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This week in education: Dr. Nancy Golden Retires, Revenue Forecast Remains Steady

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Just in time for “back-to-school” season, our inboxes flooded with important education news this week. It’s time for a member update.

Dr. Nancy Golden Retires

We learned this week that Chief Education Officer Nancy Golden will retire soon.

Reflecting on the 2015 legislative session

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The Oregon Legislature had a lot on its plate this year. We owe a huge thanks to the Stand members and legislators who vocally supported our priorities over the last few months. Many community members and parents stood up for students this session by writing their representatives, sparking conversations in their communities, and even traveling to Salem to directly lobby for students. We are grateful also to the legislators who took tough votes and threw their influence behind Stand-supported bills, as these bills will improve educational outcomes for kids throughout the state.

For years, Oregon was too easy on students

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Picture this: An Oregon high school student registers for the necessary classes to graduate, studies hard, excels on tests and posts an outstanding GPA. Excited to pursue her dreams and make her parents proud, she enrolls in her local community college, determined to be the first in her family to complete a college degree. Upon entering community college, she finds out that she needs to take, and pay for, three terms of remedial math before she can start receiving credit for college math.

Her story is not unique. In fact, in Oregon, it’s pretty typical.

OREGON’S NEW TEST RESULTS ARE IN AND THEY’RE BETTER THAN EXPECTED

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We now have a test that tells a clearer story of how Oregon children are doing in school. Today, we learned how students performed on the new, smarter statewide exam that measures progress toward more rigorous standards and critical thinking skills.

The standards were set higher, but our students "smashed expectations." This shows that when we raise the bar and do our part to help our children get there, they will rise to the challenge.

Call on Governor Kate Brown to veto House Bill 2655!

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This week, I met with parents in East Multnomah County where I work as an organizer. We took time to catch up on education issues that impact students in Oregon. They were thrilled to hear that HB 3499, the bill to improve programs for English learners, would likely pass this week (which it did!). On the other hand, ironically and simultaneously, our lawmakers were busy dismantling the system that helped us identify the need for that bill. This upset parents, so we decided that we couldn’t stay quiet.

Three characteristics Oregon lacks compared to higher-achieving states

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Last week, the Oregonian’s Betsy Hammond wrote an exceptional and thoroughly-researched article: Underachieving Oregon: 3 states whose schools beat Oregon's (and how they did it).

We recommend that all parents and schools advocates read her piece to the very end so as not to miss the important, underlying details. Oregon could absolutely benefit from better funded schools, but Hammond’s piece also examines what Oregon could do right now, without more money, in order to get better results.

Here are some notable conclusions Hammond made in her piece:

2 Reasons You Should Vote on Tuesday

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You’re busy, so let’s keep this list short. We want education voters to have time to submit their ballot on Tuesday. It’s too late to mail it in, so drop it by a nearby ballot box.

Another record-breaking kicker could showcase Oregon’s volatile tax system

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On Thursday, state economists reported a strong May revenue forecast enabling the state to add $105 million to the K-12 budget, thanks to a vote that legislators took in the March to automatically designate 40 percent of new revenue to schools. Unfortunately, economists also predicted that Oregon will kick back $473 million to taxpayers, $124 million more than originally predicted. This irresponsible kicker policy, unique to Oregon, prevents us from saving during the good times in order to alleviate budget cuts during recessions.

Beaverton School Funding Forum

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On Thursday, May 21, join Stand for Children Oregon and the Beaverton School District for a school funding forum. Get an update on the latest conversations in Salem, learn what the recent revenue forecast means for schools, and find out how parents can take action.

Event Details:

Presenters:

  • State Senator Mark Hass
  • State Representative Tobias Read
  • Superintendent Jeff Rose

Time & Place:

Thursday, May 21 | 6:30 - 8:00 p.m.

Raleigh Park Elementary School • 3670 SW 78th Ave, Portland, OR 97225

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