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Jan-27-2012 12:30printcomments

Another Major Education Reform Makes its Way to the Capitol

Legislation would abolish the Oregon State Board of Higher Education...

Aerial view of the Oregon capitol by Tim King Salem-News.com
Aerial view of the Oregon capitol by Tim King Salem-News.com

(SALEM ONS) - A new proposal under consideration during the State Legislature’s February session would mean a shake-up for the Oregon State Board of Education.

Senate Joint Resolution 201, introduced by Senator Jeff Kruse, R-Roseburg, is a proposed amendment to the Oregon Constitution which would restructure how the Oregon State Board of Education is chosen and of what its membership would consist.

The State Board of Education was originally created by the Oregon legislature in 1951 to oversee the state’s public schools and community colleges. It currently consists of seven board members: one from each congressional district and two representing the state at large.

Kruse is proposing 11 board members: one from each congressional district to represent K-12 students, three members to represent the state’s public universities, and the remaining three members to represent the state’s community colleges.

Instead of being appointed solely by the governor, the members would be chosen from a list of candidates presented to the governor by interested parties such as organizations representing school administrators and public universities.

In addition, the legislation would abolish the Oregon State Board of Higher Education and put the power to appoint a Superintendent of Public Instruction into the hands of the State Board of Education.

Last year, the legislature approved a bill making the governor the Superintendent of Public Instruction. Previously, the superintendent was a separate, elected position.

Kruse told Oregon Capitol News that he thinks holding the superintendent accountable to the board, rather than to voters directly, would be a good management structure, since it is similar to structures used by local school boards and many companies.

Because Kruse’s proposed bill would change the state’s constitution, it would need to pass both chambers of the legislature and then be placed on the ballot for Oregon voters.

The Roseburg Republican said he thinks major change in educational oversight such as the legislation passed last year or his own proposed bill should to go to a public vote for Oregonians to “voice their opinion.”

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Anonymous January 27, 2012 6:24 pm (Pacific time)

Susan Castillo as Supt. has not had much success, which is an excellent reflection of her experience. Governor Kitzhaber's previous time in office also was not very successful, also a reflection of his experience (and poor voter judgement). Rep. Kruse's suggestion put's oversight back in the people's court for I believe a better system of review. Considering that today we find out that 1/3 of our students fail to finish high school, then a complete revamp is needed, from the top on down. Look at the high graduation rates for private schools, let's use them as a model, which means bye bye unions. Ever since unions increased their foothold in public education, standards have dropped as well as graduation rates. The evidence is clear, and it is on a national level of utter failure. Even most of those who graduate, including liberal arts college grads, have no job market skills. Of course they can go into the military, but they're cutting back if current administration keeps fooling enough voters next November. What a mess.

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