New Oregon Education Legislation Focuses on Improving Early Childhood Services

Judy Hartnett's picture
Thursday, February 2, 2012

The education goal set by the Oregon legislature in 2011 is clear.

But the way the goal is to be reached is still cloudy and will come into sharper focus during this year's legislative session, which begins today.

That is the message the 250 people who attended a public outreach meeting with four members of the new Oregon Education Investment Board Monday night at Blue Mountain Community College received.

The 13-member Oregon Education Investment Board, created by the legislature in 2011 and chaired by Gov. John Kitzhaber, is pursuing a goal of 40-40-20.

The board's aim is by 2025 to have 40 percent of Oregon high school graduates going on to earn degrees from four-year universities, another 40 percent receiving degrees from community colleges or vocational schools and the remaining 20 percent to at least have a high school diploma.

The new board, which will oversee all education in Oregon from pre-kindergarten through higher education, has developed proposed legislation to help Oregon reach the 40-40-20 goal.

The two main areas of this proposed legislation focus on streamlining and improving early childhood services to help more children arrive in kindergarten ready for school, and the establishment of achievement compacts.

Schools would be required to meet student achievement standards as part of the compacts. The proposed compacts, if approved by the Legislature, would go into effect if Oregon receives a waiver from adequate yearly progress standards now mandated under the federal No Child Left Behind law.

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