By Christine Drazan
As a mother and someone who has spent countless hours volunteering in the classroom, there are few issues more important to me than schools and getting our kids’ education back on track. Our kids are our future. Unfortunately, what’s best for them too often takes a backseat to political agendas and the voices of parents are overridden by bureaucrats with too much power and misguided priorities. It’s time for that to change. That’s why as our next governor, I will establish a new Parents’ Bill of Rights. My plan will invite more parent participation, improve student outcomes, and increase accountability and transparency in our education system.
Our schools are stronger when parents have more of a say in what takes place in the classroom. But lately, the voices of parents have been ignored. Governor Brown and the Department of Education deprived our kids of two years of a normal classroom learning experience and ignored the pleas of parents to reopen our schools. To add to it, we continue to see bureaucrats pushing their own political agendas on our students – even our kindergartners! That’s not right. As governor, I will restore the voices of parents and keep the politics at home, where it belongs.
I will also make improving student achievement one of the top priorities in my administration. For too long, Oregon’s graduation rates have been near the worst in the country. They only recently improved because Governor Brown and the legislature lowered the standards for achieving a degree, cheapening the value of an Oregon education in the process, and setting our kids up for failure in their adult life. I will restore graduation requirements, restore open enrollment, expand access to school choice, increase classroom time, and ensure that every Oregon student has an opportunity to achieve their full potential.
Finally, I will require greater accountability and transparency for what takes place in our schools. Parents should have a right to easily access curriculum being taught in their child’s school and they should have access to key metrics about how individual schools are performing. We cannot allow politics and bureaucracy to stand in the way of parents’ right to do what is best for their kids’ education.
Invite Parent Participation
- Establish a Parents’ Advisory Council to guide the Oregon Department of Education in setting the agenda for our schools;
- Commit to keeping our schools full time and in person;
- Keep politics out of the classroom and focus on teaching our students how to think, not what to think.
Improve Student Outcomes
- Expand access to school choice, including restoring open enrollment and supporting charter schools and magnet schools;
- Restore basic graduation requirements that Governor Brown and the legislature eliminated;
- Increase classroom time so that our students have more opportunities to learn;
- Ensure that disabled students have access to an education that allows them to achieve their full potential.
Increase Accountability & Transparency
- Require curriculum transparency so that anyone who wants access to this information can easily review it;
- Restore the Superintendent of Public Instruction as a nonpartisan, statewide elected position that is directly accountable to the people of Oregon;
- Enhance school report cards so the public knows exactly how a school is performing in key areas.