Everyone knows that Oregon School districts are struggling financially. Federal funds have been cut and state resources are basically flat while our costs continue to go up. The choices are all bad…cutting staff, programs, and lopping of days are becoming all too common.
Despite the lack of resources, state mandates, and expectations have been raised. Here is a snapshot of what’s coming.
· Graduation requirements – Students who want to graduate this year must meet the state benchmarks for reading. Next year writing is added and in 2014 math standards will also apply. Students must pass 3 years of math higher than Algebra I. Writing will be the biggest challenge to Oregon students.
· Common Core Curriculum Standards – The state has adopted these new standards in English and Math. The big push is for all states to set the bar for all grades from 3rd up. These are very rigorous and will require additional books and materials. In addition, teachers will need to be focused to make sure all concepts are covered before the tests.
The good news about this is that most of the states have signed on so we can truly compare our students with our neighbors.
40-40-20 by 2025
Beginning this spring, school district, community colleges and universities across Oregon will work with local students, families, staff and communities to set targets to improve student success in the 2012-13 school year and establish the trajectories needed to achieve the state’s high school and college completion goal (known as the 40/40/20 goal) by the year 2025.
The goal declares that by 2025, Oregon will ensure that:
40 percent of adults will have earned a bachelor’s degree or higher.
40 percent of adults will have earned an associate degree or post-secondary credential.
20 percent of adults will have earned a high school diploma, modified high school diploma or the equivalent of a high school diploma.
In March of 2012, the Oregon Education Investment Board formally adopted partnership agreements called “achievement compacts” between the state and each local Oregon K-12 district, community college and university.
With the compacts, educators across Oregon will focus on key indicators that students are on track to graduate from high school and to go on to success in college or career.
Each compact challenges local educators to make connections beyond their own direct responsibility. School districts will be asked to work with preschools, families and childcare providers to make sure students enter kindergarten ready to learn. Districts will also be expected to track-and increase-the number of students earning college credit before high school graduation and those students continuing on to post-secondary education or training.
Community colleges will report how many students are “dual-enrolled”-earning credit in high school and community college, and how many community college students transfer to a four-year college or university. Universities will set targets for their graduates’ employment in Oregon and employer and alumni satisfaction.
Educator’s challenges are going to be daunting, but providing the very best teaching and program opportunities has got to be our focus. Our society’s future will depend on the work we are doing right now.