In our recently released Conditions Report we make the case that Oregon's education system is mediocre and is at risk of falling further behind other states. This legislative session, with the help of many partners, we are hopeful that the state will build on promising practices and help ensure that every Oregon child receives the best education we can offer. Please take a look at the Conditions Report and then check out our Advocacy Tool to see what the legislature will be considering this session.
The Condition of K-12 Education

Earlier this month, Chalkboard released its latest report on the "Condition of K-12 Education" in Oregon. The report illustrates how Oregon is doing compared to other states and also highlights areas for improvement. 

Here are some key take-aways from the report:

  • In the early 2000s, Oregon was in the top tier among all states in its eighth-grade reading and math scores. By 2009, Oregon's eighth-grade scores had fallen to the middle of the pack. In the early 2000s, Oregon was in the middle of the pack among all states in its fourth-grade reading and math scores. By 2009, the state's fourth-grade scores had fallen to the bottom tier of states. Oregon's scores are not getting worse; other states are improving more quickly.
  • About 45 percent of Oregon K-12 students were part of low-income families in 2009, almost twice the percentage of 1998. Yet Oregon schools with the highest proportions of low-income students have less experienced teachers, and lose them more quickly, than other schools.
  • High school graduation rates among students of color continue to lag behind those of white students. While 88 percent of white students graduated on time in 2009, only 72 percent of African-American students did.
Read the press release.

Download Chalkboard's K-12 Condition Report.
Springfield is Setting High Standards
Springfield is the most recent district to join the CLASS Project, but they have already made progress on one of the most significant components: educator evaluations. Springfield's new evaluation program launched in the fall of 2007.

A collaborative effort, the redesign of the evaluation system began in 2005 when teachers and administrators spent time with a nationally recognized evaluation framework that set clear standards for what effective teaching "looks like". Now, Springfield has an evaluation system that is based on such clear standards and provides ongoing feedback and growth to all teachers, whether they be beginning teachers or 20-year veterans.

The new evaluation system is gaining attention around the state and was profiled in the most recent issue of Today's OEA. Read the article.

Here's a quick snapshot of what's been happening on ChalkBloggers:

The Ideal Qualities of a Principal, Ruth Wallin 

A great school has at its core, I believe, a strong leader. Great schools, like winning teams, have leaders with coordinated plans of action, intimate knowledge of the skills of players and a determined, focused eye on outcome. I've been in a few schools and have seen the styles of quite a few principals. All principals want their school to churn out successful students. Read more...

A Melancholic Verse for Public School,  

Merry Ann Moore
O, Public School, how I loved thee much more,
Before my first-born in his youthful sap trotted through thine kindergarten door.

Ten autumns, Public School, of promise and betrayal,
This year a teacher of genius, the next one beyond the pale, Read more...

Senator: A Promise for a Promise, Todd Jones 
This past election I received 146 political mailings. They contained hundreds of promises, including vows to support businesses and seniors, improve healthcare and education, and reduce taxes and regulations. Beautiful promises all. But not one of the promises was to cut public programs or raise taxes. Troubling, since state and national fiscal crises suggest we must do both. Read more...

What's the Plan for Dealing With Budget Cuts?, Stasia Honnold
Even though I'm not teaching this year, I often miss having students. I miss the personal connections with kids and their parents; I miss having my own classroom, a safe space for learning and exploration. I miss the creativity of lesson planning and the challenge of developing good curriculum. Read more...

A Dream Deferred, Sandy Ludeman

The Senate has defeated the "Dream Act" (The Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act).  This legislation offers a path to citizenship for children who arrived in the United States illegally as minors (under 15 years old).  One of those paths is through completing a college degree. 

Our Voices, Our Schools

Johannah Withrow-Robinson is an apprentice in the Arbor Middle School teacher-training program. The program is a collaboration between Arbor and Marylhurst University that combines traditional study with a two-year teaching apprenticeship.  

What are some of your favorite aspects of the Arbor Teacher-Training Program?

One of the most essential aspects of the Arbor apprenticeship is that the apprentices spend so much time in the classroom throughout our MAT program. We get to apply the knowledge that we gather, from the reams of paper we read about theory and case studies, into our lessons and our interactions with students the next day. It is also wonderful to be in such small seminar classes (there are 4 apprentices) where everyone knows each others' students, lessons, and what we struggle with. We spend a lot of time talking and thinking about ideas we could implement into specific aspects of our classrooms.

What excites you most about becoming a teacher?

Teaching, I am finding, is a science. I didn't know I would be using my skills of observation and deduction so literally everyday. It is exciting to create a lesson plan with a hypothesis of what the students will learn and achieve, and then bring in 20 variables (the students) and see if they all come to the conclusions about static electricity or Newton's second law that I had intended them to reach. I am also excited to come to school everyday and see the students- to help them work through a tough problem, to see how they've changed since the day before, to hear their opinions and ideas.

What advice would you give to an aspiring new teacher?

I've realized that listening to students is just as important as having a good lesson or a good grasp of the material. You've got to be ready to open your ears and hear what your students know and are confused about, and what they need to learn.

January 2011
In This Issue
The Condition of K-12 Education
Springfield is Setting High Standards
Our Voices, Our Schools
Planning with our National Partners
Help Support Oregon's Teachers
What's Next for Chalkboard
Planning with our National Partners

Last week, representatives from Mathematica Research, Inc. and Westat, our national partners and technical assistance providers for the TIF grant, were in town. The Mathematica and Westat teams came out to meet with our local partners and school districts, helping to plan and answer questions about the coming year.



Mathematica Research, Inc. and Westat have provided assistance to previous Teacher Incentive Fund grantees and have a great deal of knowledge and expertise when it comes to new evaluation and compensation models.


A big thank you to Dr. Allison McKie-Seifullah and Dr. Kevin Booker from Mathematica as well as Dr. Chris Thorn and Jackson Miller, MPP from Westat.


Learn more about Mathematica and Westat by visiting their websites:

Help Support Oregon's Teachers 

The Oregon Mentoring Program is one of the most cost-effective ways we can invest in education. Mentoring for new teachers has been shown to increse student achievement and to improve teacher retention rates. Currently, nearly 40% of new teachers leave the profession within five years - at a cost of $45 million per year. For less than 1% of the education budget, the State can serve over 700 new educators per year through the Mentoring Program.

Help support mentoring by contacting your state representatives and asking them to make a commitment to education by pledging to support sustained funding for the Oregon Mentoring Program.

Use our online advocacy tool to easily email your legislators now.
What's Next for Chalkboard...

Feb 3-4
National TIF Meeting

Feb 23
CLASS Project Meeting

Feb 25
Advisory Council Meeting

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