Friday, June 22, 2012

Oregonians' Achievement Compact: Citizens Holding the Governor and Legislators Accountable

by Tom Olson

The Oregon Legislature has passed a bill which creates a compact between the state and school districts holding districts accountable for certain measurements originated by the new OEIB super board.

“Oregon Save Our Schools” has developed a similar metric for me to hold the Governor and my Oregon Legislators accountable for actions concerning fully funding schools. The Governor/Legislator Achievement Compact does the following:

· Defines key measurements and sets goals for the Governor and legislators’ progress.

· Achieves fully-funded educational goals by measuring legislative progress and uniting the legislature around these goals.

· Allows comparisons of outcomes among legislators – spotlighting best practices to share and expand, and allowing diagnosis to overcome obstacles.

· Encourages the Governor and legislators to connect budgets and improvement plans to shared goals of fully-funded, state-wide education.

· Helps the Governor and legislators to determine how much progress they can make with the best use of state and local funds – and how they might invest dollars in ways that deliver fully-funded traditional programs at the school level.

· Provide parents and students with clear information about how their Governor and legislators are performing, allowing comparisons based on the most significant outcomes.

· Allows Oregon to replace provisions of No Child Left Behind, the federal waiver, and the overemphasis on testing and teacher accountability with funding allowing for school program additions instead of program cuts.

Governor/Legislator Achievement Compact for the 2013 session

You will be evaluated on meeting your benchmark of fully funding a traditional public education in the state of Oregon.

Legislative Session Ready: Is the Governor/Legislator ready with plans for the legislative session to fully fund education?

Ave. % Day Spent

Legislative Discussion

Public Discussion

Preliminary Plan

Final Plan

4 Month Evaluation

8 Month Evaluation

Progression: Is the Governor/Legislator making sufficient progress on a fully-funded QEM?

Ave. % Day Spent

Legislative Discussion

Public Discussion

Preliminary Plan

Final Plan

4 Month Evaluation

8 Month Evaluation

Equity: Do the Governor’s/Legislator’s plans call for full funding for all buildings and populations of students?

Pass / Fail

Early Childhood

K - 12

Community Colleges


4 Month Evaluation

8 Month Evaluation

Progression: Do the Governor’s/Legislators plans free up instructional time by reducing the over-emphasis on state testing?

Ave. % Day Spent

Legislative Discussion

Public Discussion

Preliminary Plan

Final Plan

4 Month Evaluation

8 Month Evaluation

Legislative Priorities: What other measures reflect key legislative priorities to support public education? (Governor/legislator’s opportunity to add progress benchmarks

Budget reflecting the above benchmarks

Legislative Budget

Federal Funds

Total Budget

Coming July 1st


I hereby enter into this compact with my constituents, the undersigned.

Signature of Governor/Legislator:


Date ________________


How About an Achievement Compact for our Governor?

by Tom Olson

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.

Dear (Governor/Representative/Senator),

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)

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Four Concerns Over How Oregon Wants to Evaluate Teachers and Administrators

Testimony Presented by

Tom Olson

Co-founder, Oregon Save Our Schools

835 N. Elm Street,

Canby, Oregon 97013

June 21, 2012
Re: Pursuant to ORS 183.335(14)

We have carefully examined the current version of proposed rule changes for teacher and administrator evaluation. We find four major issues in these changes. These issues are explained below.

1. Since Section(1) says that the "standards shall be customized based on the collaborative efforts of the teachers and administrators of the school district and the exclusive bargaining representative of the employees of the school district, Sections (2) and (4) are unnecessary and abrogate local decision making prerogatives. The state has failed to make clear the compelling reasons for any of the proposed changes---all of which are more prescriptive by the state.

2. By listing "student assessments" in Section (2) and "formative and summative assessments" in Section (4) as possible measures that can be used in personnel evaluation, this draft actually validates using test scores to evaluate teachers and administrators. This practice has been decried by the nation’s ten most highly respected testing experts. See Given this compelling evidence, shouldn’t the state forbid this practice rather than validating it?

3. It is unclear from the annotations in the proposed changes whether the suggested rules changes propose a complete deletion of Section (3) (c). That section states: "Allow teacher or administrator to establish a set of classroom or administrative practices and student learning objectives that are based on the individual circumstances of the teacher or administrator, including the classroom or other assignments of the teacher or administrator. The unique context in which teachers and administrators work greatly impacts their work, and this context must be considered in effective evaluations. If the intent is to entirely eliminate this section, we vigorously oppose that deletion.

4. Our final deep concern is that this draft of rule changes attempts to implement elements of an evaluation bill that failed in the last legislative session. By refusing to pass legislation that would have clearly violated principles of local control, our legislature has spoken. Rule-making such as proposed in this draft clearly violates legislative intent---and core principles of local control.