Governor Kitzhaber released his proposed 2015-17 budget this morning, and we want to thank the governor for his leadership and commitment to strengthening our education system.
We especially want to commend the governor for his recognition of effective teachers and leaders as one of the most significant strategies by which to improve student achievement. The governor’s continued effort to support the Network for Quality Teaching and Learning is critical to the development and support of teachers and leaders by building better systems across the state to recruit, train, develop, retain, and reward excellent educators. The Network was established to make investments in teachers and leaders that are evidence based, research driven and impact the full continuum of a professional educator career pathway.
The governor’s budget includes the statutory funding set aside for the Network at $37.4 million, which includes funding for the expansion of the School District Collaboration Fund, K-12 educator mentoring, and school leadership efforts. We support this ongoing investment in our educators. But we believe additional funds must be added so that we can ensure continued funding for improved teacher preparation through the TeachOregon project and the implementation of new state standards and evaluations of Oregon’s educators and administrators. We recently joined Stand for Children and the Oregon Business Association is sending a letter to the governor, urging him to fully fund the Network with at least $55 million.
The governor’s budget includes many important and worthy priorities, but investing in our educators is the strongest strategy we have to improve education in Oregon.
Every Oregon student deserves a great teacher. If we are to deliver on the promise of a high-quality education for all of our students, there must be a strong focus and investment in our educators. While this may not be a new demand or strategy, it is without a doubt, the most important factor to ensuring the success of every student, and the success and vitality of our state.