(Guest Post by Matthew Ladner)
The plot thickens in the Pacific Northwest with this very interesting story from the Portland Oregonian about Governor John Kitzhaber’s K-12 reform plans. It turns out that Governor Kitzhaber fought a major education reform push back in the 1990s that was swallowed by systemic inertia. The plan now:
Kitzhaber envisions the board using financial incentives to shift the focus of public education from what he calls “seat time” to learning. The board might, for example, financially reward districts for each student, whether 15 or 18, who meets high school exit standards…A more individualized approach to education would be more efficient by allowing some students to advance faster while reducing needs for remediation, said Duncan Wyse, president of the Oregon Business Council who is helping Kitzhaber design a budget based on outcomes. It also fits the growing diversity of Oregon’s school population and suits learning for the 21st Century better than the current system rooted in the 19th Century, he said.
Kitzhaber’s plan is still taking shape, could still be crushed by the blob, and is a good ways off from Indiana’s reform touchdown. Nevertheless, there is more than one path to the top of the mountain, and Governor Kitzhaber has obviously recognized the urgent need to improve the achievement of Oregon public school students.
Read the Oregonian story, and keep an eye on Kitzhaber.