• Author Deb Mayer

Multnomah County Democrats Proposed Education Platform


The Multnomah County Democrats Education Caucus is proposing ten Legislative Action Items (LAI) to present as viable planks to the state platform. Each LAI is followed by some of the many resources that informed the decision to support the action. The items are not ranked, but we do consider funding the QEM to be at the top of the list. This is an evolving document.

The platform will be voted on in November.

Additional suggestions and resources may be added in comments.

The platform that gave rise to these LAIs can be found at the end of this article.

1. Quality Education Model QEM

Corporations must pay their fair share to support quality education in our state. The Oregon Education Model (QEM) has been cited as one of the best education plans in the nation. It is yet to be implemented because of lack of funding..Therefore, we support corporate tax revisions and financial services transaction fees that dedicate monies to secure full funding of the Oregon Quality Education Model.

Resources:

Quality Education Model Final Report 2016

Oregon Education Funding 101

Oregon Centerfor Public Policy: 13 Ways Oregon Can Raise Revenue to Support Schools and Other Vital Public Services

2. CCSS/SBAC Common Core State Standards/Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium

A growing number of parents consistently protest the dumbing-down of the curriculum and the emphasis placed on high stakes tests. Therefore, we strongly encourage that the State of Oregon withdraw from the Common Core State Standards and Smarter Balance Assessment Consortium (SBAC) at every grade level, and adopt its own high quality standards and assessments that keep PreK-12 education student-centered.

Resources:

As Test Results Trickle In, States Still Ditching Common Core

Audit the SBAC

Opt-out Oregon

3. RACE/CULTURE

In Multnomah County we recognize that racial injustice exists and operates in our community. It takes many forms, and it needs to be opposed if democracy is to advance. Therefore, we strongly support culturally relevant pedagogy and curriculum, critical race theory, and restorative practices.

Resources: (~5 min videos)

Introduction to Culturally Relevant Pedagogy

Critical Race Theory: Understanding the Nature of Race and America

Restorative Justice In Schools

4. ACCREDITATION

We recommend that all publicly funded institutions be accredited. Therefore, we support the requirement that all education institutions, to be accredited, must adhere to all federal and state laws including the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Title IX, Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), and other non-discrimination laws.

Resources:

National Alliance for Public Charter Schools

Know Your Rights: Students with Disabilities in Charter Schools

5. PRIVATIZATION

The effort to privatize our public schools has gained favor by the appointment of Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education. Billionaires and millionaires will get richer and richer while public schools get less and less. Therefore, we recommend that Oregon direct education funding to strengthen our public schools and deny funding for: the expansion of private charter and for-profit schools, vouchers of all types including Student Savings Accounts and Children’s Scholarship Funds, non-licensed teachers for edtech classrooms, and other schemes that weaken public schools while accelerating the privatization of public education.

Resources:

A voucher by any other name…tax credit, scholarship account, tuition grant…is still a voucher

Corporate Reformers Wreck Public Schools: Billionaire foundations and Wall Street financiers are not out to help your kids learn

NPE Toolkit: School Privatization Explained

6. EDTECH

Edtech is becoming more prevalent in school districts often without the knowledge or consent of parents. It is also referred to as “personalized learning” or the practice of sitting students in front of computers to learn often without a licensed teacher. One program is promoted by the federal government as Future Ready Schools. Also, parents often are not aware of how excessive screen time can negatively affect students mentally, emotionally, and physically. Therefore, we recommend that parents be notified and involved in the decision to adopt edtech programs in their districts. Also, we urge the state to adopt the screen time recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics to inform edtech decisions.

Resources:

Our Children @ Risk: Challenging the EdTech Juggernaut (This webinar, by parents for parents, has so much great information. There is noise interference for the first 16+ minutes, but the entire program is well worth the listen.)

Future Ready Schools

Digital Promise

Do Laptops Help Learning? A Look At The Only Statewide School Laptop Program

Doctors Present Evidence of Wireless Radiation Impacts on Children

7. DATA PRIVACY

The proliferation of edtech or “personalized learning” creates the opportunity for more student personal data collection to be accumulated in the costly Statewide Longitudinal Database (SLD). Therefore, we recommend that parameters be set on the types of personal student data collected and stored in the SLD, that data be adequately protected, and that an audit be performed to projecton the rising cost of maintaining the SLD in future years.

Resources:

Parent Coalition for Student Privacy

Oregon Student Privacy

State building multimillion-dollar database to track student outcomes

8. FREE COLLEGE

The rising cost of higher education leaves many qualified students without access to higher learning. Therefore, we are unified in our strong belief that every student should be able to go to college debt-free, and working families should not have to pay tuition to go to public colleges and universities.

Resources:

2016 Democratic Party Platform -- p. 30

It’s Time to Make College Tuition Free and Debt Free

Bernie Sanders Just Introduced His Free College Tuition Plan

9. WRAP-AROUND

We recognize that poverty is a systemic problem embedded in society at large and that schools can be responsive in addressing some of its effects. Therefore, we recommend that funding be invested in PreK-12 wrap-around services including: mentoring, after-school programs, counselors not cops, culturally relevant pedagogy and critical race theory initiatives, and others that have been proven effective in assuring student success.

Resources:

Education Can’t Fix Poverty (So why do we keep insisting that it can?)

Coalition for Community Schools

What Is a Quality Education?

10. CLASS SIZE

Class sizes in Oregon schools have skyrocketed in the past decade making it difficult for teachers to give students the individualized attention they need. Therefore, we recommend reducing class sizes to numbers based on reliableBefore Trump, class sizes were already growing age-based research studies.

Resources:

Class Size Reduction Research

Trump's Education Budget Will Undermine Teaching and Schools: Before Trump, class sizes were already growing

What is being done about class sizes?

Bill to mandate class size as contract issue is wrong solution to real problem: Editorial Agenda 2017

Multnomah County Democrats Education Platform

Article Preamble:

We believe all Multnomah County schools should provide equitable, stable and sustainable public funding that will provide all students with a high quality education and curriculum (i.e. Quality Education Model) from pre-kindergarten through high school and career training. We acknowledge that quality public education for all students not only enriches personal lives, but strengthens our economy and is critical to a well-functioning democracy.

Planks:

  1. We support fully funding of the Oregon Quality Education Model (QEM) developed in 1997 and placed in statute by the Quality Education Commission in 2001, refined and updated regularly since that time. It is yet to be implemented because of lack of funding.

  2. We strongly encourage the State of Oregon to adopt its own high quality standards that keep PreK-12 education student-centered.

  3. We strongly encourage support for public school assessment systems based on multiple authentic measures that more accurately reflect the broad range of student learning, and are used to support students and improve schools.

  4. We support defining and implementing smaller class sizes based on quality research which will meet the needs of the individual students.

  5. We believe that developmentally appropriate, play-based, culturally sensitive opportunities for young children should be a top priority, since research is clear that, dollar for dollar, investment in PreK-3 yields huge rewards leading to student success.

  6. We support a whole-child approach to education that encourages students to acquire general knowledge and to become accomplished at respecting others, working collaboratively and creatively, and acting in ways that are fair and just. The goal of Oregon schools is to provide for the development of critical-thinking, life-long learners who are prepared for the opportunities and challenges of living productively in our democratic society today and into the future.

  7. We urge the restoration of a full range of programs and services for all ages including: art, music, physical education, library services, civics, counseling, health services and alternative educational opportunities.

  8. We support culturally responsive curriculum and restorative practices.

  9. We recognize that edtech, also referred to as “personalized learning” or the practice of sitting students in front of computers to learn often without a licensed teacher, is becoming more prevalent in the state. The program is promoted as Future Ready School by the federal government. We recommend that parents be notified of the edtech process and how excessive screen time can negatively affect students mentally, emotionally, and physically.

  10. The proliferation of edtech or “personalized learning” means the opportunity for more student personal data collection to be accumulated in the costly Statewide Longitudinal Database (SLD). We recommend that parameters be set on the types of personal student data collected and stored in the SLD.

  11. We believe Multnomah County schools should strengthen their partnerships with business, unions, and industry to better prepare students as entrepreneurs and productive employees through career technical classes and trades apprenticeship programs.

  12. We recognize that poverty is a systemic problem embedded in society at large and that schools can be responsive in addressing some of its effects. We recommend that funding be invested in PreK-12 wrap-around services, mentoring, after-school programs, and others that have been proven effective in assuring student success.

  13. We are unified in our strong belief that every student should be able to go to college debt-free, and working families should not have to pay tuition to go to public colleges and universities.

  14. We support having professionally licensed teachers in the classroom, the mentoring of teachers new to the profession, and meaningful professional development for all teachers.

  15. We support fair, rational evaluation of educator effectiveness by educators. We support assisting educators in meeting performance expectations.

  16. We support teacher union and staff rights to collective bargaining.

  17. We are against for-profit schools, vouchers in the form of Student Savings Accounts and Student Scholarships, non-certified teachers in publically funded classrooms, and other schemes that weaken public schools and accelerate the privatization of public education.

MCD Education Caucus: Margi Brown, Mary Thamann, David Crandall,

Jan Eck, Pat Eck, Deb Mayer

#MultnomahCountyDemocratsEducationPlatform #LegislativeActionItems

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