Strategic Pillar III: Invest Wisely In Education
Education Matters: State investments and policy changes to fund education and expand opportunities


Background

From education redesign to the 40-40-20 education achievement goal, OBA has a long history of supporting education funding and is committed to reforms and policies that will benefit Oregon’s youngest citizens and enrich our state by closing the achievement gap, creating more opportunities for Oregon students, and ensuring an educated workforce.
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Problems
Information from the Oregon State Department of Education reveals some troubling facts about Oregon students:

  • In 2011-12, nearly 28 percent of Oregon 3rd graders did not demonstrate proficiency in reading. Of under-served students, the percentage of 3rd graders who were not reading proficiently was 37 percent.
  • In 2011-12, only 21 percent of English Language Learners were reading at grade level in 5th grade.

 “Third grade students who are not reading at grade level are four times less likely to earn a high school diploma by age 19, and for students living in poverty, failing to meet this crucial benchmark makes them 13 times less likely to graduate.”
–American Educational Research Association study, 2011

An educated workforce is essential to a stable economic future. Unfortunately, Oregon’s high school graduation rate is the second worst in the nation, according to the U.S. Department of Education. In addition, state education funding has been declining.

Educational Attainment in Oregon 2010 Versus Goal

Solutions

State investments

K-3rd grade reading initiative: OBA supports the Pre K – 3rd grade reading
initiative that will ensure 95% of students in Oregon are reading at grade
level by the 3rd grade. A varied approach that includes full day kindergarten,
a research based intervention program, and wrap around services will be an
essential part of meeting this goal.

Full day kindergarten: Full day kindergarten helps close the achievement gap for English language learners, low income students and minority students. Research shows that investing in full day kindergarten reduces the number of students in need of expensive remediation in later years. Full day kindergarten also reduces delinquency, drug and alcohol abuse and lowers crime rates.

Workforce training: OBA supports funding workforce training programs such as: summer youth programs, internships, apprenticeships, incumbent worker training and on-the-job training.

Teacher quality: Revamped and revitalized quality educator programs will give schools the tools their teachers need and will result in increased achievement for our kids. OBA supports continuing investments in educator effectiveness through the Network for Quality Teaching & Learning that support better systems to recruit, train, develop, retain, and reward excellent teachers and school leaders. Oregon must ensure that every student has access to great teachers and every school has a great leader. These investments are critical to closing the achievement and opportunity gaps we face in our state. Educators that are supported and effective are essential to getting our 3rd graders reading at grade level, increasing high school graduation rates and, ultimately, achieving 40/40/20.

Early Childhood Education: OBA supports building on Oregon’s
investments in high quality early learning to serve more at-risk children
age 0-5. OBA also supports better alignment of early childhood and
K-12 assessment, curriculum, and instruction to more swiftly close
achievement gaps and create a more seamless system for kids and families.

Accelerated learning: OBA supports increasing opportunities for Oregon students to earn dual credits and learn at an accelerated pace.

Connecting education to careers: The Oregon Business Association is working with stakeholders to develop a new vision for delivery that breaks the walls between schools and “out of school” providers; K-12, community college and universities; education and employers; and above all academic and applied learning.  The result from the student perspective will be that the education and training experience will be customized, self-paced and the boundaries for learning will be limitless.

Policy change

Instructional hours: OBA supports working with education coalition partners to ensure all of Oregon’s students have access to Oregon’s minimum standard of instructional and credit hours. In addition, supports advocating for instructional hours and school year length standards that are equivalent to the highest performing nations in the world.