Oregon Receives NCLB Waiver: The Beginning of Big Things for Oregon?

The state just received word that Oregon has received a federal NCLB waiver and has joined over 50% of the states in the U.S. in escaping some of the NCLB’s most punitive and confining rules.

Is this the beginning of big changes in Oregon education?  Check out this article, and let me know what you think.  Does this bring you hope?



Thursday’s Tiny Reading Collection: NCLB, School Report Cards, and Inadequate School Funding As Unconstitutional?

This was my first week back in the classroom after winter break, and it has been incredibly busy.  I’m juggling a five-course teaching load, a new position as a service learning faculty coordinator, and being with my two small children.  However, I still have time to sneak in some light reading and conversing on some of the big things happening in schools this week.  And I figure that presenting this small buffet of readings is a good way to share this intellectual food with you as well.  Happy reading!

  • Learn More About Schools in Your Neighborhood:  The annual school report cards and AYP reports are out and online.  Go to this link to find out more about schools in your neighborhood.
  • Keep Informed About Oregon’s NCLB Waiver Application:  Oregon is still in the process of applying for the NCLB waiver.  And the state is seeking public input.  Let the state know your thoughts on their proposed application. The linked article includes information on filling out the community survey.
  • Track Charter Schools: Charter schools are incredibly controversial and rightly so.  While many tout charter schools as the answer to failing public school education, many (including myself) feel that charter schools don’t solve the problem for so many students in schools that are underfunded and unsupported.  If charter schools take just 3% of Oregon students, they can’t possibly be the answer, can they?  With that said, some Oregon districts are applying for charter schools because they are much more flexible in some important ways.  This is something to track as we watch how Oregon communities deal with their struggling schools.
  • Washington State’s supreme court has deemed Washington’s underfunding of schools unconstitutional.  Check out this interview on Think Out Loud for some details on this.
  • If you haven’t read this article yet, it’s a significant one on the radar of those of us who are tracking developments in ideas surrounding teacher assessment.  Check it out.

What Fits in Your Pocket & Makes You Smarter? Thursday’s Tiny Reading Collection & Inspiration for a More Active 2012

Dear All:

I’ve been caught up in the hustle and bustle of prepping classes for winter term and making gifts for Christmas.  While I’ve been reading about education issues in between feeding my 8-month-old and playing blocks with my 2-year-old, I haven’t been posting, and it’s time to share this information with you:

  1. Oregon did not receive a federal Race to the Top grant but did come closer than with its first application.  This seems to be a sign that Oregon is doing more research and asking the community for more feedback, but we’re clearly still lacking in some areas that are required to receive this grant money.
  2. There are changes afoot in Oregon’s open enrollment law for schools.
  3. More and more children are slipping below the poverty line in Oregon, and many are going hungry.  Think about donating some time to an organization that fights hunger.
  4. Great News! Gustavo Alvarez gets a reprieve and is not deported — thank you to all of you who signed the petition, called in, and supported the ideas behind the DREAM Act.
  5. Superintendent Carol Smith released her recommendations for boundary changes for PPS.  What are your reactions?  How do you think the Alameda Neighborhood Association will respond?  Attend a hearing on January 9 to get more details and to provide feedback.  What do you think about Smith’s process to arrive at these recommendations?  Are you satisfied with the level of community involvement?

What’s really important to think about as we end this year and begin another?  How we can live and participate in our communities in ways that support kids and families.  Here are some ideas to get you thinking and acting in simple but important ways:

  • Oregon is seeking feedback on the state’s NCLB waiver application.  You can send in your feedback now and be part of the process of opting out of NCLB’s oppressive regulations.  If you are fed up with NCLB or just want to see more innovative ways of teaching and assessing, your feedback is needed!
  • If you’re interested in being part of conversations about the achievement gap and how to support policies and actions that help narrow the gap, join with Stand for Children, the Black Parent Initiative, REAP, and the Oregon Chamber of Commerce to get involved.  Send Emily Nazarov an email at enazarov@stand.or.
  • Join the Chalkboard Project’s Citizen Corp, join the upcoming virtual brown bag on the importance of educator assessment, or just subscribe to their informative blog on local education issues to stay informed.
  • Register for the MLK day of service here.
  • Find a more long-term or several short-term community-based projects to dedicate some time to in 2012 by visiting Hands on Portland.
  • Make an end-of-the-year donation to an organization like Donors Choose, which allows educators to fundraise for class projects and supplies.
  • Spend quality time with the children in your life!

I’ll be posting more after the Christmas holiday as we head toward the New Year and the opportunity to envision a 2012 of community involvement!

Happy Winter,


Governor Kitzhaber Wants Your Feedback: Preparing Oregon’s NCLB Waiver Submission

Oregon is preparing to apply for a waiver from No Child Left Behind.  What does this mean?  It could mean more flexibility for schools and teachers and a greater focus on learning rather than testing.  That’s the potential here.  In order to find out what Oregonians want for their students and teachers and schools, Kitzhaber is surveying the public and will use the input in the preparation of documents required for submission of the NCLB Waiver application.  

I gave this link in a previous blog post but thought some of you might be even more interested with the knowledge that this input will be used to apply for the NCLB waiver.  With so much discontent surrounding NCLB, take a little time to give your feedback…click here to submit your input!