We are a movement of students, parents, educators, community leaders and education advocates focused on education equity and racial justice. We will not rest until every student in Oregon has equitable access to a world-class education that prepares them for life beyond the classroom, whether their path leads to college, a career, or both.
Since passing Measure 98 just a few years ago, we have put over $750 million into high schools across the state. Those resources led to a 40% increase in career-related programs offered throughout the state. Most importantly, we’ve seen a record 6-point increase in graduation rates, with students of color and low-income students making the biggest gains.
Measure 98, or High School Success, is an equity-driven grassroots solution to raise Oregon’s graduation rates.
Stand for Children Oregon led the charge to draft Measure 98, campaigned to pass it overwhelmingly at the ballot box in 2016, pressured lawmakers to support it unanimously in Salem, and ultimately helped secure over $170 million in its first year to bring it to life. As a result, high school students in every single school district in Oregon have new or expanded opportunities in Career and Technical Education (CTE), college readiness, and dropout prevention strategies.
More than 2,000 additional students have graduated since Measure 98 was funded. That’s 2,000 lives that are on a different trajectory because of the work we’ve done together.
Still, in the years since passing Measure 98, the COVID-19 pandemic has been a gap-widener. Nearly all students experienced learning loss, with historically marginalized students losing significantly more ground, putting high school graduation rates at risk. Measure 98 requires a focus on dropout prevention and centers ninth graders’ success as a critical component of this work. With your support, we’re working to close those gaps and make our system more equitable for all students.
Read on to learn more about our work in 2021.
ADVANCING RACIAL JUSTICE
In 2021, we helped advocate to clear a path for kids to expunge their records so that they can move forward and lead a life that has options. Senate Bill 397 will simplify the expungement process and will improve access to housing, employment, and higher education for those previously trapped in a system that wasn’t serving them.
We also lent our support to other organizations with a focus on passing legislation that removed crippling fees imposed by the youth justice system. These fees caused undo harm to the largely Black and brown kids and parents who were charged to pay them. Senate Bill 817 will eliminate fees, court costs, and associated fines and will apply retroactively, removing a massive burden that was keeping Oregon families from thriving.
A special thanks to Stand Lane County member Siobhan Cancél for bringing the impact of these fees to life by sharing her story with the Oregon legislature. Her story was picked up by multiple news outlets across the country, illustrating the power of standing up and sharing your story.
EQUITY IN LAYOFFS WITH HOUSE BILL 2001
We believe our educators should better reflect the students they serve. Districts across the state have been working to diversity their teaching staff, but with only 10 percent of our educators being culturally and linguistically diverse compared to 40 percent of students, we have a long way to go.
That’s why we set out to pass a bill that would protect diverse teachers in the unfortunate event of district-wide layoffs, and we hope this new law is never triggered. We are proud to say that House Bill 2001 passed with support from over 80 percent of the legislature. This new law will allow Oregon to continue making critical progress towards diversity and representation in our schools.
Special thanks to Governor-elect Tina Kotek for sponsoring this bill and shepherding its passage.
SCHOOL BOARD CANDIDATES ELECTED
This past Spring, we worked tirelessly to ensure local school boards better reflect the values and needs of the communities they are elected to serve. As you may have read, school boards have become the latest battleground for equity in education. Representation matters.
That’s why we pitched in and helped elect more than 40 champions for children to school boards statewide, 2/3 of whom are people of color. In fact, we elected a slate of candidates in Salem-Keizer who are already changing the dynamics of the district. In a 4-2 vote, the four candidates we endorsed and supported voted YES on a resolution to commit to equity and antiracism, acknowledging the experiences of students of color and addressing systemic inequalities.
AND WE AREN’T DONE
We’re continuing to advocate for ways to make Oregon schools more equitable and racially just. Will you join us? Learn more about how to get involved in our work.