Chalkboard Project applauds the Oregon legislature for taking positive steps toward supporting great teachers and principals: for making sure they have the supports they need to meet the demands of today’s classroom, and helping students succeed.
Two important policy changes, under Senate Bills 78 and 83, will help shape the future of Oregon’s pipeline of new teachers and ensure we attract, prepare, and retain high-quality teachers. Both bills are a direct result of lessons learned from TeachOregon, a pilot project co-funded by Chalkboard Project and the state’s Network for Quality Teaching and Learning. Senate Bill 78 will help all Oregon teacher preparation programs become nationally accredited by 2022 and Senate Bill 83 will strengthen the student teaching experience by requiring training for cooperating teachers (the classroom teachers who guide and mentor teacher candidates). “The legislature showed solid support for teacher education by assisting educator preparation programs through these two bills,” says Randy Hitz, Dean of Portland State University’s School of Education.
“These bills reflect input and recommendations from the Distinguished Educators Council and other educators in the field,” adds Sue Hildick, president of Chalkboard Project, “They will directly impact the readiness and quality of our new teachers as they step into the classroom to teach our children.”
The legislature approved other Chalkboard policy priorities as well.
HB 2186 will ensure all public school teachers, whether in traditional or charter schools, are evaluated by the same standards and based on the same guidelines.
HB 5016 will require the Oregon Department of Education to reach out to school districts that report low graduation rates to verify their data, and to report back to the legislature on its efforts to provide training to all registrars statewide to ensure quality data reporting.
HB 3499 will improve support for English language learners in elementary and secondary education through a comprehensive reform package, including $12.5 million in resources.
Legislators and the governor also showed leadership in providing new and continued funding for key Chalkboard priorities through the Network for Quality Teaching and Learning, the state-funded initiative dedicated to building a systemic and sustainable approach to educator quality. With teachers the number one in-school factor that drives student achievement, this funding will support educators throughout their professional career and yield stronger results for students.
$16 million for the School District Collaboration Fund to continue to meet the growing demand for participation among districts (also known as the CLASS project).
$10 million for the expansion of the Beginning Teacher and Administrator Mentoring Program to ensure more new teachers are supported through high-quality mentoring.
$2 million for job-embedded professional development around assessment literacy.
$2 million for improved school and district leadership.
$1.5 million to continue TeachOregon’s teacher preparation pilot projects.
Oregon educators are grateful for the investment and support. “Thank you for financially supporting and prioritizing educational programs through the Network,” says Don Grotting, superintendent of the David Douglas School District, “This investment has provided the foundation to develop and support professional development, leadership, improved instructional practice, and true collaboration and teamwork among teachers, principals, district administrators, and our unions.” Krista Parent, superintendent of the South Lane School District adds, “These funding priorities will continue to support the great work of raising academic achievement for ALL students in districts throughout Oregon. The School District Collaboration Fund and the new school leadership programs are moving the dial and closing the gap in many districts.”
“We are very pleased with the legislative results,” concludes Hildick. “There is still much work to be done to build a world-class education system in Oregon, and this legislative session gives us hope that Governor Brown and our policymakers will continue to invest in our kids’ future by keeping education a priority this biennium and beyond.”