Spring at PDXEAN: A Preview & an Opportunity for Readers to Shape Future Content!

After a lovely (but far too brief break) including a jaunt to the coast to clear my mind and to enjoy my family, spring term is upon me!  I’ve been doing the busy, invisible teaching work that is required for organized, current, creative classroom learning and have also been thinking about what’s coming up for the blog this spring.  This is a short note to preview what’s upcoming at the PDX Education Action Network and a chance for you to provide feedback on issues you’d like to see discussed.  On the spring agenda…

  • Following the results of the February legislative session in Oregon (including what happens with early childhood education decision-making consolidation & achievement compacts)
  • Gearing up for the Multnomah County May Primary Election, which will also include an important library levy
  • Gearing up for the November presidential election — yes, it’s time to get active to support issues and candidates
  • Talking about summer programs that support kids and families
  • Reflecting and asking more questions here about the kind of community-based learning that I (and others) do
  • Providing spring and summer volunteer opportunity information
  • Checking in with former students to find out about their community work beyond the classroom
  • Check in with current students to find out about what they’re learning as (potentially) first-time volunteers in education settings
  • And so much more…


Thank you to all of you who read and follow.  As always, I love to hear your feedback and would also like to know which education issues are at the top of your list right now.  What questions and topics would you like to discuss further?  What information can I provide to fill in the gaps?


Oregon’s 2012 Legislative Session Ends: How Did Kids & Families Do?

If you were unable to follow the back and forth of Oregon’s 2012 Legislative Session, now is the time to catch up!  Two heavily covered bills (one that requires schools to create achievement compacts detailing performance and plans for improvements and another that consolidates decision making for early childhood education (with the desired result being more oversite and more support?).  Read more about these bills below:

In an effort to acclimate Oregonians to the newly created Oregon Education Investment Board, Kitzhaber (and others) are hosing upcoming public outreach meetings, two of which are in Portland.  One of these outreach meetings will be held tonight at SEI.

On a side note:

In one of my student’s presentations on the DREAM Act, she was referencing Legislative Sessions from Oregon past and importantly noted that if you want information on what’s going on in Salem you should not go to the Oregon State Legislature homepage;  So true.  I’ve often forgotten how horrible their website is and gone to it only to remember that this definitely needs a redo. Maybe some of the money spent on the time haggling could have been spent to modernize the website and actually give Oregonians clear, understandable access to what is going on in the state capital?


Oregon Education This Week: Keeping Informed

My teaching duties have been consuming all of my extra time, but I’m sneaking away for a moment to give you all some links to current education happenings in our state.  Some of these are very hopeful, so do read on!

  • Project Harvest is recognized for helping black male high school students find paths to college.  Hopeful!
  • Grant High School’s principal is lauded for facing the tough issues (an inequitable two tracked system of class offerings, for example) and making rules that will shift the system and provide more access to achievement for all students.  Very hopeful!
  • Districts try to figure out the implications of Oregon’s new open enrollment law.  Lots of districts are opening their doors to transfer students.  While this may give some students the opportunity to attend a better school outside of their district, it does nothing to address the fact that ALL NEIGHBORHOOD SCHOOLS should be good enough that the students in their area will want to stay there and will receive a high-quality education.  It feels like this law allows some to get around asking the harder questions and doing the harder work…just my two cents.
  • We are still waiting to see what happens in the last few days/hours of Oregon’s short 2012 legislative session.  Still up for decision?  Kitzhaber’s initiatives on early childhood education AND achievement compacts.

Read up and spread the information — the more informed we all are, the better we can advocate for kids and families!


2012 Oregon Legislative Session Winds Down: How Will Education Fare?

I finally graded enough papers so that I can blog again — hooray!  This term, I am teaching a ridiculous number of classes and feel like every spare moment is spent providing feedback, returning emails, and worrying about the next class day.  That said…let’s catch up!

As February winds down, so does the 2012 Oregon Legislative Session, and education and other issues that will impact kids and families (including health reform).  Have you been keeping up?  It has truly been a whirlwind, and, if you’re a teacher like me, as we head toward spring break, the work load piles up, and it can feel difficult to stay informed. So, here are a few tidbits so that you can catch up on the session and other current issues:

  • The latest article out about Kitzhaber’s goal to get these education bills passed before the session ends (meaning that they are not yet passed)
  • Track the bills that have and have not passed yet here.
  • Recent U.S. Census Data shows that Oregon students are unprepared for higher ed.  We have far fewer students graduating and going on to get college degrees than many other states across the country.
  • A rally at PSU showcased the tension coming from rising tuition costs in higher education.

What are your thoughts on the proposed reforms to education in Oregon?  How do you feel about higher tuition costs in conjunction with the fact that Oregon students are unlikely to graduate from college?

Valentine’s Challenge #9: Be Informed About What’s Going on in the 2012 Legislative Session RIGHT NOW (and Add Your Voice)

In 2012, Oregon has a very brief, one-month long (February) legislative session during which matters of enormous importance are being decided.  Here are some easy steps to get informed:


  • To get a general map of what has happened so far, go here.
  • For bills that have been introduced related in some way to education, click here. 
  • Click here to find out how the representative/senator in your neighborhood have voted.  And try to think back to whether or not you voted them in…and keep their votes in mind when they come up for re-election!
  • Once you know who your neighborhood representatives are and which bills you’re interested in, write them a letter (handwritten usually gets a fast response) or email to voice your thoughts.  You would be surprised…you will likely get a quick response and could even start an ongoing dialogue with someone who has a bit more power in the big picture!