Thursday, July 12, 2012

Hear Ye Hear Ye! Oregon SOS and the Public Demand Change in Direction from OEIB

This past Tuesday, July 10th, was Dr. Rudy Crew's debut with the Oregon Education Investment Board. The OEIB was not only discussing the current state of their process, but also reviewing how to go forward. Education expert Linda Darling-Hammond was invited by Dr. Crew to consult with the OEIB board and assess what to think about with regards to building a quality public education system. A future post will be coming to share thoughts and ideas she presented at this meeting.

Oregon Save Our Schools was invited to share a 10 minute testimony with the OEIB. Tom Olson, Joanne Yatvin, Betsy Salter and Steve Buel gave an overview of the OEIB proceedings over the last year and shared concerns with the OEIB and newly appointed Dr. Crews that the process was moving too fast, was not including or involving the voices of the public, and was too focused on corporate education reform goals such as the continued emphasis on high-stakes testing.

Other community members spoke up and offered feedback as well. Parent and teacher Tricia Snyder asked for the OEIB to slow down and review models such as that of Finland to provide each Oregon student with a "well-rounded, well-funded, (and) solid" education like she had growing up in Coos Bay, Oregon. She expressed concern over the fact that Oregon, typically a visionary and progressive state was "selling out" its public education to that of a corporate reform model that ignores the voices of teachers, parents, and students. Here is a link to her full video testimony (5 min).

Oregon SOS member, Gary Hargett, sent in testimony to the OEIB with concerns over the use of high-stakes testing.

Another new member of Oregon SOS, Lisa Shultz, who is also a former Beaverton school board member and works as an electrical engineer, shared her concerns with the Return on Investment (ROI) Dashboard program that was presented at the meeting. This program tries to show where the state can get the most bang for their buck for their investments in education. She felt that it was too complex of a goal to use such a program. In fact she said what they were trying to do was harder that what engineers try to do already in their work. She hoped they would reflect on that before depending on it for all the answers.

Hopefully, after all the testimony received from the public and Linda Darling-Hammond on Tuesday, the OEIB, Dr. Rudy Crew, and Governor John Kitzhaber will work to reassess their goals in developing a high quality public education system here in Oregon. Only time will tell, and Oregon SOS plans to keep up the hard work of getting Oregon headed back in the right direction for all of Oregon's students.

"It takes two to speak the truth: one to speak, and another to hear."
Henry David Thoreau

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