Keeping Informed: The Good, the Bad, and the ? in Current Oregon School News

In paying good attention to my writing students, my community-based learning students, and my additional service learning duties (trying to get funded to attend a conference that will help me discuss the benefits of community-based learning for young writers), I have neglected my blog.  It’s hard to do it all, but it’s important (right now, in particular) for us to all keep informed because there’s a lot happening in Oregon as the school year winds down.

The Good

  • Oregon higher education officials are trying to keep rising tuition costs from rising quite as much as was indicated earlier in the year.  A 6% increase (with some breaks on fees) will result in an approximate 3% increase in costs.  While college costs in Oregon (and across the country) are still prohibitive for many would-be students, this could be worse.
  • The Portland Action Summit: Leadership for the Next Generation conference will take place this Friday (June 1) at PSU.  This is an amazing, free opportunity to network, gain advocacy skills, and find out what’s happening around Portland to support youth.

The Bad

  • Oregon schools could have saved money in the last few years by paying a little more attention to energy efficiency policies.
  • School districts across Oregon (including Hillsboro, Beaverton, and Tigard-Tualatin) brace for major cuts to teaching staff and programs.  While Portland’s teacher jobs may have been saved by Mayor Sam Adams, this doesn’t solve PPS woes — and in some cases, has exacerbated issues within already struggling schools.  Schools that already made changes to programming or support personnel are now faced with adding back teachers while still lacking the programming and aides they might need.  And while administrators take furlough days and continue to turn down annual raises, tension grows and schools still lack steady support.
  • There has been increased tension among local education advocacy organizations in the Portland area.  Increased tension means that unity will be hard to achieve if needed to make the big changes Oregon faces when it comes to education and equity.

The ?

  • Oregon has a new Chief Education Officer, who has been appointed to work on all of the plans we’ve been hearing about in Kitzhaber’s speeches and documents.    Is Rudy Crew the man for the job?  Could anyone turn around Oregon’s schools in three years (the term for the Chief Education Officer position)?  Only time will tell.

That’s a little bit of news from Oregon.  Don’t forget to check out my post on the May 31 Day of Action and the June 1 conference — two upcoming opportunities to get more involved!