Governor Kitzhaber is releasing his proposed 2013-15 budget. The Oregonian article “Where is Oregon education spending headed? A rundown of Gov. John Kitzhaber’s plan for 2013-15” by Betsy Hammond begins (here):
Gov. John Kitzhaber will propose modest state funding
increases of about 8 percent for schools, community colleges and universities
in his 2013-15 budget plan.
But he also will call for significant increases in particular education-related programs or approaches that he says promise to big payoffs fast.
Some -- including early childhood programs for students with disabilities or developmental delays, and grants for low- and moderate-income college students -- would see an increase of 15 to 20 percent.
$20 million more for early-childhood programs for children with disabilities or developmental delays.
Kitzhaber also proposes to require that $120 million of the
roughly $275 million the state will send to education school districts in
2013-15 be set aside to spend on professional training for educators. Crew will
oversee establishment of four to six regional centers to train teachers,
principals, faculty and preschool teachers, the governor said.
Crew says the centers would also form a statewide research network that studies best practices, disseminates evidence-based models, and helps schools and districts implement these models and practices.
First, Kitzhaber continues to overlook two of the most important areas of needed educational change and needed investments. This budget continues this colossal educational blunder. Oregon needs stronger foreign language education programs to compete in the global economy. This means more immersion programs targeted at strategically important languages (like Mandarin) and paid high school study abroad programs. And (the other area) the state needs to invest in and utilize much more technology and online learning opportunities. There is nothing in Kitzhaber's budget for either of these priorities.
Second, Oregon needs to shift many more of its educational dollars to early-childhood programs. This is where educational dollars get the biggest bang for the buck. The $20 million more Kitzhaber proposes (if this is all?) is nice but paltry. It is almost an embarrassment. Kitzhaber has talked a good line on pre-K investments and the need for looking at the total educational system. He just has not followed his talk with real action here.Third, the $120 million for professional training for educators is a complete waste and boondoogle. Without a shift to more foreign language immersion teachers (usually bilingual) and more online learning, the training of teachers in the existing educational system is a complete waste. Better to just burn the money! (see an earlier post on this topic here).