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OR Educators Share Ideas for Transforming Schools

January 17, 2011

TIGARD, Ore. - Educators from across Oregon met with state and community leaders over the weekend to share ideas about how to improve schools despite looming cuts triggered by the state's $3.5 billion budget shortfall.

Teachers, administrators and leaders of PTAs and community groups got together Saturday to decide how they can work better together to help compensate for fewer education dollars.

Gov. John Kitzhaber gave some hints about his upcoming budget and told educators to expect cuts.

Nancy Golden, Kitzhaber's new chief education adviser, told the group she believes more collaboration is needed, not only between school administrators and teachers but also between PTAs and community organizations that help kids and families. She says many groups around the state are doing good work, so it's time to coordinate their efforts.

"That's why collaboration's so key. It's looking at what all these separate groups do and saying, 'Let's make it a smooth pathway from cradle to career.' And I think using collaboration, there's a lot more we can do."

The "cradle to career" education system being discussed would start with school readiness for toddlers and finish with every young adult well prepared for college or the workforce. Golden says the Legislature will be asked to do its part to make the system more effective.

"I think there'll be some legislation that needs to go forward, which we're just forming now. But I would say also ... it's really about people's will to work together. So it's just going to be a whole systems change that we need to put in place."

Golden plans to maintain her position as superintendent of the Springfield School District in addition to advising the governor.

The Oregon Education Association sponsored the symposium as part of a series of events aimed at improving student success.

Chris Thomas, Public News Service - OR