Article III. Education — Platform of the Multnomah County Democratic Party

PREAMBLE

We believe all public schools should be provided with equitable, stable, and sustainable public funding streams that provides all students with a high-quality education, culturally inclusive curriculum from pre-kindergarten through high school, and career training. We acknowledge that quality public education for all students not only enriches personal lives but strengthens our economy and is critical to a well-functioning democracy.

PLANKS

  1. We support fully funding the Oregon Quality Education Model (QEM) which would provide robust and varied educational opportunities for all children in Oregon.[1] While the passage of the Student Success Act will help, full and successful implementation of the QEM remains elusive due to insufficient funding.[2]
  2. We oppose high-stakes standardized tests that falsely and unfairly label students of color, students with disabilities and English language learners as failing. In addition, we oppose the use of standardized test scores to fund or close schools, and for evaluating teachers and principals. We strongly encourage the State of Oregon to withdraw from the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) and the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) at every grade level, and to adopt its own high-quality standards and assessments that keep Pre-K-12 education student-centered.
  3. We support the implementation of smaller class sizes based on quality research which will meet the needs of the individual students and take into consideration the impact of disruptive learning to the classroom.
  4. We support full funding of a full-day, full-year, universal public preschool program for all three and four year old children that is high quality, play-based, culturally responsive, developmentally appropriate for young children, while ensuring that early learning professionals receive wages similar to kindergarten teachers and elementary school paraprofessionals. It should be a top priority, since research is clear that dollar for dollar, investment in PreK-3 yields huge rewards leading to student success.
  5. We oppose efforts to privatize education and weaken public education, such as for-profit schools, vouchers in the form of student savings accounts and student scholarships, social impact bonds, and the use of non-certified teachers in publicly funded classrooms.
  6. We believe that all students should be taught to high academic standards. We support investments in high-quality STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, & Math) classes, including computer science education, civics, school libraries and career pathways.[3] We support increased investments in after-school and summer learning programs to help working families.
  7. We are concerned about the amount of personal student data being collected and accumulated by the Statewide Longitudinal Database (SLD) system, so we recommend that parameters be set on the types of personal student data collected and stored in the SLD.[4]
  8. We believe Multnomah County schools should strengthen their partnerships with business, unions, and industry to better prepare students through career technical classes and trade apprenticeship programs.
  9. We recognize that the rising cost of higher education leaves many qualified students without access to higher learning. We believe that it is necessary to provide every qualified student with the opportunity to attend a public career school, college, or university tuition-free.
  10. We support safe schools. School districts must ensure that students are provided with safe learning environments that protect them from lead paint, lead in water, Wi-Fi radiation, excessive screen time on computer devices, and other threats that may endanger their physical, mental, and emotional health.
  11. We support the hiring of racially, ethnically, linguistically, culturally diverse and professionally licensed teachers in the classroom, the mentoring of all teachers new to the profession, and meaningful professional development for all teachers. In addition, we support fair, rational evaluation of educator effectiveness by other educators, and support assisting educators in meeting performance expectations.
  12. We support the right of teachers’ unions and staff to collective bargaining.
  13. We support policies and procedures requiring school districts in Oregon to support the ability to recognize and productively interrupt statements or actions of their colleagues or students that are discriminatory against marginalized people.
  14. We support the forming and strengthening of relationships with indigenous people through the development of a statewide curriculum about the Native American experience in Oregon.
  15. We recognize that native language academic instruction for students identified as limited English proficient (LEP) provides equitable access to education as described in the Supreme Court case Lau v. Nichols.[5] We support evidence-based, dual-immersion programs for elementary grade students identified as LEP.

LEGISLATIVE ACTION ITEMS

  1. We call for full funding of the Oregon Quality Education Model (QEM) and recommend support for corporate tax revisions and financial services transaction fees that dedicate monies to secure full funding of the QEM.
  2. We call for legislation compelling large corporations to pay their fair share of taxes toward full funding to ensure the future of Oregon education.
  3. We strongly encourage the State of Oregon to withdraw from the Smarter Balance Assessment Consortium (SBAC), at every grade level, and return to high-quality standards and assessments that keep PreK-12 education student-centered. In addition, we strongly encourage the state of Oregon to withdraw from the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and return to standards-based practices that are developmentally and culturally appropriate at all grade levels.
  4. We call for legislation to reduce class sizes to numbers based on reliable age-based research studies. In addition, the state funding formula must be adjusted to promote more equitable class sizes across the state.
  5. We support public funding of a full-day, full-year, universal public preschool program for children age 3 to 4 in Multnomah County that is high quality, play-based, culturally responsive, and developmentally appropriate for young children.
  6. We support universal public preschool that is focused on providing early learning experiences for children of color, children living in poverty, children that speak languages other than English, and children experiencing developmental delays and disabilities. Programs should ensure that early learning professionals receive wages similar to kindergarten teachers and elementary school paraprofessionals.
  7. We recommend that Oregon direct education funding to strengthen our public schools and deny public funding for the expansion of private charter and for profit schools, vouchers of all types, social impact bonds, experimental Ed Tech programs, virtual schools and other schemes that weaken public schools while accelerating the privatization of public education.
  8. We support adequate funding of a full range of programs and services for all grade levels, including but not limited to art, music, band, choir, drama, dance, world language, bilingual programs, physical education, library services, civics, counseling, health services, and alternative education opportunities.
  9. We recognize that poverty is a systemic problem embedded in society at large and believe that schools can be responsive in addressing poverty-related traumas, including the effects on highly mobile students. Therefore, we recommend that funding be invested in PreK-12 wrap-around services including mentoring, after-school programs, counselors, culturally relevant curriculum and instruction, and critical race theory initiatives, and other programs that have been proven effective in assuring student success.
  10. We recommend that parameters be set on the types of personal student data collected and stored in the Statewide Longitudinal Database (SLD), that data be adequately protected, and that an audit be performed to establish a baseline and monitor the rising cost of maintaining the SLD in future years.
  11. We recommend that adequate funding be appropriated for every qualified student to be able to attend a public college, university or other post-secondary training tuition-free.
  12. We recommend legislation requiring school districts to protect our children from lead paint, lead in water, excessive screen time on computer devices, exposure of personal information through computer use, and other threats that may endanger their physical, mental, and emotional health.
  13. We support the provision of ongoing funding and resources to implement Senate Bill 13 (2017), which calls upon the Oregon Department of Education to develop a statewide curriculum relating to the Native American experience in Oregon (e.g. tribal history, tribal sovereignty, culture, treaty rights, socioeconomic experience and current events).[6]
  14. We recognize the importance of an ethnically, linguistically, and culturally diverse workforce, therefore, we demand ODE be held accountable to implement the Minority Teacher Educator Act of 1991.[7]
  15. We recommend legislation that guides Teachers Standards and Practices Commission to review current policies and procedures that are potential barriers to increasing bilingual teachers in schools.[8] We call on TSPC to analyze the testing and certification requirements as they compare to other states to review cultural and linguistic bias.
  16. We call for legislation to require public education instruction specific to racial exclusion and oppression in Oregon.
  17. We call for legislative change to eliminate the Essential Skills Requirement which acts as a barrier to graduation and return to credit-based graduation.[9]
  18. We call for legislation that funds public colleges and universities to accomplish their essential role to create responsible, informed, thoughtful and engaged citizens.
  19. We demand elimination of high stakes testing such as Common Core and Smarter Balanced testing (that take students from the classroom and from learning time) with a return to education and teacher based course-work and evaluation methods that provide for educated students as opposed to tested students.

[1] Oregon Department of Education, Quality Education Model Final Report, August 2018. https://www.oregon.gov/ode/reports-and-data/taskcomm/Documents/QEMReports/2018QEMReport.pdf

[2] Student Success Act: https://www.oregon.gov/ode/StudentSuccess/Pages/default.aspx

[3] STEAM Education: https://educationcloset.com/steam/what-is-steam/

[4] Statewide Longitudinal Data System (SLDS): https://www.oregon.gov/highered/research/Pages/SLDS.aspx

[5] In Lau v. Nichols,414 U.S. 563(1974), the Court unanimously held that the lack of supplemental language instruction for limited English proficiency students in public schools violated the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

[6] SB 13 Relating to Native American curriculum in schools: and declaring an emergency: https://olis.leg.state.or.us/liz/2017R1/Downloads/MeasureDocument/SB13

[7] SB 755 Oregon Minority Teacher Act: https://olis.leg.state.or.us/liz/2013r1/Downloads/CommitteeMeetingDocument/22478

[8] Oregon Teacher Standards and Practices Commission: https://www.oregon.gov/tspc/Pages/index.aspx

[9] The Essentials Skills requirements were adopted in 2008 by the State Board of Education. The rules required students to demonstrate proficiency in foundational skills in order to earn a diploma. In the past, graduation was primarily dependent on meeting credit requirements. https://www.ode.state.or.us/wma/teachlearn/testing/resources/essentialskills_faq_04092013.pdf