Student Success committee shut down, plus other news and notes
Tuesday, August 13, 2019
Things keep moving along this interim! Normally August is a slow month for the Capitol, but the Student Success Act implementation is keeping education stakeholders busy. There isn’t one specific thing worth focusing on this week, but rather a bunch of small things that deserve attention.
Senate President Peter Courtney made his committee appointments for the 2019 interim. Notably, there was no appointment to the Joint Committee on Student Success. That committee, appointed in early 2018 jointly by Courtney and House Speaker Tina Kotek, crafted and delivered the Student Success Act. Considering the size and scope of that legislation, it is a little bit surprising that the committee will not continue forward. But calls to Courtney’s office confirmed that there are no plans for the committee to be reconvened. Presumably, any follow-up legislation to the Student Success Act will go through the education policy committees in the relevant chamber.
The Student Success Act was back in the news last week, focusing on the hiring of the first staffer for all the bill’s work. Tamara Dykeman, formerly of the Legislative Policy and Research office in the Legislature, and before that the Teacher Standards and Practices Commission, is an excellent choice. She is regarded as qualified and capable, which is important considering how much work she, and everyone else at the Oregon Department of Education, will have to do!
Speaking of the Student Success Act, implementation meetings with education stakeholders continue. ODE staff, including Scott Nine, are preparing a toolkit for school districts to implement the bill. OSBA and the Confederation of Oregon School Administrators, among others, have been working closely with ODE to provide feedback. The department has targeted release of the toolkit, at least in a draft version, within two weeks.
Also, the first legislative retirement since the session’s close has been announced. Rep. Jeff Barker, longtime representative from Washington County, announced he will not be running for re-election in 2020. When Barker was elected in 2002, his district, like most of Washington County, was solidly Republican. Barker, a retired Portland police officer, was the first Democrat to win in that part of the state in a long time, signaling a change that has led to strong majorities for Democrats in that entire part of the state. He is known for his work as chair of the powerful Judiciary Committee, and for being a considered, honest, and dedicated legislator. He demonstrated the ability to be both practical and cut deals, but also stand up for his beliefs, even when it was at odds with other members of his party. The people of House District 28 could not have asked for a better representative, and he will be missed.
Other retirement announcements may soon follow. There are rumors that some longer-tenured members will not run again. Campaigns for would-be replacements are advertising on social media for staff for the 2020 primary season.
One last note: our OSBA Fall Regionals are coming! Mark your calendars for your local meeting. You can find date and location information on our OSBA website. Please plan to attend, and I’ll look forward to seeing you there.