Gov. Kate Brown unveiled pieces of her education proposal to a room full of Madison High School freshman on Monday morning.
Addressing the students, the governor asked for their support.
“We need your help. As you know, Oregon is struggling with our high school graduation rates. Roughly 1 out of 4 doesn’t graduate,” Brown said.
Oregon has one of the worst graduation rates in the nation.
“It’s imperative every single one of you graduate from high school,” Brown said, telling the students three decades ago there were opportunities in fishing and farming and other technical fields that no longer exist.
The governor segued into one of the centerpieces of her education plan: to bolster funding for career-technical programs by $300 million.
Brown also said Oregon needs to extend its school year, decrease class sizes and offer free preschool for the state’s low-income children.
The governor did not detail how she plans to pay for the proposals. The state is facing a significant projected budget shortfall that could top $1 billion.
Brown, who is running for re-election, said she was working closely with a panel focused on student success and said her budget would include more details. The budget likely won’t be revealed until after the election.
Brown’s gubernatorial opponent GOP candidate Knute Buehler also included extending the length of the school year and boosting funds for career-technical education as ways to address the state’s education issues. Buehler also said reforming the state’s pension system was crucial to improving the state’s education system — an issue Brown did not address Monday.