The 73-page Oregon Department of Education report compiles a state-level view of K-12 education data released throughout the year, including graduation rates, attendance data, student demographics and charter school information.
“While just a snapshot in time of our education system, I hope the data starts conversations about how together we can continue to improve our education system for every student,” Colt Gill, deputy superintendent of public instruction, said in a news release.
Oregon’s public school enrollment climbed to 580,690 students, about 79 percent of Oregon’s school-aged population. The elementary school student-teacher ratio declined slightly to 19 students per teacher, and the high school ratio dipped to 20.8. Middle school ticked up to 21. Median class size across school types has held steady for three years at 25.
The report highlights some successes around developing Oregon’s Every Student Succeeds Act plan, updating “at-a-glance” school and district report cards, and adding college, career and technical education support.
The report also showed more troubling data, including 21,756 homeless students, a 20 percent chronic absenteeism rate, and Oregon’s 77 percent graduation rate.
Oregon has increased the diversity of its teachers but not enough to keep pace with student diversity. Almost 38 percent of Oregon’s K-12 population are students of color, while less than 10 percent of teachers are educators of color.
The report also addresses funding, pointing out that most money goes into the classroom and less than 5 percent goes to district office administration and support services.
“Since the passage of Measure 5 in 1990, school resources per student have not kept pace with education cost increases,” the report said.
Gov. Kate Brown released her 2019-21 budget proposal Wednesday, with a balanced budget request for an $8.97 billion State School Fund that would roughly maintain current service levels and an investment request for $1.3 billion in additional early learning and K-12 education spending.
OSBA and other education advocates are pressing for revenue reform and cost containment to fund education. The Quality Education Model, a nonpartisan assessment of the costs of a high-quality Oregon education system, recommends Oregon spend $10.7 billion for 2019-21.