The Oregon Legislature wrapped up its work July 7 after five months of work that will affect everyone in Oregon — including public school students in the class of 2025.
OPB has been following that cohort of kids since they began kindergarten in 2012, about the same time Oregon leaders promised that all public school students will complete their education by 2025.
Reporter Rob Manning joined “All Things Considered” host Kate Davidson Tuesday to talk about what the 2017 Legislature’s actions could mean for the class of 2025.
- The session started with big worries about education funding and cuts that could have led to layoffs and fewer course offerings in some districts. In the end, Oregon raised initial proposals to $8.2 billion. That’s still hundreds of millions of dollars short of what school advocates say will avoid budget cuts and even further away from what’s needed to expand programs and make schools more effective. But it avoids a financial disaster during the 2017-18 school year.
- The Legislature changed several policies this year that will impact the class of 2025, including some aimed at grappling with the changing demographics in Oregon’s public schools. One new law would help low-income students feel more comfortable at school by banning “lunch shaming,” punishing or publicly identifying students whose family owe money for lunch. Another would overhaul how the state teaches about Native Americans throughout the public school grades. The Legislature called for “historically accurate, culturally relevant” curricula and would mandate consultation with Oregon tribes on what was taught.
- Lawmakers followed up on voters’ decision to approve Measure 98 last fall. That ballot measure was meant to invest in college preparation programs, career-technical services and dropout prevention — all priorities to improve graduation rates. Lawmakers funded it at about two-thirds of the amount voters approved.
- One thing lawmakers didn’t do: pull back from the goal of having 100 percent of students complete their high school education by 2025. Experts say 100 percent is probably not achievable, and lawmakers discussed abandoning the firm goal in this legislative session. They decided to stick with the effort, however.
Listen to the full conversation in the audio player at the top of this story.