State Assessment Work Group meets

Oregon Public Education Network lobbying efforts have led to formation of the State Assessment Work Group, which convened last Thursday to start the process to evaluate k12 statewide assessments. Here are notes from the first meeting.

Attendance: Senator Lew Frederick, Nathan Stoltz, Larry Lewin, Pat Eck, Jan Eck, Rebecca Easton, Marissa Ediza, Josh Edwards, Carrie Gembala, Dovina Greco, Teresa Jaramillo, Audrey Keyes, Heather Kliever, Lisa Longoria, Angie Navarro, Karol Otto, Kathia Ruiz, Anna Siquera-deSilva, Tricia Snyder, and Peter Tromba. Sue Wilson and Araceli Farisas were unable to attend this meeting but are interested in being part of the effort.

Larry Lewin, retired Eugene 4J teacher, from the Oregon Public Education Network (OPEN) convened the meeting.

Senator Lew Frederick welcomed the group. He then gave background in regard to his interest in public schools with a focus on the statewide assessment system. The Senator stated that the Oregon Department of Education has changed its emphasis to being primarily a compliance agency. There is a need to put together a blueprint that will assist students to thrive and enjoy going to school. The Senator wants this group to take a look at the assessment system we have now and develop suggestions on where we want to go in the future.

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What is the Oregon Public Education Network (OPEN)?

OPEN is an alliance composed of organizations and individuals working on public school issues at the local level and statewide. We act individually, in small groups, and as a whole group depending on interest and need.

OPEN’s Mission Statement:

OPEN is an advocacy alliance whose purpose is to protect, preserve, promote, and improve public education for all Oregon students. We share information on critical issues and support each other in actions that have positive effects on our public schools that are currently threatened.

What Issues are currently being worked on by OPEN?

1. Quality Statewide Assessment Program (all of our members)

2. Lobby legislature on education issues (Community Alliance for Public Education–aka–CAPE in Eugene; Multnomah Democrats Education Study Group, Angry Grandparents Against High-Stakes Testing, Oregon BATs; Oregon Save Our Schools)

3. Universal Preschool (Oregon Retired Educators Association Unit #39)

4. Lessen impact of corporate driven education policies on local school districts (CAPE–in Eugene)

5. Working for equity and social justice in public schools for students, teachers, and families through advocacy and action (Oregon BATs, Oregon Save Our Schools)

6. Effective communication on timely education topics with the public-at-large (all of our members and allies)

7. Direct supports to teachers and local schools (Teachers Brigade)

8. Celebrating the successes of public schools (OREA Unit #39, Grange #71)

Our overriding goals are to preserve what works, repair what is broken, and enhance the public schools. (#PRE):

Preserve—our teachers and administrators are doing a good job overall under extremely challenging conditions (e.g.–large class sizes, lack of support services, short school year, etc.). We can help by volunteering in the schools, donating supplies to schools directly or to programs like Schoolhouse Supplies, getting involved locally and at the state level.

Repair—advocate for: lower class sizes, wrap around services, quality assessment program, equity

Enhance–universal, quality, free preschool; affordable post-secondary education; etc.

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