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2016 Legislative Session Wrap-Up: Part 2

Legislation | 03/09/2016

Parasa Chanramy
Policy & Advocacy Manager

Parasa manages Stand's policy and advocacy programs, working with members and elected leaders to improve schools.

In Part 1 of our legislative session wrap-up, we gave you the rundown on a few of the education bills that were passed this session. Because there was too much to cover in just one blog post, here are some more of those key bills that will do valuable things for Oregon's students. 

Support Services for Oregon Promise Students (HB 4076B, sponsored by Rep. Johnson)

With Oregon Promise (SB 81) helping more students access and afford community college, it is critical that our state consider what’s needed when it comes to ensuring that Oregon students persist and graduate from college.

According to a 2014-15 report published by Oregon’s Secretary of State:

  • Only 24% of the Oregon community college students we analyzed completed an associate’s degree or certificate, putting Oregon’s education and workforce goals in jeopardy.
  • Oregon completion rates were even lower for black (15%), Hispanic (21%), American Indian (22%), Pacific Islander (16%), and multi-racial (19%) students.
  • Community colleges have introduced sound practices to improve student success, but they can reach less than one-quarter of the students in need.
  • Coordination, support, and analytic capacity are needed to improve student success and to assess proposed changes, such as outcome-based funding.

HB 4076B will help community college completion rates by requiring the Higher Education Coordinating Commission to distribute grants to all of the Oregon community colleges, in order to provide support services to Oregon Promise students.

Each community college must use the funding to provide support services at each campus of the community college. The support services must implement proven multiyear strategies that incorporate elements of student services and faculty and staff development to improve academic success or completion rates, and must provide at least all of the following:

  1.  A first-year experience for Oregon Promise students through a series of intentional, strategic interventions.
  2. A student success team to serve Oregon Promise students.
  3. Professional development for community college faculty and staff to enable the faculty and staff to provide intentional, strategic interventions for Oregon Promise students.

HB 4076B fiscal note: $1.6 million for the Higher Education Coordinating Commission to distribute to community colleges.

HB 4076B vote break down:

  • House: 52-Yes votes; 2-No votes; 4-Excused
  • Senate: 24-Yes votes; 2-No votes; 4-Excused

Network of Quality Teaching and Learning (HB 4033, sponsored by Rep. Frederick)

As Oregon’s student population grows and becomes more diverse, our educators and schools must evolve in order to meet students’ academic, cultural, and linguistic needs.

According to the Oregon Department of Education's 2015 report card:

“Oregon has made some progress in hiring and retaining a more racially and ethnically diverse set of teachers, but this progress has not kept pace with the increasing diversity of Oregon’s student population. Students of color now make up more than one-third of Oregon’s K-12 population.”

In order to help improve teacher training around culturally responsive practices, HB 4033 clarifies that the Network of Quality Teaching and Learning should be supporting the work of teacher preparation programs in providing and improving training around culturally responsive teaching methods and strategies for Oregon teachers.

HB 4033 fiscal note: Minimal.

HB 4033 vote break down:

  • House: 60-Yes votes; 0-No votes; 0-Excused
  • Senate: 25-Yes votes; 0-No votes; 5-Excused

English Language Learners (ELL) Reporting (SB 1564A, sponsored by Sen. Roblan)

Oregon’s ELL student population has grown to 57,153. The data from 2014-15 is eye-opening: our current education system is not serving our ELL students well.

  • Only 51% of ELL students graduate high school on time, compared to 75% of non-ELL students.
  • By the end of 8th grade, only 5% of ELL students met the standards in English Language Arts and math.
  • Just 12% of ELL students met the English Language Arts and math standards by the end of 4th grade.

We still have a lot of more important work to do. During the 2015 session, we worked with many parents, community leaders, educators, school board members, school administrators, advocates and lawmakers to unanimously pass HB 3499—90 to 0.

HB 3499 creates a system of supports and progressive interventions for districts identified as not meeting the needs of their ELL students; focuses on long-term strategies for helping ELL students move towards meeting the academic standards and English language proficiency; and directs the Oregon Department of Education to develop a uniform budget coding and reporting system.

SB 1564A is a minor technical fix to HB 3499. This new legislation shifts the annual ELL report preparation responsibilities from school districts to the Oregon Department of Education. It also requires the Oregon Department of Education to share a copy of the annual ELL report with school boards. That way, local districts have an opportunity to engage school leaders, parents, and community members in analyzing progress and work collectively to improve outcomes for ELL students. 

SB 1564A fiscal note: Minimal.

SB 1564A vote break down:

  • House: 60-Yes votes; 0-No votes; 0-Excused
  • Senate: 24-Yes votes; 3-No votes; 3-Excused

 

We're not done yet! There were several education bills this session, so we'll be going over the final few bills later this week. In case you missed it, see what bills we've already covered so far.

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