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Rethinking education

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Wednesday, February 01, 2006


As a state legislator and 12-year faculty member at Portland Community College I appreciated your roundtable concerning Oregon’s education challenges [TAKING ISSUE WITH EDUCATION, January]. The observation by Morgan Anderson of Intel that “higher education has taken the brunt of the cuts” is especially significant and we ignore it at our peril.

Intellectual capital is a necessary condition of economic competitiveness and investing in higher education is critical to Oregon’s future. Unfortunately, what I observed in my freshman legislative session was something of an obsession with K-12 funding and paucity of focus on our system of higher education. We must broaden public discussion of education in Oregon to consistently include investment in higher education. --Larry Galizio State representative, House District 35 Tigard

Many participants in the education roundtable did not address an integral element to overall improvement of student achievement familial background and support. I was a teacher for 34 years. Of all the challenges I faced, the one most difficult to overcome was a student’s preschool experiences and value of education. These two factors were largely out of my hands.

Schools should be accountable for student progress and they are. As a teacher and now as district curriculum assistant, I have seen standards raised and assessments required at all levels.

To improve high school graduation rates and students’ employment skills, all plans need to include ways to enhance the pre-school experiences of high-risk students. Support services, like parenting classes, educational daycare programs and pediatric health care, should be available. Public education also needs a stable source of funding to meet all the challenges of the 21st century.

-- Jim Harrington
Grants Pass School District


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