February 14, 2022 - Week 2
Education Portfolio, Anne Nesse
The Education Portfolio is watching many bills we supported in testimony last week:
SB 1521 related to termination of superintendents by school boards without cause, when they are obeying federal and state law. It was voted to the floor in Senate Education, 2/8 with a do pass recommendation.
HB 4124 -1 is a data collection bill to allow ODE to work on a long term study and survey of best practices of student assessment testing throughout our state. Voted to W&Ms with a do pass, with bipartisan support in House Education 2/10.
HB 4115-1 is transparency of government bill, not a debate on fossil fuel usage, that the education portfolio co-signed with climate emergency profile LWV. This bill helps the electorate become more educated on the percentage of our State Treasury funds which are invested in fossil fuels that are climate-risk related. The bill is still in a work session in the Revenue Committee for either Friday, 2/11, or may still be referred for consideration until it receives one more clarifying amendment from LC.
We are also watching education bills written to help solve the now severe staffing crisis we are in, for all areas of educational employment, and in all geographical areas of our state.
HB 4005-2 is a bill to secure funding for the Department of Early Learning and Care (DELC) and to delay some of the original time frame in the formation of the new agency, independent of ODE. The fiscal in this bill will hopefully go to increasing child care opportunities throughout the state. Voted with a do pass recommendation to W&Ms 2/10.
HB 4030 -3 a bill based on the current workforce shortage, aimed at retaining current employees and increasing the availability, and enlarging the diversity of the workforce. Voted to House Rules, with bipartisan support, needing fiscal to go to W&Ms.
SB 1583 supported by testimony from a large number of educators, directs ODE to ensure that standardized summative assessments are administered to a minimum extent practicable. Please note that the survey of best practices assessments in HB 4124 (listed above that LWVOR supported), will not be completed for a number of years. This bill directs the department to apply for a waiver of federal state assessment requirements as an emergency bill, effective immediately on passage. It was voted to the floor 2/10 in Senate Education with a do-pass recommendation.
We are also watching education bills concerning equity and public safety:
SB 1578 -2 concerning children and parents having increased access to the ODE, when they feel their children’s rights to an equitable education are jeopardized by a school or district. It was voted to the floor in Senate Education 2/10 with a do-pass recommendation.
SB 1590 -1 directs ODE to develop a statewide long term strategic plan for computer science education with the STEM investment council. Voted to the floor with bipartisan support, with a do- pass recommendation.
SB 1572 -2 a bill to require institutions of higher education in Oregon to develop specified policies to combat sexual harassment and violence on campus. It was voted to the floor 2/10 with do-pass recommendation, then to W&Ms.
SB 1539 is a pilot project to help homeless youth in different parts of the state by funding their school districts. It was voted to the floor and finance and revenue for approval.
HB 4029 -3 The -3 amendment was approved by the majority, as it assured greater equity throughout the state in training opportunities for school board members. This bill will help to assure regular school board training requirements that will be funded and managed by the ODE. It was voted to W&M with a do pass recommendation 2/10.
The House Education Committee heard testimony on 2/8 from Colt Gill, Director of the Oregon Department of Education on what it means to pass legislation that is more equitable in education. He presented a slide show, with statistics, that shows the many ways Oregon schools have changed since the 70’s, when he was a 2nd grader. When he was in the 2nd grade, in Springfield, a typical district, there were only 20 students in his classroom. Today our public school system has vastly changed. There are commonly 28-30 students in our classrooms, sometimes more. Today we are collectively in Oregon, 40% people of color. And a class make up that is 70%-100% free and reduced lunch. One half of our students are from families who are economically challenged, with 4% experiencing homelessness sometime during the school year. 17% have educational disabilities, 11% are bilingual (with 15 different languages represented). 15% transfer to 2 different schools during the school year, and we have a chronic absentee rate of 18%. The conclusion being, represented in the statistics, that the public school teacher and students, face many more financial and educational challenges than in the past. The definition of equity in education then means trying to solve these many problems of students, parents, and staff, that put stress on all those employees who are directly involved with this educational process.
We are also following these bills that demonstrate the principles of equity in education:
HB 4112 funds the Ethnic Studies bill passed in 2017, and builds our curriculum and training for this. Voted to W&Ms with a do-pass recommendation. This will be the first curriculum of its kind in the nation.
HB 4099 creates racial equity and justice collaborative of young people, who can help inform the government of Oregon. Workgroup sunsets in 2023. Voted to W&M with a do-pass recommendation.
If you have any questions, or would like to help lobby on a particular issue in the future, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.