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Think Out Loud

Restructuring Higher Education

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.

Think Out Loud

Sex Education for College Students

Writer, educator and self-described feminist pornographer Tristan Taormino will speak to students at the University of Oregon and Oregon State University this week. Over the past few months, she's had an on-again, off-again relationship with OSU. In October 2010, she was invited to be the keynote speaker at the university's Modern Sex Conference, taking place this week. Last month, the university uninvited Taormino, citing her involvement in the pornography industry. Administrators argued that paying for Taormino to speak on campus would be an inappropriate use of taxpayer money.

When University of Oregon literature professor Jennifer Burns Levin caught wind of the original cancellation, she jumped at the opportunity to bring the writer and sex educator to the Eugene campus. The cost of Taormino's appearance at the University of Oregon will be paid for by a combination of student and public funds. In the past, Taormino has lectured at top colleges and universities including Yale, Cornell, Princeton, Brown, Columbia, Smith, Vassar, and New York University, about issues affecting sexuality and feminism.

Think Out Loud

Finding Solutions: Arts Education

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.

Think Out Loud

Higher Education Update

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.

Think Out Loud

What's Next for K-12 Education?

In this election voters in many Oregon counties had to decide whether to take money from their pockets to improve schools across the state. The results were mixed. In Portland the $548 million school bond to upgrade buildings failed by a slim margin while the less controversial levy passed. In Parkrose the bond to replace a middle school and improve others, passed by a slim margin. And in Eugene an income tax to pay for schools was defeated 64 to 36 percent. Today we'll explore what these results mean for education today — and in the future. Now that this election is over, and decisions have been made, what's next?

Think Out Loud

What's Working (and not) in Education

In the last few years, a number of Oregon educators have been recognized on the national stage, including a principal, a superintendent and a teacher. Cathy Carnahan is the principal at Duniway Middle School in McMinnville. She'll be receiving her Middle School Principal of the Year award this week in Washington D.C. Carnahan is credited with focusing on teacher development, helping struggling students improve and boosting overall student attendance and achievement during her time at the school. The last Oregon middle school principal to win the award was Patti Kinney, who was principal at Talent Middle School in southern Oregon when she was recognized in 2003. Krista Parent is the superintendent of the South Lane District in Oregon. In nominating her for the 2007 Superintendent of the Year award, University of Oregon professor Gerald Tindal hailed her as "an instructional leader of the highest caliber." The award also recognized her role in improving math, reading and writing among students in her district. She says she fought hard to avoid being just an administrator, and to stay connected to students and teachers. That, she says, is what the job is all about.

Think Out Loud

Oregon's Education Future

President Obama announced on Friday that states that agree to a certain set of rules can waive restrictions set by No Child Left Behind. States would need to set strong teacher evaluation standards, and have plans to rework under-performing schools in order to receiver the waiver. Ben Cannon, former teacher and Oregon legislator, is Governor Kitzhaber's new education policy adviser, and he's excited at the possibility of Oregon getting some leeway within No Child Left Behind. We'll check in with Cannon to see how the Governor and Department of Education will go about trying to waive the restrictions. We'll also hear what Cannon's broader ideas for Oregon's education system are, and how his experience as a teacher and legislator will affect his plans.

Think Out Loud

Summer Online Education

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.

Think Out Loud

Talking Education with Richard Lariviere

In some ways, the new University of Oregon president Richard Lariviere sounds like a lot of emigrants who come to Oregon. First, he thought he'd take a look around just to get to know the state a bit more, but he quickly fell in love with the place. He says he and his wife Jan were contantly amazed at the sheer beauty and the diversity of Oregon's landscape. As he told the University's Quarterly Magazine,

The people who have driven around the state with us are probably sick of Jan and me interrupting every conversation every fifteen minutes, saying, 'My god, look at this!'
He's only been here since July but he's already weighed in publicly about the big funding issues higher education faces — some of which we touched on in our show a couple of months ago about the Future of Public Higher Education. Since then, former University of Oregon President Dave Frohnmayer released a report that outlined proposed changes to the structure of the state's three largest universities.

Think Out Loud

TOL Hosts Special Event on Higher Education

What does the future hold for Oregon's public university system?

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Results for OPB

local | Education

Kitzhaber Names His Education Investment Team

Governor Kitzhaber has named 12 people to a new Education Investment Team.  It’s meant to set the foundation for a restructured education system.

local | Education

Grim Education Budget Could Have Been 'A Whole Lot Worse'

Education leaders had been expecting deep cuts in the proposed Oregon budget announced Tuesday, and they got the grim news they were anticipating.

local | Political Chat

Political Chat: From Education Funding To YouTube Sensation

The Oregon legislature voted on spending plans for education this week.  The Senate unanimously passed a plan for funding K-12 schools at a level of $5.7 billion.

local | Education | Technology

The President Promotes High Tech Education In Hillsboro

President Barack Obama visited Oregon Friday, to underline the importance of math and science education. He praised Intel for its work keeping America on the cutting edge of high-tech and named CEO, Paul Otellini, to the President's Council on Jobs and Competitiveness.

Business | local | Education

President Highlights Need For Math And Science Education

President Barack Obama praised Intel while he was in Oregon Friday, and said while reducing the deficit, the nation has to make sure it doesn't weaken math and science education.

Nation | local | Education | Technology

President To Visit Intel To Push Education And Science

President Barack Obama is expected in Hillsboro Friday to talk about the importance of science, engineering and math education. He'll meet with students and dignitaries. And protests are scheduled outside.

local | Education

Debate Teams Face Off Over Governor's Education Restructuring Idea

Governor John Kitzhaber has proposed a number of ideas to restructure education in Oregon.

local | Education

Kitzhaber Creates Investment Team To Fix Education System

Governor John Kitzhaber issued an executive order Friday to create a new education investment team.  The team would report back at the end of May with ways to re-structure Oregon education.

local | Education

Senate Education Committee Considering ESD Bill

School superintendents voiced their support for Oregon’s embattled education service districts at a hearing this week.  That came after critics got their say earlier in the week. 

local | Education

Q&A: Both Chambers Groan, But Pass Education Budget

The Oregon House narrowly approved a budget for K-12 schools Wednesday. The $5.7 billion spending plan squeaked by on a 32-to-28 margin. The action came one day after the Oregon Senate unanimously approved the same spending.

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