As Chalkboard aims to strengthen education across the state, in addition to pilot project and research, we also spend time at the state-level advocating for policy changes that would benefit students throughout Oregon. Our policy agenda is always focused on raising student achievement and stretches across the areas of funding, quality, and accountability.
Below are summaries of our current and past advocacy efforts.
The 2013 legislative session should be remembered as a great session for Oregon’s teachers and students. Oregon now has a statewide system that encompasses supports for educators at every stage of their careers. HB 3233 created the Network for Quality Teaching & Learning and HB 2506 funded the Network at $33 million. An additional one-time investment of $12.8 million brought the total to nearly $46 million. The following Chalkboard priorities are included in the Network:
Chalkboard is working hard to encourage Oregon to focus its efforts and limited resources on proven practices that can benefit all students and all teachers in every classroom. Chalkboard’s top priorities for the session are:
- School District Collaboration Fund
- Oregon Beginning Teacher and Administrator Mentoring Program
- New Models of Teacher Preparation
- Implementation of new performance evaluation systems required by legislation passed in 2011 (SB 290)
- Professional Development Clearinghouse
To see the full summary of our successes from the session, take a look at the 2013 Legislative Wrap Up.
The 2012 Oregon legislative session was fast and furious. We were pleased to see the Governor’s education initiatives receive legislative support, particularly Senate Bill 1581. SB 1581 creates achievement compacts between educational entities, such as school districts, and the state. The promise of achievement compacts is that expectations will be very clear and strategies for achieving our education goals will be transparent and actionable. We believe if implemented with rigor and focus, teachers, parents and children will have a much better lens to measure the results of a public education in this state.
We are also grateful for the Governor’s support to refine Senate Bill 290, which passed last session. In a letter to the Oregon Board of Education, the Governor describes the importance of robust educator evaluation systems.
Bold change starts with bold leadership. We can all thank Oregon’s legislators and Governor Kitzhaber for working together and taking action. And that same spirit of collaboration and forward thinking drove the efforts of parents, business leaders, and many superintendents across the state in their advocacy for Oregon’s educators. It’s that kind of teamwork that will put Oregon schools among the nation’s best.
A great future relies on great schools. That’s why the Oregon Legislature recently approved the establishment of a School District Collaboration Fund. The fund will provide grants to school districts to design and implement teacher-led initiatives that improve student achievement. It’s a bottom-up strategy for improving schools across the state by empowering teachers to do their best work in the classroom, and rewarding them for excellence.
The School District Collaboration Fund will provide grants to school districts that voluntarily pilot locally-designed initiatives that aim to improve student achievement by addressing:
- new career paths,
- professional development strategies,
- evaluation processes,
- and teacher-designed compensation systems.
Every child deserves a great education. That’s why the Oregon Legislature recently approved the establishment of statewide performance standards for teachers and administrators. Providing educators with clear goals and meaningful feedback will help make Oregon’s schools more effective, and Oregon’s kids more successful.
SB 290 directs the State Board of Education to develop, along with the Teacher Standards and Practices Commission stakeholders, statewide teacher and administrator performance standards. Districts will revamp their performance evaluation systems to align with the standards and include multiple measures of student achievement.
Every child deserves a great teacher. And every teacher deserves the opportunity to be great. That’s why the Oregon Legislature recently approved continued funding of the Oregon Mentoring Program. The program pairs new teachers and administrators with experienced mentors, and it has a track record of making educators, and their students, more successful.
The Oregon Mentoring Program received $4.5 million this session to continue to provide high quality mentoring to new teachers and administrators. Learn more about the program.
Read legislative testimony from Chalkboard board member & Oregon Education Investment Team member Dr. Orcilia Zuniga Forbes to learn more about the goals behind these bills.
Support for the Oregon Mentoring Program
Chalkboard helped secure $5.07 million in renewed funding for the Oregon Mentoring Program. This allowed the program to continue pairing experienced educators with beginning ones in an effort to raise student achievement and decrease teacher turnover.
Learn more about the Oregon Mentoring Program
Online Professional Development Clearinghouse
Chalkboard was a supporter of SB 443, which secured a professional development clearinghouse for educators. The bill funded an easy-access, web-based resource listing high-quality professional development programs for teachers, professional development coursework standards, and other common-sense approaches to improve the professional practice of teaching. The bill passed into law with the support of both Chalkboard and OEA, with an allocation of $130,000.
The site, www.OregonTeacherQuality.com, launched in April 2011.
More Efficient Business Reviews for Schools
Chalkboard advocated for most cost-effective business review for schools wishing to evaluate their food service, transportation, financial management and other practices. As a result, $800,000 which was to be allocated for state-provided reviews with eliminated from the state spending plan, and buisness evaluations are now being offered by non-governmental and private groups. The nonprofit Oregon Association of School Business Officials (OASBO), for example, provides such voluntary review for under $15,000 to school districts. Chalkboard funded pilot reviews in six school districts to underscore the value of such public-private partnerships.
In the 2007 session, Chalkboard advocated for a number of policies and was successful in helping to: Restart and revise the state level mentoring program for new teacher and administrators; Call on the Oregon Department of Education to conduct a study of school transportation to look for greater efficiencies; Implement state level reviews of district business practices in order to identify efficiencies and share best practices.
You can also download our 2007 and 2009 Legislative Report Cards to learn more about where progress was or was not made in those sessions.