Education is vitally important to the health and well-being of our communities. Young people need an education so that they can return to their roots, start businesses, contribute to their communities through volunteerism and an understanding of the complex issues facing small communities, and with the tools to make a difference. Oregon Promise is a great way for students to begin, but we can do more. We should make sure that busses running between Community College campuses and out to our smallest communities are available and run when students need them. We should expand the offerings for an A.A. degree. We should make it easier to afford getting your B.A. at an Oregon public university, or receive training at a trade school.
As for K-12, we need to offer a world-class education that fits individual needs and that inspires students to graduate. School should fit instructional methods to the learning styles and interests of students, making school so interesting that students are excited to learn, and look forward to attending. Students must not only feel safe, but be safe. No one should be afraid to speak up in class, be afraid that they will be humiliated in front of peers or fear that they will fall behind and never catch up. They should have safe places to go and adults to talk to when bullied, so that the bullying can be addressed and stopped. Appropriate processes should be in place for when students feel vulnerable, effective coping mechanisms taught, and cooperative behaviors should be taught so that inclusiveness is the default response of all students and staff.
In addition, true local control over schools, including how subjects are taught and what (accurate) content is learned, the school calendar, and every aspect of the school day should be up to the local community and school staff. Schools will want to meet the standards for entrance into all types of higher education; they should be free to do so in the ways that fit each community best and to learn from each other’s experiences.