The trip includes schools in Happy Valley, Milwaukie and Clackamas, southeast of Portland. Committee members are holding their first public hearings in Oregon’s most populous region after trips to the Eugene area and eastern Oregon. On May 24, the committee will visit Woodburn.
The bipartisan committee is traveling Oregon to gather ideas for a legislative plan to adequately fund K-12 public schools while improving Oregon education. The Clackamas trip will use the same format as previous stops, with a student listening session, tours of schools and a local leaders roundtable. The committee will take public comments at a 7 p.m. hearing at the Clackamas High School auditorium.
“I hope to learn how North Clackamas School District was able to improve their graduation rates and decrease the achievement gap for students of color,” said Kotek (D-Portland) in an email. “I’ll be looking for best practices that are applicable statewide.”
Sen. Arnie Roblan and Rep. Barbara Smith Warner, committee co-chairs, said legislators have been learning about districts’ shared issues, such as class size concerns, classroom support needs, the importance of wrap-around services, the need for state-supported capital improvements, and career and technical education’s value.
Smith Warner (D-Portland) said the visits are showing that the Legislature must focus on a comprehensive education package.
“Everybody is going to feel like they are giving something, and everybody is going to feel like they are getting something,” Smith Warner said.
Roblan (D-Coos Bay) said the tours are helping legislators understand the issues better so they can build legislative consensus and constituent support. Roblan said the 14-member committee will probably form smaller groups to study issues in depth for legislation to be introduced next year.
The Student Success Committee’s approach was modeled on a bipartisan committee that passed a transportation package in 2017.
“Education is much more complex than transportation was,” Roblan said.