Vote yes on 99 or Why Outdoor School is important for Oregon

By Nancy Becker of Portland, Oregon. Nancy is a Registered Dietitian, long time progressive and someone who cares deeply about the environment, health and Oregon's kids.

Here are three reasons why voting Yes On 99 to Save Outdoor School for All is a wise investment for kids, schools, our economy and our state:

More than ever, kids need greater educational opportunities

Oregon now has the 3rd worst graduation rates in the nation. That cost of failure is devastating not only for the next generation’s economic prospects, but also for families and communities. Research shows that kids who attend Outdoor School do better in class, testing scores rise, attendance improves, and they become more motivated to learn. Outdoor School provides students with hands-on learning and exposes them to science, technology, engineering and math fields (STEM), which is critical to success in the 21st century.

Measure 99 supports our economy and way of life

In this age of digital connectivity, Outdoor School allows kids to unplug and reconnects them with science and nature, fostering a lifelong connection to the land. From fishing and forestry to farming, Oregon’s economy, community and future relies on supporting our precious natural resources. Outdoor School is a hands-on opportunity for kids to learn about soil, water, plants and life cycles they simply can’t get from inside a classroom.

Measure 99 is a smart investment for Oregon

The stated mission of Oregon lottery revenue is to support education, economic development and natural resources. That makes saving Outdoor School a perfect fit for all three of the lottery’s top priorities.

Additionally, for a $22 million investment, estimates show that providing Outdoor School for all students will generate $27 million in economic impact. Outdoor School programs will create 600 jobs, many in rural Oregon. It requires no new taxes and finally provides permanent, stable funding for a program that countless graduating high school seniors have said was the single most important experience in their school years.

Even with all the proven benefits of Outdoor School, the sad fact is that budget cuts and unstable funding have denied this program to about half of all Oregon children—often the ones who need it most. Measure 99 is the most economical, equitable and effective way to deliver results and support our children’s education without any new taxes, through dedicated lottery funds.

It is time start doing what’s right by our kids. Please join me in voting Yes on Measure 99.

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