Clackamas educators consider how to poise students for success

About 300 educators who gathered recently in Happy Valley for a county education summit were told they could face tougher new standards for their students as the state steps up efforts to improve public schools.

Rudy Crew, the state’s chief education officer, told the Clackamas Education Summit at the New Hope Church that the state was pressing its 40-40-20 goal that by 2025, 40 percent of adult Oregonians have earned at least a bachelor’s degree; 40 percent have earned an associate’s degree or postsecondary credential; and 20 percent have earned at least a high school diploma. The session was held Sept. 18.

Bill Korach, Lake Oswego School District superintendent, told the audience he supported the plan and urged educators across the state to do the same.

“Why should we put ourselves on the line for it? It matters,” Korach said during his speech at the summit. “Nothing, and I mean nothing, is more important than the education, safety and well-being of our children, and I bet there’s nobody in this room that disagrees with me.”

Korach said school districts need to set “realistic” and “very ambitious goals.”

“You cannot bring about system-wide, systematic change without a coherent, interconnected statewide system where all the parts work in concert to get the results you’re trying to get,” Korach said.

Although he credited the efforts of Crew, Gov. John Kitzhaber and new Deputy Superintendent of Public Instruction Rob Saxton, Korach said what is likely to have the greatest impact will not be bureaucratic.

“This new vision for Oregon can only work if we’re all in,” Korach said. “We have to be all in. You can’t mandate what really matters. What matters right now is we all work together to try to make this a reality.”

Ultimately, Korach said, the most important thing for Clackamas districts and others throughout Oregon will be collaboration.

“I think we need to challenge and support the heck out of each other,” Korach said. “I know that’s not a very full-blown vision, but that’s where I would start.”

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