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February 21, 2022 - Week 3

Anne Nesse, Education Portfolio Chair


SB 1545-A Future Ready Oregon, will put investments in education for careers in necessary jobs. This bill from the Governor’s office establishes grant programs in the Higher Education Coordinating Commission to fund workforce development activities that aim to increase access for priority populations to training opportunities in [construction] technology, health care and manufacturing and to workforce development services and benefits.

The bill moved out of the Labor and Business Committee Friday, 2/11.

SB 1583 limiting unnecessary student testing, passed in the Senate, and is now in W&Ms.

SB 1521 (which LWV testified on), to provide greater security in District Superintendent’s contracts, especially when following State and Federal law, passed in the Senate, but is awaiting House approval. There is some controversy about local control of Superintendent’s contracts in the amendments that could not be solved this week, concerning 6 month or 12 month notice for termination without cause. It is apparent that the quality and diversity of candidates for Superintendents of Instruction will be hard to maintain without definitive contracts that respect applicant’s abilities. This bill will resume discussion Tuesday, 2/22, in House Education.

All bills directly relating to student education we are watching from last week’s Legislative Report are in J W&Ms SubCommittee on Education. While many bills await a fiscal, this J W&Ms SubCommittee on Education listened to a report on 2/14 from the Early Learning Division on the proposed expansion of Pre-School Promise, explaining $38 Million more are needed to expand this program. The SubCommittee on 2/16 listened to a report from the Farm to School Program, concerning learning awarded by grants, about agriculture, food, health, and nutrition. This program has grown from $4.5 million when it started, up to $10.2 million today.

Senate Education on 2/15, listened to a report on Outdoor School by Dr. Christopher Elliot from OSU, and a report on Oregon ASK, a national initiative, successful at increasing equity, by increasing before and after school program availability, especially to families who would not normally have extra funds to participate.

Senator Dembrow, Chair Senate Education, hopes the Legislature this year can increase funding for summer learning programs. ODE reported it is their intent to shift focus from “remedial learning” to “unfinished learning”. We are using as much community participation as we can, as well as hands-on activities geared to fun, and include field study and science. Programs hopefully can expand with a funding increase this year. All agreed that greater equity in inclusive participation is crucial, so all Oregon students are less likely to fall behind during summer months.

If you have questions, or would like to help on a particular issue, please contact annenessevolunteerlwvor@gmail.com.