Monday, October 15, 2012

What Happened to Local Control?

Back in March 2012, Oregon Save Our Schools fought to keep SB 1581 from passing, but lost due to pressure from Governor Kitzhaber who wanted to make sure his plan succeeded.  The goal of SB 1581 was to establish Achievement Compacts so that the state could then move one step closer to receiving the NCLB Waiver.

Why did we fight this?  Reasons are outlined here from our blog.  However, one key reason was the fact that there were so many unknowns, one of which was the power of local control.

What is becoming more "known" with the future of these compacts is that local control is in question. Did legislators and school board members understand what they might be giving away when they passed SB 1581?

However, after school districts wrote up their first Achievement Compacts (which were done on a short time line with no committee input and that were based on the current funding model), Dr. Rudy Crew was outraged and demanded more from districts who didn't set the bar higher.  The real question we have at Oregon SOS is this: does he have the power?

Furthermore, the compacts were designed to not have any consequences, so what can Dr. Crew really do about it if districts ignore his outrage?  Perhaps withhold state money as inferred by this quote by Ben Cannon, the Governor's education policy advisor, in the Oregonian on March 27th: 

"There are no consequences for failing to meet achievement targets, but the investment board hopes it will help districts focus on key weaknesses and develop innovative solutions.

The investment board, which will decide where education dollars flow at every level, may also use the achievement compacts in making decisions about where it wants to invest, Cannon said."


Who knows the reality of their districts better, Dr. Crew who was just hired a few months ago, or those who are elected to represent the community and hired to work with students and families every day?

Oregon Save Our Schools has recently questions the powers and potential loss of local control with an October 9th press release and testimony regarding this recent development in how Achievement Compacts are being designed an approved.  Our next blog posts will not only post our testimony, but our press release.

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