Oregon legislators convened in Salem today, February 1, to begin the 79th legislative session. The session is expected to be long and challenging as legislators contend with a $1.8 billion budget shortfall for the 2017-2019 biennium.
Governor Kate Brown’s budget recommendations, released in December, included new revenue from taxes on tobacco, liquor, and hospitals, and sustained investment in programs to improve educator effectiveness. In January, the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Ways and Means conveyed less certainty for education investments in its budget framework, which did not include new revenue.
Despite the budget challenges, Chalkboard Project will continue to advocate for a legislative agenda that advances a strong system of supports for Oregon’s educators. Our priorities are to ensure continued funding for the Network for Quality Teaching and Learning and effective implementation of the recently released recommendations from the Governor’s Council on Educator Advancement.
The Network for Quality Teaching and Learning was established through legislation in 2013 to improve recruitment, preparation, induction, career advancement opportunities, and support of educators.
In the 2017-2019 biennium, the Network would support continued work on educator advancement programs such as new teacher mentoring, innovative educator preparation practices, leadership development for teachers aspiring to be administrators, and the School District Collaboration Fund. A portion of the Network would also support implementation of the recommendations from the Governor’s Council for Educator Advancement.
The Council for Educator Advancement was established by executive order in January 2016. The Council is comprised mostly of educators from across Oregon and was charged with developing a set of recommendations for a system that would elevate the educator profession and provide for excellent teaching in all classrooms and for all students.
In November 2016, the Council fulfilled its charge and released a set of recommendations that promote a seamless, equity-focused system centered on teacher leadership and professional learning designed by and for educators to improve student outcomes. To accomplish these goals, the Council recommended an innovative approach through a new infrastructure model—one the requires an intergovernmental agreement among multiple state agencies to design and implement a comprehensive and seamless support system that leverages the state’s education innovation dollars.
Chalkboard supports the Council’s recommendations as a necessary step to ensuring every student in Oregon has access to an effective educator. During the 2017 legislative session, we will advocate for Senate Bill 182, which authorizes key components for carrying out the Council’s recommendations. These components include:
Establishing the Educator Advancement Council through an intergovernmental agreement between the Chief Education Office, Department of Education, Early Learning Division, and Teacher Standards and Practices Commission
Renaming the Network for Quality Teaching and Learning Fund to the Educator Advancement Fund
Appropriating the Educator Advancement Fund to the Educator Advancement Council instead of the Department of Education
Over the past decade and through independent and focused research, Chalkboard Project has helped lay the foundation for an innovative, effective, and sustainable system of supports for educators. We anticipate our state leaders will uphold their commitment to advancing the educator profession by supporting the Network for Quality Teaching and Learning and the Council on Educator Advancement’s recommendations.
Visit our legislative page to see all of Chalkboard's funding and policy priorities.