Policy & Advocacy
Outside of the home and classroom, strong education policy is critical to an excellent education system. Education policies at the district and state level dictate the length of the school year, funding distribution, curriculum, and much more. Here’s a sample of some of our most recent wins for kids:
Local Policy Highlights
- Reynolds School District: In 2014, parents in Reynolds successfully advocated for the expansion of full-day kindergarten to every elementary school in the district, doubling the number of kids with access to the program. They also successfully got the district to create a new student report card that better informs English learner families about student progress.
- Eugene School District 4J: The Lane County chapter successfully advocated that the district not cut BEST, a quality after-school program that supports the students and families who need it most. The chapter continued to fight for kids in their district when the district would not fund a middle school mentor program for at-risk students. They proved their commitment to these kids by running the program on a 100-percent volunteer basis, and expanding from two to seven schools.
State Policy Highlights
- English Language Learners. HB 3499, which passed unanimously in both chambers of the legislature, represents a significant accomplishment for Stand parent leaders and members of the advocacy community who have been working for years to improve educational programs for students learning English in our K-12 system. This bill improves accountability for the financial resources in ELL programs and provides extra support to those districts struggling the most to produce successful outcomes. It will allow the Oregon Department of Education to take over control of the .5 extra funding weight per ELL student in districts that are consistently underperforming for their these students. HB 5016 provides a carve-out in the school fund of $12 million to implement these improvements. The Oregon Alliance for Education Equity, Rep. Gallegos and Rep. Whisnant were key partners on this bill.
- Instructional Hour Requirements: Several of our members testified before the Oregon Board of Education, and their voices were heard. In 2015, the Oregon Board of Education voted to strengthen the rules on instructional time. Among the changes, one highlight is that at least 80 percent of students in each school must have a full schedule.
- Poverty Calculation: Stand worked with the Oregon Department of Education (ODE) on legislation to accurately determine the number of students who live in poverty and attend public school in Oregon. Until 2013, Oregon’s outdated statute required ODE to use data from the 2000 U.S. Census to determine the number of students living in poverty who will receive additional funding under the State School Fund (SSF) formula.
- Limiting Standardized Assessments: Sen. Suzanne Bonamici and Stand for Children worked closely with the Oregon Department of Education (ODE) to craft SB 801 to ensure that students who are proficient on their first attempt do not have to retake the statewide test. Thanks to this new law, Oregon students took 137,000 fewer standardized tests in 2012.