Urgent investments in summer learning and keeping students in the classroom | News

Oregon’s legislative education budget provides urgent investments in summer learning and keeping students in the classroom

SALEM – In response to challenges facing the state’s public education system, legislative leaders announced a funding program framework to make targeted investments that provide summer learning opportunities for students across the state, support teachers facing severe burnout, and protect school districts affected by wildfires.

“Schools must be safe and open to students and the adults who work with them for in-person learning five days a week because that’s best for ALL children and families,” said Sen. Lew Frederick (D-Portland), co-chair of the Education Subcommittee of the Joint Ways and Means Committee. “Times are tough for educators, children and families right now – by making significant investments now, we can move the needle and ensure that every child in Oregon has a meaningful educational experience and quality.”

“This budget will support our students and teachers who have gone through so much over the past two years with increased stress due to the pandemic,” said Rep. Susan McLain (D-Hillsboro), co-chair of the joint committee subcommittee on ways and means. on education. “We are working to ensure that our students can continue to meet in person and that we recruit and retain teachers so they have more time to give our children the education they deserve.”

Summer apprenticeship: Today, Senate Speaker Peter Courtney (D-Salem) and Senator Michael Dembrow (D-Portland) announced an investment of $150 million to keep Oregon children learning and active during the summer months.

“We need to be aggressive on education,” President Courtney said. “Our children have really been affected by this pandemic. We pushed hard for summer learning last year. Parents and teachers told us that it had a big effect on the children. Summer learning must become permanent.

“This is a big step forward for our students…but we can’t stop there. School all year must come.

The 2022 Summer Learning Program, included in the broader education funding program, will create grants for school districts and community organizations to provide summer learning programs and activities. These grants will be directed towards three specific investments:

  • K-8 summer enrichment grants, funding for enrichment activities, academic learning, and mental health support for children.
  • Summer academic grants for high schools, supporting summer programs that help high school students stay on track to graduate.
  • Summer Community Activity Grants, helping our community partners deliver new or existing summer activities such as day camps, park programs and tutoring.

Additional programs may be included as details are finalized. More information on this package will become available during the last week of the 2022 legislative session.

Solving Oregon’s Education Labor Shortage: Oregon educators work tirelessly to provide our students with the best education possible. Unfortunately, schools are experiencing severe staff shortages, due in part to the pandemic.

To address this shortage, the funding program includes a significant investment in Oregon’s educational workforce to increase the number of teachers, substitute teachers and other school staff in Oregon. . This new funding will introduce a new recruitment and retention grant program to support the hiring of new school staff and address burnout. Another grant program will be put in place to reimburse substitute teachers and teacher assistants for the cost of their training.

“The stress of the pandemic has shown us that we need to act immediately to reduce teacher burnout and eliminate teacher and substitute teacher shortages,” said Sen. Michael Dembrow (D-Portland), chairman of the Senate Committee on Education. “We need to give teachers more time to teach, attract and retain more good teachers and staff, break down bureaucratic hurdles, and hire more substitute teachers by finding trained Oregonians and retired educators looking for jobs. part-time job.”

“This is a first step in addressing a long-standing need,” said Rep. Teresa Alonso Leon (D-Woodburn), chair of the House Education Committee. “The bill will provide important infrastructure and funding that will make a difference for this school year and next, but we are committed to finding longer-term solutions in future sessions so that our students and teachers can continue to to succeed.”

“Students learn best when they learn in healthy, safe classrooms five days a week,” said Rep. Courtney Neron (D-Washington County/Wilsonville), vice chair of the House Committee on Education. “The plan we have put forward will help ensure that we support our teachers who work so hard to help children thrive.

Support school districts affected by wildfires: The devastating 2020 wildfire season has burned over a million acres and destroyed thousands of Oregon homes and businesses. Many families who have been displaced by these fires have not been able to return to their communities. As a result, several of the school districts in these wildfire-affected communities have experienced a sharp drop in enrollment, which has resulted in a significant decrease in their overall funding.

The Education Funding Program sends additional resources to these school districts to ensure that their funding remains stable over the next several years. This support will allow them to continue to operate and provide essential services to displaced families as communities rebuild.

“Keeping kids safe and learning is one of our most important jobs,” said Sen. Jeff Golden (D-Ashland). “That means making sure school districts fully recover from the fiscal and emotional devastation of the wildfires. This budget takes up that challenge. We are there for children and their schools when they need us, now and in the future.

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