Kitzhaber education plan

4/6/2011: Gov Kitzhaber’s is out selling his “one board to bind them” education plan. The fact that his chief adviser is Springfield Schools head Nancy Golden is a good sign – she’s very impressive. Big step up from Goldschmidt’s Dr. Pernsteiner – whoops, sorry, that’s Mr. Pernsteiner. The RG has a story but their website is down and there’s no way I’m going out to the drive to get the paper copy in this rain. Kimberly Melton in the Oregonian:

Senate Bill 909 creates a 13-member investment board appointed by the governor. The board would make recommendations on how to invest state education money. Kitzhaber says Oregon needs to target its money to ensure that children show up to kindergarten and first grade ready to read and that students who are leaving high school are college ready and have an easy transition to post-secondary education.

… representatives from some of the state’s key education groups disputed Kitzhaber’s claim that Oregon’s education system is broken. It’s not broken, they said during a packed hearing Tuesday afternoon, just underfunded.

“We may have a fragmented system, a competing system, but it’s not a broken system,” said David Rives, president of the American Federation of Teachers of Oregon.

And Bonnie Luisi, president of the Oregon School Employees Association, testified in support of the bill but said the state’s “drastic underfunding” of education is the “single greatest barrier to the improvement of quality and access.”

The state’s biggest education group, the Oregon Education Association, is neutral on the bill.

Follow the bill here, or all higher ed legislation here. Before you get too excited about this bill and what it would mean for the UO Freedom Forces, read Ms Melton’s other story here, on how dysfunctional the House education committee is:

Some are calling it a meltdown. Others say it’s just a bump in the road. But no matter how you characterize it, Oregon’s evenly-split House Education Committee is struggling to move legislation as the co-chairs haggle over individual bills, what should make the agenda and even who should hold the gavel.

The ongoing rift has frustrated legislators and stalled some big-ticket education bills on higher education, online learning, student transportation and charter schools. And now, it’s forcing House leaders to start working around the committee.

“We haven’t been nearly as productive as we should or could be,” said Rep. Michael Dembrow, D-Portland, a member of the committee. “There are bills hanging out there that people want to see move to the floor. But they’re getting caught up in other political agendas and time is running out.”

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