OREGON HOUSE REPUBLICANS
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 2, 2011
Contact: Nick Smith
HOUSE EDUCATION COMMITTEE HEARS
FLORIDA-STYLE EDUCATION REFORMS
SALEM—The House Education Committee today resumes hearings on proposed education reforms modeled on those implemented in Florida. Rep. Matt Wingard (R-Wilsonville) says the committee will examine individual components of the Florida reforms to consider how they can help boost student achievement in Oregon.
“Florida students have outperformed the national average on improvement in reading and math, with minority and low-income students showing the greatest progress,” said Rep. Wingard, the committee’s co-chair. “As we look to reform Oregon’s education system, we should examine measures that have worked in other states. If these reforms can work in Florida, they can work for Oregon’s kids.”
The committee on Monday heard HB 2289 that would assign letter grades to schools based on student achievement. The bill would allow Oregonians to track the progress of their schools and allow parents to seek better educational opportunities if their children attend schools that consistently fail.
Today the committee will hear HB 2293 to require annual assessments of reading ability for students in the first, second and third grades. The bill would ban the practice of “social promotion” by requiring schools to retain students in the third grade if they can’t demonstrate basic reading skills. Retained students would receive additional support under the bill.
On Friday the committee will hear HB 2290 to allow parents of children with disabilities to enroll them in public or private schools outside their school districts; HB 2291 to create a tax credit for contributions to organizations that help low-income and disabled students attend private school; and HB 3549 to better enable professionals to teach in classrooms without the normal licensing requirements. The committee will also examine HB 2294 to reward schools whose students excel on advanced placement tests.
“Oregon’s educational system should promote choice, accountability and innovation,” Rep. Wingard said. “It’s time we make significant changes to help our kids achieve a better future. That’s why we’ll continue to look at reforms in Florida and other states that are working, and consider how Oregon students can share in the success.”