Over the past six weeks, over 100 school board members, school administrators, teachers, parents, and students have traveled to Salem weekly to meet legislators to advocate for education funding. Education advocates from every corner of the state, from Hillsboro to Tillamook, Medford to The Dalles, spoke with their legislators to advocate for a $2 billion increase in funding for K-12 schools. Advocates also met with members of the Joint Committee on Student Success to inform their decision-making as they shape an education funding package.
To convey to legislators the need for more funding for our schools, advocates shared their personal experiences in the education system — from students talking about how the lack of resources directly impacts educational opportunities in their school, to school board members discussing the tough decisions they have to make because of a lack of funding.
These advocacy days have been a critical piece of Oregonians for Student Success’ work to advocate for full funding of Oregon’s schools. Fully funding our schools will allow us to raise graduation rates, reduce class sizes, hire more teachers and counselors, expand career and technical education, and improve support and mental health services for students.
More supports for mental health was a recurring need shared by both students and teachers. They stressed the need for increased counseling supports and more social-emotional learning to help identify and intervene when students are struggling or in crisis, and to prevent classroom disruptions and room clears that impact every student.
These advocacy days were paired with a series of 10 Education Funding Town Halls throughout the state that allowed education advocates to come together to share their stories and priorities for education funding. Oregonians for Student Success will continue to engage legislators, school board members, teachers, parents, and students throughout the legislative session as critical decisions around education funding are made.