Readers, there's a groundswell of people asking our Governor and legislators to sign an achievement compact to take action on school funding.
I encourage every reader to send such a request to the Governor and your state representative and senator.
Here's a draft letter that you might want to adapt from.
I wish to propose an agreement with you.
We have watched a decade of state disinvestment in our public schools. We have seen more than 15% of our local educators terminated just over the past three years. We have seen the agonizing decisions to eliminate a wide range curricular offerings that our children need, but our school board has been forced to cut. We have watched the struggles of growing numbers of children and their families living in poverty, but without necessary additional resources to adequately address their learning needs and remove their learning barriers.
Yet, at the state level, we see no action to correct this decade of disinvestment, and the violation of the Constitutional duty to provide a free public education for all our children. Many say we can’t take action now because times are tough. Yet the state has taken actions, such as
- dramatically increasing tax breaks recently by 12% while reducing funding for public schools in the same period by 5%
- dramatically increasing funding for prisons while the state’s share for K-12 schools has plummeted from 44% in 2003-2005 to 39% in 2011-2012
- ignoring the current $3 billion funding gap between current funding and the necessary funding level detailed by the state’s Quality Education Commission
- Watching Oregon fall from 15th in the nation in per pupil spending in 1997-98 to 33rd in 2008-2009
Now is the time to all of us to re-affirm our faith in and support for our children, public school educators and elected school board members through demonstrable actions. We cannot look our children in the eye and tell them they must “be patient and wait until times get better.”
Now is the time for all of us to act!
As your constituent, I respectfully request that you commit to, sign and return the enclosed Governor/Legislators Achievement Compact. Such an agreement will be the first major step in our working together to redress the decade of disinvestment in our treasured public schools. Our future democracy demands it.
Your Name (constituent)