2021 Legislative Goals
Our advocacy in the 2021 Legislative Session will be centered on equity and justice for students and their families.
Ensure Measure 98 and the Student Success Act Remain Funded
Measure 98 provides funding for three areas proven to increase graduation rates: career-technical education (CTE), dropout prevention, and college level learning opportunities. The Student Success Act expands access to high quality early childhood education, increases mental and behavioral support for students, and so much more. We will advocate to ensure funding for these critical, equity-centered initiatives is renewed. Learn more about the success of these initiatives.
Keep Teachers of Color from Being Disproportionately Affected by Layoffs
In the 2018-19 school year, the Oregon Department of Education reported that only 10% of teachers identified as people of color, compared to a student population of 38% students of color. In an effort to diversify teaching staff, Oregon public schools have recently reported hiring nonwhite and multilingual teachers 4x faster than white teachers. However, an Oregon state law that requires districts to follow a "last in, first out" policy in the event of layoffs is putting that progress at risk, as many teachers of color are the most recent hires. House Bill 2001 would require districts to maintain current ratios of teachers of color to students of color in the event of layoffs. Learn more about House Bill 2001.
Make school funding more equitable
Oregon’s graduation rate for students experiencing poverty is 11% lower than those who are not and the graduation rate for Black students is 5% lower than those experiencing poverty. In an effort to close these achievement gaps, the State School Fund provides additional funding to districts for every enrolled student who is experiencing poverty, homelessness, or other roadblocks. However, it does not account for the incredible disparities caused by race. Proposed legislation would update the State School Fund to provide additional funding for historically underserved student populations, increase the funding for students experiencing poverty, and require districts to engage with the community to develop a plan for how best to support those populations of students to be successful in school and prepared for life after graduation.
End Unjust Fees Imposed on Youth by the Criminal Justice System
Black and Native children are 3x more likely than white children to be committed to the Oregon Youth Authority where they incur administrative fees that undermine their financial and familial stability. Families and youth are often unable to afford the fees, and the result is little government revenue, but a stifling burden on youth that keeps them in the criminal justice system and unable to move on to a successful life. We will support Youth, Rights & Justice in their efforts to ensure Oregon stops charging these regressive and racially discriminatory fees with Senate Bill 422. Learn more about Senate Bill 422.
Make the Record Expungement Process More Accessible for Those Who Qualify
Half of all U.S. children have at least one parent with a criminal record, and Black and Native youth are 3x more likely than white children to be committed to the Oregon Youth Authority. Having a criminal record can limit access to housing, employment, education, and more. Many crimes can be expunged from a person’s record after their sentence is complete, but the process is difficult and expensive to access. We will support the Clean Slate Initiative to automate the expungement process for all who qualify, and remove barriers to eligibility so that those who have served their time have more opportunities for a successful life.