As the head of Stand for Children in Oregon, I’m lucky to meet people who are passionate about education from all over our state through the course of my work. From educators making Measure 98’s promise a reality, to parents seeing its positive impact on their kids; and from students experiencing brand new career paths and academic supports, to education advocates who simply want to see all of this progress continue, the same question arises time and again:
How can we make sure Measure 98 continues for years to come?
I hear it from concerned educators who are hesitant to making large investments with their current funds, for fear they won’t have more next year. I hear it from parents, afraid that the new opportunities their students now enjoy in career and technical education (CTE), dropout prevention, and college readiness could be gone tomorrow.
Regardless of who asks, my answer is always the same:
The future of Measure 98 will be determined by the people who are experiencing its impact right now. State representatives in Salem have the final say on how much money goes towards Measure 98, and they need to hear from everyone about the great impact its having for their constituents.
Measure 98 originally called for $294 million when it passed overwhelmingly at the ballot box. But at the close of the last legislative session, lawmakers only provided $170 million to fund it. That means that every bit of progress we’ve made over the last year – and every bit we will continue making into the next – is really just a down payment on the full promise of Measure 98. It also means we have to double our efforts to ensure we get to full funding during the next biennium.
That’s where you come in; it’s where educators at high schools across Oregon have tremendous influence; it’s where the experiences of our high school students can sway the votes of our politicians.
Lawmakers need to know about the doors Measure 98 has already opened. They need to see the exciting new career pathways it’s creating in our schools, and the proven dropout prevention strategies that its helping spread across our state. And the only way that will happen is if they hear from people like you!As it turns out, lawmakers are touring the state all summer hoping to hear about solutions to raise graduation rates. Their next stop is the Arts & Communication Magnet Academy in Beaverton on July 11th at 7:00 pm.
After that, there are three more opportunities to join the conversation:
- September 13th at 7:00 pm: Ridgeview High School in Redmond
- September 27th at 7:00 pm: President James Madison High School in Portland
- October 10th at 7:00 pm: Marshfield High School in Coos Bay
I’m proud to be one of the primary authors of Measure 98, and thrilled to see how these vital funds are already changing lives for the better. But the next chapter of Measure 98 will be written by the people who are closest to its impact. I can’t wait to see what we achieve together!