing proficiency in Essential Learning Skills as condition of earning diploma in school years after 2021-2022 school year
Removes requirement that student must receive approval from resident school district before enrolling in virtual public charter school not sponsored by school district if specified percentage of students in school district already are enrolled in virtual public charter schools not sponsored by school district.
The concerns expressed by those who attended the Education Roundtable and those who send me emails on education have intensified over the last several months. Parents, guardians, and the public have come to realize there has been an erosion of parental involvement, graduation standards, and educational options within the public sector.
Currently the Oregon Education Department, OED, is hosting an Oregon Kitchen Table conversation. Details can be found here:
As you complete the survey, please note that the reduction in high school graduation standards (reading, writing and math) due to the passing of SB 744 in the 2021 session, is not clearly identified.
I urge each and every one of you to participate in one of the regional community conversations. Choose the one that best fits your schedule, and if so inclined complete the survey offered as well. Our future is at stake. All our children have been affected by the consequences of this pandemic. Just like an injured athlete who is working to return to the sport, our children should be provided with more opportunities to learn and with the rigor that will enable them to achieve success.