The Oregon Education Investment Board (OEIB) is chaired by Governor Kate Brown and was created in 2011 to oversee an effort to build a unified system for investing in and delivering public education from birth to college & career. We envision a system that links all segments of the educational experience together to ensure each student is poised for a promising future.
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Two reports were released this week assessing the state of education nationally: the State of Preschool and Building a Grad Nation and I wanted to take a moment to share my reflections on both.
The State of Pre-School report was created by the National Institute of Early Education research and highlights Oregon’s commitment to delivering high quality pre-school. In fact, the report showed that Oregon’s preschool programs had improved meeting 9 of 10 benchmarks for quality—the most ever for our state. The component of Oregon preschool cited for needing improvement was related to more children having access to publically funded preschool.
Governor Kate Brown has made creating access to high quality early learning opportunities a top priority this legislative session. We know that if we can get children ready for kindergarten and ensure that their families are stable and attached, they are more likely to be successful at all future levels of education. With additional targeted investment to ensure children access to high-quality early learning opportunities and critical family supports, we will take a critical step to ensure that we are opening wide the doors of opportunity to each and every child in Oregon.
A second report, Building a Grad Nation, put together by a national coalition highlighting graduation rates across the country cited Oregon’s 69% graduation rate in 2013. While Oregon’s graduation rate improved to 72% last year, it is far from acceptable. We are focused and committed to ensuring every student is on track for graduation. Governor Brown and I are working with the Oregon Legislature, state agencies, educational entities and partners across the state to close the pervasive gaps between students once and for all.
In fact, we have been actively working to close those gaps through three ongoing strategies. First, through applying the Equity Lens to all decisions we make regarding policies, investments and strategies, we are committed to positioning each and every Oregon student for success. Next, through the Governor’s proposed investments in early learning we will put more students on track early, delivering on the promise that each child deserves boundless opportunities for their future while saving dollars for the classroom that would otherwise be needed for remedial education. Finally, we are proposing new investments in Career Technical and STEM education proven to engage students in meaningful applied learning that connects them to school and improves both graduation rates and student readiness for high demand careers critical to Oregon’s prosperity.
With these targeted investments in our student’s learning from birth to career, and a commitment statewide to bust barriers impeding student success, I am confident that we will see more students achieve their full potential.
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