Everyone can make a proven, significant difference for Lake Oswego children through school foundation giving.

“Among large and medium suburban district(s), only Lake Oswego has smaller classes ... the primary reason for those differences is simple: money. Lake Oswego, with its successful private foundation ... more money per student and use it to hire more teachers than other districts can afford,” as stated in The Oregonian, Feb. 16, in the article, “Where Portland schools have edge.”Brown

Recent studies by the Gates Foundation found teachers nationally report excessive class sizes are a significant barrier to doing a good job. By every measurement, year after year, Lake Oswego schools do more than just a good job. Our smaller class sizes make a tremendous and measurable difference for children.

Lake Oswego’s smaller class sizes are no accident. They are only possible through generous donations from parents and community members who understand what a terrific difference it makes when classes are small enough for children to get the attention they need. It makes a significant difference when classes are small enough for children to get their questions asked and answered, when students know they have a teacher who personally understands them and their learning style, where their strengths and weak areas are.

What a difference it made to my son and his desire to read in second grade when his teacher would recommend books she knew would be of particular interest to him. What a difference it made to my daughter when her teachers discovered her covering up a learning disability and taught her how to compensate, to overcome it and become the successful adult she is today. Those teachers cared deeply about my children, their students. Teachers overwhelmingly care, but the number of students in their charge determines whether they have the time to focus on individuals or whether they only have time to “teach to the middle.”

Ninety-eight percent of us moved to Lake Oswego for the great schools we have here, but Oregon chronically underfunds schools. Lake Oswegans have stepped up to fund our own by overwhelmingly passing a local option tax, but that still doesn’t allow our schools to achieve the support students in other states receive. Our children must compete with students across the U.S. and the world and the best way to support them now is through foundation giving.

Together, our generous foundation donations are the difference maker. More dollars attract the very top educators, who then put their skills to work in class sizes, which allow them to do their best work with children.

Answer the call, send in your pledge, join me and continue providing that extra ability to keep great teachers in smaller-sized classrooms where they will make a significant difference for Lake Oswego children.

Linda Brown, is a 28-year resident of Lake Oswego who spent 12 years as a member of the Lake Oswego School Board.

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