Education

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All this week, NPR is digging into high school graduation rates. Oregon has the lowest grad rate of any state - of less than 69 percent in 2013. Oregon's long-term plan to improve graduation rates starts really early - with preschoolers.

With the help of a family in OPB's "Class of 2025" project, Rob Manning looks at the difference preschool can make.

Recorded on: April 24th, 2015

Air Date: April 27th, 2015

Educators, administrators, policy makers, researchers, and parents in Eugene and across the nation are engaged in a lively debate about the Common Core State Standards and testing. The two separate but related issues include the Smarter Balanced tests now used in Oregon. In February, City Club members heard UO Professor Jerry Rosiek critique these initiatives, particularly noting the danger of relying too heavily on any system of testing to assess school productivity.

Rob Manning / OPB

We continue "Testing 1-2-3" today - OPB's occasional series on standardized testing in Oregon. Some younger students are already taking new the new federally-mandated tests. High schoolers will take them soon. There are questions about the time these Common Core tests will take.

An American flag, a University of Oregon banner, and posters with literary terms hang in the front of David Wilkinson's room at Beaverton's Westview High.... a typical English class. Wilkinson is leading his 11th graders through a college admissions essay.

Tiffany Eckert

About forty percent of the children eligible for head start programs in Lane County can’t get in. Today (Tuesday), Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley visited a head start center in Eugene. While there, he criticized cuts to early childhood education in a recent U.S. senate budget.

At the Whiteaker Head Start Center a classroom of pre-kindergarteners welcome Senator Merkley with a song.

(kids and teacher sing:”Mr. Merkley’s here today! We’ll all clap our hands because Mr. Merkley’s here today!”)

Then, he sits in a little chair with a classic children’s book.

eduventurist.org

Anya Kamenetz, who writes about education for NPR and is the author of several books on education, says parents are losing patience with standardized testing.

She'll present April 1st at 7 p.m. at Tsunami Books in Eugene on this and other educational topic.

More about Anya Kamenetz

Recorded on: February 20, 2015

Air Date: February 23, 2015

ArtCore is a new arts education program to be implemented in five Lane County Schools, through a partnership between the Educational Policy Improvement Center (EPIC), Lane Arts Council, the Springfield Public Schools and others. Ross Anderson, Senior Lead Researcher at EPIC, and Liora Sponko, executive director of Lane Arts Council, speak with Eric Alan about the $2.2 million program.

Oregon's public high school on-time graduation rates went up 3.3 percent in 2014 from the previous year. Eugene's 4J school district reports an 8 percent boost in the statewide survey released Thursday.

The state has changed the way it calculates graduation rates which may account for some of the improvement. Kerry Delf with Eugene 4J says the district also made progress in closing the achievement gap:

Eugene 4j teachers ratified a tentative three-year contract Monday night.  It now goes to the 4j School Board for final approval.  Mary Walston, a past board chair and bargaining team member, says the Board will vote on the contract at its October 15th meeting:

Walston:  "It includes a modest increase for staff in terms of cost-of-living and step increases.  They'll be some health benefit increases in the second and third year."

Eugene 4J School District

September 19, 2014 City Club of Eugene airs Monday, September 22, 2014 on KLCC.

Moving Oregon education forward requires both short- and long-term planning. Superintendent Berman will discuss some strategies that have the potential for helping along that forward movement. He will address their alignment with statewide strategic education initiatives such as the Common Core State Standards and the Smarter Balanced assessments.

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