15-Point Action Plan

The Chalkboard Project was conceived with the belief that education is foundational to the quality of life in Oregon.

After spending its first two year gathering citizen input and conducting extensive research, a fifteen point action plan was developed to guide the work of the organization. Those fifteen points were broken down in to 3 larger topic: educator quality, funding and accountability, and student success.

Although Chalkboard has decided that the most significant potential to improve student achievement in the next five years is to strengthen the effectiveness of the classroom teacher the initial 15 point plan from 2004 still plays an important role in our organization.

You can read the position papers on each of the 15 action points below:

Attain and Retain Quality Educators- We need to make sure there’s a great teacher in every classroom and a great principal in every school. It should be easier to keep the good teachers and to remove those who are not performing.

  • Generate recommendations on the creation of new standards to license teachers (Issue #1A)
  • Alternative licensure (Issue #1B)
  • Reinstitute Oregon’s beginning teacher mentor program (Issue #1C)
  • High-quality professional development align with the needs of schools, and the requirements for continuing licensure (Issue #1D)
  • Revise administrator licensing standards (Issue #1E)
  • Review and improve methods are for evaluating, improving and removing teachers and principals (Issue #1F)
  • Propose an alternative model for compensating teachers and principals based on rewarding performance that improves student learning (Issue #1G)

School Funding and Budget Accountability- Oregon has struggled with questions of funding and accountability for years with little progress. Half of the state’s General Fund is spent on K-12 education, so the state needs to be engaged in changes that will produce results.

Involve Parents and Communities- We need more parents and community members to involved in their schools. This is tough, with some complicated barriers. But if we want to see stronger schools and greater achievement, we will have to get more people involved.

Understand School Budgets – Oregonians pay for our public schools. It should be easy to see how that money is spent. Chalkboard supports efforts to create a new, transparent budget that is easier to understand.

Effectively Use Transportation Dollars- Eliminate transportation-matching grants and distribute a fixed block grant to schools, based on program efficiencies.

Create Centralized System for Online Purchasing- Oregon Department of Education (ODE) and the Oregon Department of Administrative Services should combine the buying power of schools across the state. It’s a simple fact that when you buy in bulk you spend less. Online purchasing also increases efficiency.

Optimize Federal Funds for Special Education – The Oregon Department of Education and the Department of Human Services need to carefully review the state’s Medicaid contract with the federal government to make sure it lists all Medicaid-eligible special education services, in order that our schools receive maximum federal reimbursement.

Create a Statewide Student Data System- By consolidating individual district student tracking systems and payroll systems into a single, statewide system, the state will have more education dollars to spend in the classrooms.

Conduct Community Audits- ODE should work with the Secretary of State’s office to define best business practices, and require a performance audit of Oregon school districts that are not making adequate academic progress.

Reduce Class Size for K-1- Oregon must do a better job of teaching reading. To do this more effectively, we need smaller class sizes in kindergarten and first grade. ODE should pilot a program to reduce K-1 class size, while also tailoring professional development to help teachers take full advantage of the lower class sizes to improve instruction.

Work One-to-One with Early Readers- Early reading skills are crucial to student success. Districts and businesses must work together to support volunteer programs with time and money so that all K-3 students who are reading below grade level get individual help.

Take Attendance More Seriously- Attendance reform efforts should begin by creating a uniform way of measuring attendance, so attendance patters can be compared across schools, and problems and successes can be identified. Next, the state should move to a system where schools are funded based on attendance, not enrollment.

Create Safe and Respectful Learning Environments- The State Board of Education should direct school districts to expand existing standards on student conduct and discipline to include standards for civility and to implement a civility plan.

Student Health- ODE should require that all school districts provide vigorous physical activity and comply with nutritional standards for school meals.

Expand Public School Choices- The Legislature and Oregon Department of Education (ODE) should seriously explore statewide open enrollment, making it easier for all Oregon students to choose from any regular, charter or magnet school, or special emphasis program around the state.