(Salem, OR) — Governor Kate Brown today detailed her support for House Bill 2166, which proposes equity-centered reforms for the early learning and K-12 education systems in Oregon, with a focus on creating culturally-responsive education settings for all Oregon children. The bill builds on the work of the Racial Justice Council’s Education Recovery Committee.
“As has become clear time and time again in the last twelve months, the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed and exacerbated the existing disparities in our early learning and education systems for students from Black, Indigenous, Latino, Latina, Latinx, tribal, and communities of color,” said Governor Brown.
“Education extends from cradle to career, as we work to give every child the opportunity to learn, grow, and achieve their full potential. Building a more just and equitable education system in Oregon will not be easy. But, together, we have an opportunity to take action this year to enact meaningful reforms that will shape the experiences and educational outcomes for this generation of students and those that follow.”
Governor Brown’s prepared remarks for the House Committee on Education are available here.
Key provisions of HB 2166 include:
- Creating an Early Childhood Suspension and Expulsion Prevention Program to serve as a centralized, statewide system for early care and education (ECE) programs to support stable, culturally-responsive, and developmentally appropriate placements, and prevent expulsion or suspension from these programs.
- Establishing Social Emotional Learning Content Standards to assure schools support students’ social and emotional abilities emphasizing strengths, resilience, and mental health. Mental health is a cornerstone of education, and part of a continuum of care needed to support student learning.
- Supporting Educator Equity by providing authority to the State Board of Education, in consultation with the Educator Advancement Council (EAC), to assist school districts in growing a diverse workforce in public schools; increase award amounts for the Oregon Teacher Scholars program to $10,000; and clarify in statute EAC membership and status as a state intergovernmental entity.
- Establishing Nontraditional Pathways to Licensure to increase access to licensure for those of culturally, linguistically, and socioeconomically diverse backgrounds while maintaining rigorous preparation standards and thereby broaden the potential pool of qualified applicants beyond that provided by traditional career pathways.