Current Hot Education Topics in Oregon: Keep Up & Get Involved

I was gone for several days at the Young Rhetoricians’ Conference and thoroughly enjoyed the ocean at Monterey, CA, and the company of so many smart, compassionate, dedicated educators.  Now back and refreshed, it’s time to catch up on my education reading AND to find ways to get involved.  Here’s what I read about this weekend…note the links to organizations that can support you in getting more involved in the issues below!  It’s great to be informed, but it’s even better to act on one’s convictions in the community.

More on Portland Public School Drop Out Rates: If you’re worried about our high school students and the high drop out rate, you must read Betsy Hammond’s article on drop out rates and alternative schools.  This is a multi-article series well worth the read.  After you read this article, think about signing up with Big Brothers/Big Sisters, the Mentoring Project, ASPIRE, or Upward Bound in order to support high school students the one-person-at-a-time way.

DREAM Act/Amnesty for Immigrant Youth: Yes, President Obama Administration has promised to stop deporting immigrant youth and to instead offer work visas.  But that doesn’t mean that the work supporting these youth and the DREAM Act is over.  See the Dream Activist Network’s “9 Things You Can Do.”  Also, think about “Liking” the NW Immigrant Youth Alliance on Facebook and getting involved with some of their activities.

Pesticides Around Oregon Schools: Oregon schools will now limit the amount of pesticides used on school grounds AND notify parents when pesticides will be used.  I hadn’t really thought about the fact that school groundskeepers might be using toxic poisons on school grounds.  Wow.  Glad this is going to be changing. If you’re worried about pesticides and keeping Oregon green, join up for some projects with SOLV this summer and beyond.

Upcoming Bond Measure: There will be a bond measure for Portland Public Schools on the upcoming ballot in November.  This bond would help to keep Portland schools safe and standing.  Keep up on what this bond will ultimately look like by reading the most recent article here. Think about attending upcoming School Board meetings to get in on the action.  And check back here for more information on how to get involved once the bond measure is written up.

Local School Budgets: Local school districts continue to struggle with less money than needed and angry parents.  For example, Beaverton parents continue to fight for music education for their kids, and the School Board continues to explain why there isn’t enough money for music.  With a husband who is a music teacher, I’m the first one to argue for the value of music education in schools; however, this is really just the tip of the iceberg.  Our schools need a lot of things, and without a stable way to fund them, these battles will never be won, especially in the most needy schools.  

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