Andrea Castillo, The Oregonian
Oregonians need to begin thinking of education like a market economy, said Rudy Crew, Oregon’s chief education officer. Parents and students must speak up about what they want before improvements can be supplied.
Crew spoke at a public town hall meeting at Liberty High School in Hillsboro on Wednesday night.
He said parents are typically quiet until their children are affected negatively. But they need to begin asking for change, rather than simply showing up to discussion forums.
“Speak up and be constructive,” he said. “You are a demand market, not a supply market.”
The best way for parents to provide input is to organize in a way that maximizes communication, he said. Parent teacher associations and organizations are examples of such a venue but have been far too passive in the past.
Crew said budget cuts shouldn’t result in cutting arts and extracurricular programs. Rather, budgets need to be reworked so that they are getting the absolute most out of their money because cutting creativity leaves adolescents vulnerable to the pressures of a “seductive world.”
He said the state’s funding formula needs to be reevaluated.
“We fund things on how many bodies walk through the door,” he said, “not how well they did when they walked out.”
Crew said Oregon has strong leadership in public education, but needs change in order to close the achievement gap.
“It almost sounds like something out of Dickens,” he said. “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”