2019 Legislative Session
The Time is Now: Invest in Oregon Students
Our public education system is key to keeping our economy strong, our communities healthy, and ensuring a good quality of life for every Oregonian. The 2019 Session offers a renewed opportunity to improve outcomes for students by investing in our schools and ensuring they have the resources to meet the diverse needs of all students.
In 2019 we can help Oregon's schools overcome decades of inadequate and unstable funding. We can increase our graduation rates and add school days and instructional time. We can ensure that our students have reasonable class sizes and our schools are safe and welcoming for all students. We can close opportunity gaps for historicially underserved students, including students of color, students experiencing poverty, English Language Learners and students receiving special education services.
After comparing notes on the challenges facing the students in their districts, superintendents posed a question: what are the three policy areas we could focus on during the 2019 Legislative Session that could produce the best outcomes for kids? After discussing the question among themselves, they traveled to regional meetings across the state and asked the same questions to other school administrators. In 2018, a consensus was reached to create workgroups on three key policy areas: early learning, education workforce development, and the social and emotional wellbeing of kids.
However, instead of taking the traditional approach and drafting a legislative concept to introduce, COSA members decided to try something different. We created an inclusive workgroup process and invited stakeholders from across various sectors, including teachers and early educators, parent and student representatives, healthcare, higher education, government agencies, non-profits, Oregon’s federally recognized tribes, and community-based organizations. Around two hundred people participated in one of the three workgroups over a six month process in 2018, and about half of those participants represented a group other than school administrators.
2019 Legislative Priorities
COSA members have prioritized policy and funding recommendations for the 2019 Session that are focused on improving outcomes for and meeting the needs of all students.
COSA has also drafted two bills to implement recommendations of the Education Workforce Development Workgroup and the Social and Emotional Determinants of Health and Education Workgroup.
House Bill 2224 makes a meaningful investment in improving the social, emotional, and mental health of our students by providing resources to school districts to hire social workers, school counselors, school nurses, mental health specialists and other professionals to work with students and their families. Resources are also available to offer professional development around trauma-informed care and social and emotional learning for educators and students.
House Bill 2742 will grow and diversify the K-12 licensed and Pre-K educator workforce by expanding “Grow Your Own” educator pipeline programs that remove financial barriers for the next generation of educators and emphasize recruiting staff of color and bilingual staff.