Oregon Students Deserve Education Reforms

Oregon Students Deserve Education Reforms, Accountability
Oregon Lags Behind in High School Performance, Student Retention, Teacher Development.
"Corbett is the highest-ranked Oregon high school and the only one to break into the top 300 in Newsweek 's 'America's Top Public High Schools.' (Local Briefs: Newsweek Ranks High School No. 84, The Oregonian, Casey Parks, 5/23/2008)
"Oregon's high school dropout rate grew worse in 2007, as 8,338 teens quit school before graduation, the state reported Wednesday. The state pegged the graduation rate at 81 percent for the class of 2007, meaning that 19 percent of students who started high school in Oregon dropped out over their four years of high school." (Oregon Dropout Rate Climbs, The Oregonian, Betsy Hammond, 4/10/2008)
"In a recent national survey of teacher satisfaction with professional development, Oregon ranks among the bottom 10 states. Just as troubling, Oregon was the only state to receive an "F" for efforts to improve teaching in this year's state-by-state report by the national newspaper Education Week." (Teacher Training Worth an A, The Oregonian, 2/12/2008)
Republicans Support Reforms and Accountability, Democrats Support the Status Quo
Improving Teacher Training and Professional Development Republicans introduced SB 1097 during the 2008 special session. The legislation would have directed the Department of Education to adopt state-wide standards for professional development courses and develop a network that makes courses, resources and research available to all educators in the state. Democrats killed SB 1097 in the Senate Education and General Government Committee.
Require Mandatory Performance Auditing to Improve Student Achievement
In 2007, Republicans supported a bill proposed by the nonpartisan Chalkboard Project to require regular performance audits of Oregon school districts and to promote best financial practices. By a partisan vote on June 19, 2007, House Democrats voted to bury the bill in the House Education Committee.
Putting More Dollars for the Classroom
Republicans also proposed HB 3427 to require that 65 cents of every education dollar be spent on classroom instruction. Democrats on the House Education Committee refused to hear the bill, and Democrats killed HB 3427 on a partisan vote on June 19, 2007. 
Funding Schools First
Republicans proposed a constitutional amendment requiring the Legislature to pass K-12 education funding by the 81st day of the regular session. House Joint Resolution 21 would have made education the first priority for state tax dollars, and would have better enabled school districts to pass their own budgets before the fiscal year begins in July. Democrats used a partisan vote on March 29, 2007 to kill the proposal and keep it locked in committee.
Ending Secret Deals that Protect Abusive Teachers
During the 2008 special session, House Republicans proposed cracking down on practices that allow abusive school teachers to be re-hired in different school districts. By a partisan vote on February 19, 2008, House Democrats rejected suspending rules to allow the emergency legislation to be introduced during the February session.


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