Our Oregon business leaders have us on the wrong educational reform path. Perhaps they are just too provincial? Perhaps they don’t understand the changes taking place in the global economy? That’s hard to believe, I know, with companies like Nike and Intel. But how else can one explain why they do not support or advocate for stronger foreign language programs (especially more Mandarin immersion programs) and high school study abroad programs (again, especially to China).
Just for the historical record (and, from my perspective, totally lacking in strategic vision), six Oregon business leaders supported other educational efforts recently in Salem. From the Oregonian article “Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber invites business leaders for press conference; House Republicans show up, too” by Michelle Cole (here):
Flanked by representatives from six Oregon business groups at a Capitol news conference, Gov. John Kitzhaber urged lawmakers to move on health care and education reforms still stuck in legislative committees.
The House is poised this morning to vote on a bill setting up coordinated care organizations for people on the Oregon Health Plan. But a second health care reform bill, advancing a health insurance exchange for individuals and small businesses has been sidelined. There also has been no action on two education reform bills that the governor -- and much of the state's business community -- wants.
Pat Reiten, Pacific Power president and chairman of the Oregon Business Plan steering committee, echoed the governor's remarks.
"We've simply come too far to let these fail," he said.