Home Back Issues September 2011 Private sector shapes education reform

Private sector shapes education reform

| Print |  Email
Articles - September 2011
Wednesday, August 24, 2011
Article Index
Private sector shapes education reform
Page 2
Page 3
Page 4

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

The Bookseller

November/December 2014
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
BY AMY MILSHTEIN

Everyone knows college is expensive, but a look at the numbers brings that into sharp — and painful — focus.


Read more...

Podcast: Turn Things Around with David Marquet

Contributed Blogs
Friday, October 17, 2014
davidmarquet thumbBY TOM COX | OB BLOGGER

How can you move from a command-and-control leadership model to one of true empowerment and accountability? David Marquet did, and he took notes along the way.


Read more...

Two Sides of the Coin

Contributed Blogs
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
22 twosidesBY JASON NORRIS

Historically, when the leaves fall, so do the markets. This year, earnings, Europe, energy and Ebola have in common? Beyond alliteration, they are four factors that the investors are pointing to for this year’s seasonal volatility.


Read more...

The short list: 5 companies making a mint off kale

The Latest
Thursday, November 20, 2014
kale-thumbnailBY OB STAFF

Farmers, grocery stores and food processors cash in on kale.


Read more...

Semiconductor purgatory

News
Monday, October 06, 2014
roundup-logo-thumb-14BY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR

Intel's manufacturing way station; Merkley's attack dog; Diamond Foods gets into the innovation business.


Read more...

Election Season

November/December 2014
Wednesday, October 22, 2014

We didn’t intend this issue to have an election season theme. But politics has a way of seeping into the cracks and fissures.


Read more...

Innovation: a critique

News
Wednesday, October 08, 2014
1008 innovation thumbBY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR

A Design Week panel discussion raises questions about how innovative we really are.


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