Parent-teacher conferences. Tutoring. Bake sale fundraisers. School volunteers.
There are a lot of ways you can influence a child’s education. One of the biggest ways – and one that most people don’t think about – is to vote. Casting your ballot in local, state, and national elections is an important way to have a say in the decisions that impact children in Oregon. Legislators and other state officials can make or break policies that directly affect the educational outcomes for students.
Over the last two legislative sessions, we tracked how lawmakers voted on 11 priority education bills that will affect Oregon students. In a handful of ways, Oregon children won big: state lawmakers passed comprehensive English language learner (ELL) reform, they expanded access to higher education, and they funded full-day kindergarten statewide. These important votes will help more children achieve their dreams.
Unfortunately, Oregon also became the first state to pass a bill that allows for widespread opt-out of tests, a move that enables schools to mask achievement gaps and prevents us from getting an objective, comparable measure of student performance across various demographics and regions.
We need bold leaders who will stick up for kids at the state and local level. That’s why it’s so important to pay close attention to who you vote for – our students and our schools depend on it. From school board members on up to state officials, the following decisions rest in their hands:
- Resource allocation for schools
- Funding for improvement programs (including early literacy, ELL, career and college prep, attendance, and more)
- Funding spent per child
- Length of school days and school year
- School staffing (including teachers, support staff, counselors, and more)
- Access to early childhood education
- Extracurricular programs
- Implementation of new and existing education policies
Every student deserves an equal shot at a successful future. You can broaden your impact and help many kids in Oregon by voting in every election.