Oregon education board assesses itself–and comes up disappointed

Stefanie Botelho's picture
Thursday, August 14, 2014

Oregon's overarching education board, handpicked by Gov. John Kitzhaber to try to overcome the state's educational mediocrity, on Tuesday sized up where the board stands after three years in operation–and expressed a lot of discontent.

The Oregon Education Investment Board controls almost no money and doesn't have much authority. The public either overestimates the board's power, members said, or doesn't know the board exists, let alone what its mission is (to better coordinate early childhood programs, public schools and public higher education to get 80 percent of Oregonians to earn college credentials).

And that's not all. The board's meetings and directives don't always focus on the central mission, they said. The board's work has yet to improve any significant student outcomes. Turnover by agency staff and sporadic attendance by some members has hampered progress. The board doesn't effectively communicate with the public and lacks a welcoming way to get public input on key issues.

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