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Fair and Balanced Discussion from Southern Oregon

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

KDRV profiles and Commentary 

Tonight, we got a look at each of the candidates in the race for House 06. I would LOVE for voters who saw these segments to comment on what they saw. I'll chime in with more later!

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Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Candidate Forum #1 

We had a candidate forum Last night at the Medford City Council Chambers. There are two more coming up - Sep 30 at the Ashland Council Chambers and Oct 5 again in Medford. All are being aired on RVTV.

Coverage for my particular race was the final grafs...
Doty, who is a teacher at Crossroads school, said he is running because decisions made in Salem affect his ability to educate. "For me as a teacher, it is very personal to close a school for 10 days," he said.

Esquivel, who is currently a state senator, said that with the financial problems plaguing the state, it is very difficult to be a legislator. "You have to know how to build consensus," he said. "You have to roll up your sleeves and get the work done."

Responding to an audience question, Esquivel said he thought students from other countries should be immersed in English-speaking families. He cited his father, who immigrated to the county, as an example of someone who urged his own children to learn English as fast as possible.

"Should we teach bilingual — I don’t think so," said Esquivel.

Doty said he supported bilingual education, although acknowledging it’s a big cost for schools. "The price tag is high and the imperative is high," he said.

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Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Oregon gets the Silver... in Absenteeism 

Well, despite some really GOOD things in the State Dept of Education report card (like #2 in SAT scores among states with more than 50% of seniors taking the test...), Oregon comes in #2 in another area that isn't so good... students not coming to school. According to a a statewide survey conducted by the Chalkboard Project, Oregon trails only Kentucky in absentee rates, with a state wide avg of 88% attendance (based on enrollment numbers).
"Despite these startling numbers, absenteeism hasn't really broken to the surface in any of Oregon's recent school improvement efforts, said Sue Hildick, Chalkboard Project's president. "After nearly a year of exhaustive research, our studies show that even the strongest education program will struggle to improve achievement if students do not show up for class. There is a direct link between attendance and achievement. The key is getting parents engaged."

Chalkboard's own recent state-wide survey revealed that 83% of Oregonians believe that "not enough direct parent support of the learning process with their children" is a big or very big obstacle to the success of public schools.


As an educator and former marginal student, let me toss MY thoughts into this one...

ONE: It isn't the academic offerings that get kids wanting to be in school. It's the other stuff - friends, music, sports, clubs, etc... except for the friends, we CUT all of that to various degrees.

TWO: Schools can only tackle attendance proactively if they are staffed with enough people to make the tracking and contact work happen. Oh, we CUT those people, too...

THREE: Schools are NOT responsible for the behavior of children, at least not as much as PARENTS... Oh wait, we have given them an economy that forces dual-income households for survival, leaving youth unsupervised, unregulated, and unconsequenced in many homes... apparently about 12% of homes...

It's time for a change.

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THIS is why we need change... 

So in today's MMT (attention drawn to it thanks to Keith Hinty at the Jefferson Exchange), we find a very distressing fact: Nearly half of the students attending schools in Medford meet the poverty standard to qualify for free or reduced lunches.
The number is on the rise, said Julie York, Medford schools’ special services supervisor. York oversees federal programs designed to help low-income students.

"This is my fifth year with the district, and the average was 33 percent when I started," she said.

Countywide, 40 percent of public school children were eligible for free or reduced-price meals last year, Children First for Oregon, a statewide advocacy group reported in December.

Families that make up to 130 percent of the federal poverty level qualify for free meals. Last year that was $15,756 for a two-person household or $23,920 for a family of four. Reduced- price meals are offered for students whose families make up to 185 percent of the federal poverty level — $22,422 for a two-person household or $34,040 for four.
This is a series of reinforcing events, folks... as school funding drops and employers can't recruit solid employees in Oregon (cuz who want's to work in a town where their kids don't have good schools?), the economy sags... which means the sole tax we depend on to fund education continues to drop... which means school funding continues to suffer... and round and round it goes.

It's been a decade and a half since the GOP took control of the Oregon Legislature. It's time for a change.

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Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Kerry Sign theft, but more importantly... 

In today's Trib, we see the petty little crap that can happen in a campaign... I am annoyed when I see opposing lawn signs, but taking them is simply lousy.

Now the other thing in the article that caught my eye is this:
Bryan Platt, chairman of the Jackson County Republican Central Committee, said he had heard of only one report of Bush/Cheney signs taken recently.

He pointed out that there aren’t many locally, however, because the Bush/Cheney campaign has selected Sept. 11 as the big day for putting up signs.

"Frankly, it's frustrating for us," he said. "We’ve been raring to go."

Platt said the campaign believes it will have more of a psychological impact to put up all the signs at one time.


Now Platt is correct that coordinated deployment of signage has a great impacting effect, but is it me (it may be...), or is Sept. 11 a cynically interesting choice? (yeah, I know it's the first Saturday after Labor day, but...)

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