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Why I’m Doing What I’m Doing

College & Career Readiness, Teacher Excellence, Who We Are | 03/02/2016

Toya Fick
Executive Director

As Executive Director, Toya guides the strategy and policy work at Stand for Children Oregon.

I’m sure you’ve experienced this, you’re walking through the day and something happens to make you stop and appreciate what’s going on.

I had a moment like that just last week. It came at a Portland Public School, Boise-Eliot/Humboldt STEAM School to be precise. I went to speak with a middle school class about my background and our work at Stand.

It was a class of young students, most of them were black, like me. Young students who historically are forgotten or pushed aside in our state and country simply for being black and poor. The school is filled with so many incredible, dedicated, caring teachers – one of whom is a good friend of mine. They all care deeply about their students, and I know they all work very hard to help them succeed.

The students in that classroom were a vivid reminder of why I do what I do. As the executive director of Stand Oregon, I advocate for better schools and higher standards for all kids, particularly those who have been historically underserved. I’m a chief petitioner of a ballot initiative to improve high school graduation rates in Oregon. This work will raise our graduation rates, sure, but it will also help ensure our kids are ready for college and career when they graduate.

That classroom was filled with students who would directly benefit from the programs Initiative 65 aims to create. Career Technical Education classes. Access to college credit programs. Proven drop-out prevention strategies.

These aren’t just high-minded goals. These are proven strategies to assist students, to prepare them for college and career. Every kid deserves the kind of education that allows them to reach their fullest potential.

It’s nice to have moments like that every now and then, and it’s doubly nice to get reminders about why I get up in the morning to do the work that I do.

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