Decades of Disinvestment: The state of school funding in Oregon is an overview of how schools in Oregon are funded, and it illustrates the consequences of disinvestment in public education.
Years of recession-related cuts and decades of disinvestment have taken a toll: Instead of making public education a priority, Oregon has some of the largest classes, shortest school years, and lowest graduation rates in the country.
In this tale of two cities, the stark differences between sufficient and insufficient school funding — and the impact that has on student success — is clear.
Here are some key findings from the report:
- Education Week ranked Oregon 35th in school funding, with a D+ grade.
- During the 2014-2015 school year, Oregon had the 3rd largest classes in the country.
- During the 2014-2015 school year, Oregon students averaged 169.9 days in the classroom, 2 full weeks shorter than what is required by most states.
- Oregon used to offer more than 1,200 career and technical education programs, but now there are fewer than 700 statewide — that’s a 48% cut in CTE programs offered.
- Since 2008, one in 20 schools has closed or consolidated, which means fewer kids are going to neighborhood schools and transportation costs are higher.
- During the 2013-14 school year, Oregon’s graduation rate was 4th lowest in the country.
There’s no denying the research: Public education is a good investment. People with more education tend to get better jobs, earn more money, and be in better health, and education fuels economic growth. Yet, Oregon continues to fall short: The Quality Education Model, the guiding document behind school funding in Oregon, identified a $2 billion funding gap for 2017-19.
Oregon’s education system needs major investments, especially if we want our students to have the same opportunities as others from across the country.