Private sector shapes education reform

| Print |  Email
Articles - September 2011
Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The 21st century knowledge economy may be pushing business and education closer together. And yet, the specter of privatization is one of the controversial aspects of Oregon’s new reforms. As Donegan puts it: “The challenge is how do you preserve the public mission that we hold sacred while also enabling new sources of funding in response to disinvestment?”

Although Donegan was referring specifically to the higher education restructuring act, such concerns run especially high in the K-12 arena, where many educators balk at the idea of outsourcing teaching to for-profit schools, “an idea that at the core cuts against public education as a responsibility of the whole,” says Dembrow. Touting more efficient governance as the solution to student achievement also diminishes the role money plays in shoring up the state’s educational system, says Rebecca Levison, former president of the Portland Association of Teachers. “Businesses talk about giving people more choice and autonomy,” she says. “But real choice, real reform, means actually funding music and physical education.”

Now that most of Oregon’s education reforms have become law, policymakers must begin to consolidate boards and create new ones, set achievement goals, and redirect funding to targeted education sectors. Business leaders say they will continue to be active players in the process. The Oregon Business Association’s Angi Dilkes has taken a part-time postion with the governor’s office to help with the transition, and the Oregon Idea is considering a variety of strategies going forward, including “creating more of an army to focus on the 2012 Legislature,” advocating for specific higher education appropriation levels, and targeting particular capital projects, says Francesconi. (It is no coincidence that U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan will be the keynote speaker at the OBA’s annual Statesman Dinner this fall).

Another goal is to address what Deckert refers to as “the cost drivers robbing education: unsustainable growth in corrections and health benefits.” Economic growth is the best way to bring money into the system, Deckert adds, noting that a key objective of education reform is to create lots of high-wage “knowledge workers,” who then pay higher income taxes. “That’s your funding source,” he says.  So far, that kind of market-based approach to shoring up Oregon education has prevailed.

But even business leaders wonder whether the new real-world reforms will actually produce the desired educational and financial results. “The business community has made education their issue and that’s reason for optimism,” says Donegan. “But most of the work is still ahead of us.”



 

More Articles

Three problems with Obama's immigration order

News
Wednesday, November 26, 2014

BY NISHANT BHAJARIA | OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR112614-immigration-thumb

By now, anyone who knows about it has a position on President Obama’s executive order on immigration. The executive order is the outcome of failed attempts at getting a bill through the normal legislative process. Both Obama and his predecessor came close, but not close enough since the process broke down multiple times.


Read more...

Leading with the right brain

News
Tuesday, December 09, 2014
120914-manderson-thumbBY LINDA BAKER

On the eve of the Portland Ad Federation's Rosey Awards, Matt Anderson, CEO of Struck, talks about the transition from creative director to CEO, the Portland talent pool and whether data is the new black in the creative services sector.


Read more...

Dan and Louis Oyster Bar opens up to a changing neighborhood

The Latest
Thursday, December 11, 2014
121114-oystervidBy MEGHAN NOLT

VIDEO: Revamping a Classic — an iconic eatery stays relevant in a changing marketplace.


Read more...

Corner Office: Sheree Arntson

January-Powerbook 2015
Saturday, December 13, 2014

Checking in with the managing director of Arnerich Massena.


Read more...

OB Poll: Wineries and groceries

News
Friday, October 24, 2014

24-winethumbA majority of respondents agreed: Local vineyards should remain Oregon-owned and quality is the most important factor when determining where to eat or buy groceries.


Read more...

Healthcare pullback

News
Thursday, November 20, 2014
112014-boehnercare-thumbBY JASON NORRIS | OB CONTRIBUTOR

Each month for Oregon Business, we assess factors that are shaping current capital market activity—and what they mean to investors. Here we take a look at two major developments regarding possible rollbacks of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).


Read more...

Editor's Letter: Power Play

January-Powerbook 2015
Thursday, December 11, 2014

There’s a fascinating article in the December issue of the Harvard Business Review about a profound power shift taking place in business and society. It’s a long read, but the gist revolves around the tension between “old power” and “new power” as a driver of transformation. Here’s an excerpt:

Old power works like a currency. It is held by few. Once gained, it is jealously guarded, and the powerful have a substantial store of it to spend. It is closed, inaccessible, and leader-driven. It downloads, and it captures.

New power operates differently, like a current. It is made by many. It is open, participatory, and peer-driven. It uploads, and it distributes. Like water or electricity, it’s most forceful when it surges. The goal with new power is not to hoard it but to channel it.

The authors, Henry Timms and Jeremy Heimans, don’t necessarily favor one form of power over another but merely outline how power is transitioning, and how companies can take advantage of these changes to strengthen their positions in the marketplace. 

Our Powerbook issue might be viewed as a case study in the new-power transition. This annual book of lists provides information on leading businesses, nonprofits and universities in the state. Most of the featured companies are entrenched power players now pursuing more flexible and less hierarchical approaches to doing business. Law firms, for example, are adopting new technologies and fee structures to make legal services more accessible and affordable.

This month we also take a look at a controversial new U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission rule requiring public companies to disclose the median pay of workers, as well as the ratio between CEO and median-worker pay. 

Part of the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial reform law, the rule will compel public companies to be more open about employee compensation, with the assumption that greater transparency will improve corporate performance and, perhaps, help address one of the major challenges of our time: income inequality.

New power is not only about strategy and tactics, the Harvard Business Review authors say. “The ultimate questions are ethical. The big question is whether new power can genuinely serve the common good and confront society’s most intractable problems.”

That sounds like a call to arms. Or a New Year’s resolution. Old power or new, the goals are the same: to be a force for positive change in the world. Happy 2015!

— Linda


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS