More of the Same? Lets Hope Not!

Paulie Brading

Today may be a turning point in public education. Governor John A. Kitzhaber proposed a seamless concept of public education for consideration in the 2012 legislative session. The formation of the Oregon Education Investment Board would unify the public education system from zero to 20.

"The Oregon Education Investment Board would consolidate and align education governance by consolidating the functions of the State Board of Education and the Board of Higher Education into the OEIB by July 1, 2012. The OEIB would appoint a Chief Education Investment Officer to oversee an Early Childhood Director, a Director of the Department of Education, the Commissioner of Community Colleges and Workforce Development, the Chancellor of the Oregon University System and the Director of the Oregon Student Assistance Commission by July 1, 2012. This effort would consolidate early childhood learning programs, improve K-12 education outcomes and coordinate higher education institutions"

The governor wants to focus on the learner not the institutions from which they learn. How do we get these seperate systems to work together? How do we stop fighting for our seperate piece of education? How do we break down the barriers of educational silos? The continuation of budgeting on the current service format needs to end. Currently education funds are allocated based on many non-educational attainment objectives. How do we stop funding models based on enrollment rather than on performance-based investments?

If Oregon were to build a budget on learners, not institutions it could look something like this: Zero -8 years old 9-14 years old 15-18+ years old 18-26 year old college/work force readiness

Legislative change is needed. Several Senate Bills address the changes needed. SB 909 - new model SB 242 - university streamline SB 552 - race to the top SB 290 - permormance standards SB 252 - teacher evaluation SB 250 - efficency in ESD system

We need a unified, statewide investment plan for public education.

Rethinking our assumptions and letting go of the status quo will be a heavy lift.

Gutsy move by our governor! More of the same? Lets hope not!

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    I'm not so excited and have my doubts. For all the expressions of change by some, the actuality seems more like rearranging the status quo to me.

    And, as I understand it, Kitzhaber in SB 909 is only proposing a task force to study forming the Education Investment Board.

    I've yet to hear Kitzhaber's specific proposals on promoting online education. And I don't think he understands the 21st century global economy and our need to strengthen foreign language programs, or, just maybe, there would have been mentions of foreign language immersion programs (mainstreaming them like Utah)in the discussion of early childhood education/kindergartens or of supporting a pilot program to send five Oregon high school student to China for 2012-13.

    He's still lost on education.

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    I see a glaring problem. The legislature can determine the formula for apportioning money, but the school board and the district supervisors still determine how it's spent.

    And as for full day kindergarten, great idea, but how can that be justified when there are massive layoffs of teachers.

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