Legislators consider education improvements


Legislators consider education improvements

8:34 a.m. PST November 18, 2015

Legislators spent a portion of Tuesday discussing ways to improve Oregon’s school systems.

In particular, the committee dealt with issues concerning culturally sensitive education, K-12 education savings accounts and standardized testing.

Cultural education

Karanja Crews spoke in the joint session Tuesday morning about Teaching with Purpose conference, which is thought of as “a call to culturally responsive teaching.”

Crews, founder of the Teaching with Purpose conference, and his 6-year-old son, Aaron Crews, conversed with the 16 committee members. Their presentation was part of a request for funding.

Teachers and organizers spoke for Teaching with Purpose and informed the committee members of the importance of equity work, in particular, for the students.

Education Savings Accounts

When the committee recessed, they reconvened in separate House and Senate education committees.

The Senate education committee discussed education savings accounts, an SAT update, and teacher feedback concerning the first year of Smarter Balanced Assessments.

The Education Savings Account group addressed concerns of choice facing K-12 families.

Based on a Nevada model, the Education Savings Account allows families to save money and select the school of their choice, free of financial restraints.

“We believe every child is different,” said Scott Hammond, a Nevada state senator.

Standardized Testing

The SAT update challenged the way SATs prepare students for college readiness and future success, with speaker Matthew Lisk

of The College Board saying, “Assessments without opportunity are dead.”

Lisk spoke about the eight key changes The College Board has made to improve the standardized test: relevant words in context, command of evidence, essay analyzing a source, math focused on three key areas, problems grounded in real world contexts, analysis in science and social studies, founding documents and great global conversation and no penalty for wrong answers.

“College readiness is not a point in time,” Lisk said.

And finally, Oregon Education Association representatives discussed the recent feedback of more than 1,200 teachers on the Smarter Balanced Assessment.

The feedback was overwhelmingly against the current Smarter Balanced Assessment.

npate@StatesmanJournal.com, (503) 399-6745, or follow on Twitter @Nataliempate

Legislative Days

During “Legislative Days,” the interim committees may hold informational hearings on topics that could lead to legislation in the next session or committees may hear update on implementation of past legislation.

Additionally, interim committees use the time provided in Legislative Days to investigate topic areas, hear reports from agencies and Task Forces, and keep current on the subject areas of the committees.

For more information about Legislative Days, go to http://www.oregonlegislature.gov/la/Pages/legislativeDays.aspx

Published by Natalie Pate

Natalie Pate is a freelance journalist and author based in Salem, Oregon. She wrote about education for more than seven years at the Statesman Journal and now covers education and other topics throughout the Pacific Northwest. She is originally from Colorado and earned her B.A. in Politics and French from Willamette University.

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