One of the biggest challenges facing Oregon students today can't be measured by standardized tests, and won't be fixed by the latest experimental fad coming from the corporate education “reform” cabal. The truth is that the surest thing we can do to improve education for all Oregon students is this: Eliminate poverty.
Because of the recession—caused by Wall Street greed—an unacceptably high number of Oregon students are coming to school hungry, homeless, and/or without access to health care. Their families are sleeping in cars or on couches, and their parents are working multiple minimum-wage jobs, so they aren’t available to help prepare their kids for the school day.
The numbers are staggering. This year, Oregon counted 20,545 students who are experiencing homelessness—that’s double the number of homeless kids since the 2003-2004 school year. Oregon’s poverty rate is more than 14%, but for children under the age of 6, the poverty rate is closer to 25%.