OPEN in Action at the Oregon Dems Education Caucasus

Thank you to those who joined OPEN at the Oregon Dems Education Caucus quarterly meeting on Sunday, Dec. 2nd at Mt Hood Community College! We had a number of reports from OPEN members and other attendees who are actively meeting with legislators and tracking education policies under consideration in the State of Oregon. Summary from the ODP

ODP members reviewed the Joint Committee on Student Success has posted policy recommendations developed by each of its three work groups.

Students Read and Able to Learn Work Group Policy Recommendations

High Quality Classrooms Work Group Policy Recommendations

College and Career Ready Work Group Policy Recommendations

The following handouts are posted as files in the DPO Education Caucus Facebook Group:

  • Oregon Public Education Network (OPEN) comments on draft recommendations of the High Quality Classrooms Work Group.

  • A draft resolution for the DPO State Central Committee to Condemn the Undermining of Public Education under Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.

  • 2018 DPO Platform, Article 2-Education

  • Still Another Destructive Goal Pursuit? Oregon’s “40/40/20” By Tom Olson, Co-Founder, Oregon Save Our Schools January 7, 2014 (referenced in Oregon SOS comments to JCSS)

  • Oregon Save Our Schools Comments on Joint Committee on Student Success

We also discussed problems with Oregon's annual Standardized testing program aka Smarter Balanced Assessments: expensive, lost instructional time, contributes to low graduation rates, biased against students of color and low income students,...the list goes on and on and on. If you would like to learn more about this issue, please read: California Flies Blind On Testing: The Troubling Saga Of The State’s ‘Smarter Balanced Test’. We heard a troubling update on ODE's efforts to double down on Smarter Balanced testing in Oregon, discourage opt outs and punish students who are opted out by their parents.

We hope that if you advocate for public education with any State Democratic Legislator or the Governor and/or her Administration,that you will refer to the 2018 DPO Platform and the relevant Article 2-Education plank or planks. Fully funding the Quality Education Model is in the introduction to the Education Article. In our discussion it was noted that the QEM is the baseline for adequately funding Oregon public schools. Due to increased numbers of children who are homeless, living in poverty, lacking adequate healthcare or otherwise experiencing childhood trauma, schools are increasingly expected to provide wrap-around services not addressed by the QEM.

Oregon Education Budget & Funding News:

We are hopeful that our new Democratic Supermajority in both the Oregon House and Senate will result in increased funding for Oregon public schools, including post-secondary institutions. It was noted that the weak link is the narrow margin in the Oregon Senate. Questions to consider as the Governor and State Legislature pursue new revenue to increase funding for public education.  

  • Is it in the best interests of our public school children for the Governor and/or the Legislature to dictate how funding is spent by school districts? Past experience has been that school districts have to make cuts in equally important services and programs in order to comply with legislative mandates. Who is in the best position to best meet the needs of their school district's children and families?

  • Are some Oregon businesses sincere about their willingness to increase revenues (aka corporate taxes) in order to adequately fund Oregon public schools? We can hope!

Next DPO State Central Committee Meeting and Education Caucus Meeting: March 16th & 17th, 2019 in Polk County, OR.

Mariah Dula