State Journal

New Player

An Oregon Coalition Tackles School Policy

Article Tools
  • PrintPrinter-Friendly
  • EmailEmail Article
  • ReprintReprints

Oregon's education community is closely watching a coalition of local foundations that hopes to present a school improvement plan to state legislators by March.

Officially launched just a few months ago, the Portland-based Chalkboard Project will spend up to $2 million working toward that goal.

So far, it has held 17 focus groups, planned town hall meetings, met with more than 100 groups, and commissioned reports on education quality, accountability, and funding.

"We're trying to provide some hope to Oregon," said Sue Hildick, the president of the Chalkboard Project. "We're a new player at the table, one with a lot of credibility, and [one] willing to invest a lot of resources to find what Oregonians want from their schools."

The coalition's first public initiative was the release this summer of a statewide poll on what Oregonians think about their schools.

The Portland research firm of Davis, Hibbitts & Midghall polled 1,800 citizens by telephone in the spring. Among the findings: Fifty-two percent believe that public schools don't have adequate funding. But another 40 percent said schools weren't spending their dollars wisely.

Two-thirds said the state needed to improve school quality, accountability, and finance. Fewer than half the respondents felt that the state's public schools were doing an "OK" job, while 36 percent said "somewhat good" and 21 percent said "somewhat bad."

"This gives us a good launching point on where people are on key education issues, " Ms. Hildick said.


Cynthia Guyer, the executive director of the Portland School Foundation, a nonprofit school advocacy group, applauds the Chalkboard Project's vision.

It remains unclear to her, though, exactly how the coalition's hard work will pay off where it counts, which is in the legislature.

"The research, the polling, the focus groups . It's a great starting point," she said. "But the endgame question in Oregon is: What is the political strategy and where is the political leadership going to come from to finally adopt a policy around school quality and financing the state's schools?"

The powerful groups behind the project are the Portland-based Collins Foundation, Meyer Memorial Trust, Oregon Community Foundation, the Roseburg-based Ford Family Foundation, and the JELD-WEN Foundation in Klamath Falls.

"This is exactly the kind of private-sector process I hoped would evolve to address the challenges facing public education in Oregon," Gov. Theodore R. Kulongoski, a Democrat, said in a statement.

Vol. 24, Issue 02, Page 29

Published in Print: September 8, 2004, as New Player

Back to Top Back to Top

Most Popular Stories

Viewed

Emailed

Recommended

Commented

Sponsor Insights

Effective Ways to Support Students with Dyslexia

Stop cobbling together your EdTech

Integrate Science and ELA with Informational Text

To Address Chronic Absenteeism, Dig into the Data

Can self-efficacy impact growth for ELLs?

Disruptive Tech Integration for Meaningful Learning

5 Game-Changers in Today’s Digital Learning Platforms

Keep Your Schools Safe and Responsive to Real Challenges

Hiding in Plain Sight - 7 Common Signs of Dyslexia in the Classroom

The research: Reading Benchmark Assessments

Shifting Mindsets: A Guide for Training Paraeducators to Think Differently About Challenging Behavior

All Students Are Language Learners: The Imagine Learning Language Advantage™

Shifting Mindsets: A Guide for Training Paraeducators to Think Differently About Challenging Behavior

How to Support All Students with Equitable Pathways

2019 K-12 Digital Content Report

3-D Learning & Assessment for K–5 Science

Climate Change, LGBTQ Issues, Politics & Race: Instructional Materials for Teaching Complex Topics

Closing the Science Achievement Gap

Evidence-based Coaching: Key Driver(s) of Scalable Improvement District-Wide

Advancing Literacy with Large Print

Research Sheds New Light on the Reading Brain

3 Unique Learner Profiles for Emerging Bilinguals

Effective Questioning Practices to Spur Thinking

Empower Reading Teachers with Proven Literacy PD

Student Engagement Lessons from 3 Successful Districts

Response to Intervention Centered on Student Learning

The Nonnegotiable Attributes of Effective Feedback

SEE MORE Insights >