|Work continues on some key issues|
by Kent Hunsaker, Executive Director
As the calendar changes from 2007 to 2008, COSA staff members are at work on a number of important fronts. From accountability to full-day kindergarten to state reporting to professional development to halide lights, we have an array of special projects underway.
Here’s an update on some of our efforts. (By the way, as always, your comments, suggestions and questions are welcome. See the comment form at the end of this blog.)
As reported in the fall, COSA is taking on the issue of accountability in collaboration with a number of partners, including four legislators, OEA, the governor’s office, OSEA, OSBA, the secretary of state’s office, the Oregon Business Association, Oregon PTA, Stand for Children, Chalkboard and many others. Accountability is at the core of the school funding issue because, for some legislators, a perceived lack of K-12 accountability is a significant barrier to increased funding. Their perception is ironic, at best, given that Oregon’s K-12 schools are probably more accountable that any other public entity. What it boils down to, we think, is that everyone is so inundated with school accountability measures that none of us can get a handle on how schools are really doing – in other words, we can’t see the forest for the trees. Our goal is make progress toward an accountability system that is more clear, more fair and more accurate. The Roundtable intends to have an accountability proposal ready prior to the 2009 legislative session.
As you undoubtedly know, the Oregon attorney general’s office recently released an opinion that says that school districts should not be charging tuition for full-day kindergarten programs. A number of school districts – and more than 2,000 students and their families – are potentially affected by this opinion. Chuck Bennett has been working with Department of Education staff and legislators in an effort to find a temporary solution (as outlined in this ODE-drafted bill) during the February supplemental session. Stay tuned.
Improving and streamlining state reporting is the goal of a project that Craig Hawkins and a number of key Department of Education staff – including Jennifer Williamson, Doug Kosty, Pat Burk and Tony Alpert – are undertaking. They will be seeking volunteers from the field to join them in a multi-month effort that is expected to result in recommendations for change by next fall. Look for more information in January.
Planning is underway for a brand new Assistant Principals Conference, set for March 9-10 in the Portland area. Look for more information from Colin Cameron very soon. And don’t forget, the OASE/OACOA Winter Conference, January 31-February 2, features nationally-recognized author, historian and lecturer Neil Howe, who will present findings based on his book, “Millennials Rising.” For other upcoming events, check out the Professional Development Calendar.