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Portland is hosting the 2013 International Montessori Congress this weekend. The Congress is held every four years, but this is the first time in over four decades that it's been held in an American city. Some argue that the Montessori philosophy is incompatible with the way America has structured its public education system, but a handful of schools are trying to make it work. One of the major differences between public education and Montessori schools is Montessori schools don't grade and tend to downplay, or totally avoid, standardized testing. These differences, along with a pressure to conform to state standards can be a point of friction for Montessori schools trying to operate in public districts. But the schools also focus on character education, which is something critics of the American education system point out as a blindspot in how we educate our kids. That approach has led some public districts across the country to try to adopt Montessori systems in their schools.
The 2011 legislative session is scheduled to wrap on June 30, if not sooner. Before it does, we're looking at the bills affecting higher education that are still on the table. Two bills affecting higher education funding and a new decision-making body are moving through the legislature. The state higher education operating budget is expected to pass without surprises. Static between University of Oregon President Richard Lariviere and the Oregon State Board of Higher Education came to light in a pared down renewal contract for Lariviere. The board will present him a contract that conditionally extends his position for just one year.
Oregon's public universities want to change their relationship with the state and they're hoping the legislature can make it happen in the 2011 session. Presidents of the seven public universities and the state board of education agreed earlier this year that an overhaul should give the schools the power to make key decisions like setting tuition, negotiating benefits for faculty members and allocating funds for capital expenditures. Portland State University president Wim Wiewel has written in favor of these changes, arguing that if the state relinquishes control over the Oregon University System, the schools will be more financially sound. Chair of the Oregon Senate education committee Mark Haas announced with his appointment that he's prioritizing higher ed reform for this legislative session. He co-chaired a task force that came up with a series of ideas to offer public universities "more authority and independence to manage affairs, operations and obligations," according to one bill summary.
The next in our Finding Solutions series explores arts in education. Watch the Oregon Art Beat special "Teaching Creativity: Is Art the Answer?" on OPB TV Thursday May 27th at 8 pm, or check out the video and a collection of art resources here on the web anytime. Then continue the conversation with Think Out Loud. Public schools in Oregon — and the rest of the nation — have been dealing with shrinking budgets and the simultaneous burden of focusing on government-mandated testing. Many schools have had little choice over time but to cut back or eliminate classes in visual art, music, theatre and dance. Arts education advocates say art is not just extra budget fat, but an integral part of the human experience that helps kids' brains develop, stimulates critical thinking and can be an effective way to help students engage with academic subjects as well. We'll hear about different approaches to getting K-12 students access to arts, and we'd also like to hear your experience.
It used to be that, in many parts of the world, educating a girl was not only a low priority but was prevented by social customs or economic pressures. Now, in areas such as sub-Saharan Africa, India and war-torn areas such as Syria, girls are beginning to get a secondary school, and sometimes even, a college education. Tonight on America Abroad we look at places in the Middle East, Africa, and South Asia to see how girls are making progress. Join us for this episode of America Abroad Tuesday December 2, 2014 at 9pm on OPB.
Nation | News | Think Out Loud
A small town in Southern Oregon is for sale. What are the legislature's statewide education goals? The state Department of Energy is being overhauled.
News | local | Think Out Loud
We'll talk to two faith leaders from Eugene who are working to bring refugees to Oregon. We'll continue our series on this state's Soviet diaspora with a conversation about education. And we'll catch up on the latest regional business news.
Rudy Crew is only about a month into his new job as Governor Kitzhaber's first chief education officer. However, he's already taken a forceful position on statewide achievement goals, saying they're too soft. We'll talk with him about the new "achievement compacts" and how he'd like to see school districts more aggressively raise their goals for year-on-year improvement.
Students at Hillcrest Elementary in North Bend were given the option to try out an online learning program last summer. Teachers hoped that the program would help prevent the typical regression that many students experience over the many months of summer vacation. The program offered rewards — like offering $20 and an ice cream party for the students that used the program the most over the summer. Administrators say the program was a success, and now they're trying to expand it for use during the school year. But they're still working out some of the kinks, including how to make sure that students without reliable internet access don't get left out.
NW Life | News | local | Politics | Race In The Northwest
We're asking people in the Pacific Northwest to talk about how race impacts their day-to-day lives. We talked to a Muslim immigrant from West Africa who says she is routinely harassed because of her head scarf.
Gov. Kate Brown pointed to early childhood, K-12 programs and higher education as places she'd want to maintain funding if a corporate tax she supports fails at the ballot.
The Multnomah Education Service District discriminated against Oregon's 2014 Teacher of the Year — and retaliated against him when he complained, according to state investigators.
Leaders of Oregon's largest city and the state's biggest school systems talked up local education programs at a national conference in Portland on Thursday.