Today, after slushing through the last of the snow in downtown Portland with a strong cup of coffee in hand, I reached my classroom in a dim basement in a building on the outskirts of the PSU campus. And we did what I love best — we started pinpointing the questions my current students have about the education system that we will focus on this term. These questions focused on understanding the culture of power, exploring how poverty impacts student learning, and figuring out what kinds of action we can take to actually change the things we see that are wrong in the system. For those of you who have taken the Capstone course, you may remember this kind of discussion fondly — I hope!
Next week in class, we’ll be talking about school funding in order to education students on things like where the money for schools comes from, what the history of school funding in Oregon is, why funding is unstable for Portland Public Schools, and so on. As I was updating my own information on school funding, I came across some articles that can help you get up to speed on the basics of school funding. Why should you know about school funding? Because it will help you vote when we are faced with some difficult decisions about taxes in the November 2012 election.
Here’s a mini-collection of readings on school funding to get you started:
- School Funding 101: This is a brief, easy-access summary of how school funding works in Oregon.
- Open Books Project: While so many people I meet think that the PPS budget is probably bloated with huge administrative salaries, the truth is very much different. Check out the Open Books Project website to see where our education dollars go. Pass this website on to all of your friends/family for more clarity about this!
- Portland Public Schools Budget Website
- Oregon Department of Education Budget Page
Pass on these articles, discuss them with people you meet, and spread the word. It is certain that some levies and/or bonds will be coming up for us to vote on in November, and it’s very important that we understand the implications of voting for or against certain tax choices.