June 23, 2019, Oregonian: Opinion: New tax puts Oregon schools, students on stronger pathway to future https://www.oregonlive.com/opinion/2019/06/opinion-new-tax-puts-oregon-schools-students-on-stronger-pathway-to-future.html These are the stories we heard over and over during the past year on the legislative Student Success Committee. After touring 77 schools across the state, it’s clear there is a mental-health crisis in Oregon, blowing up classrooms with behavioral disorders and emotional outbursts. Why is this occurring? No one knows for sure. Maybe it’s because these kids were born during the recession and were traumatized by their parents’ job losses or families’ home foreclosures. Maybe it’s the explosion of electronic devices. Maybe it’s the fact that drugs –– legal and illegal –– have flooded our communities…. Funding education in Oregon has always reminded me of that story of the old man and the leaky roof. He doesn’t fix it in the winter because it’s raining. He doesn’t fix it in the summer because it isn’t leaking. During the last two decades, we’ve had two bad recessions. We couldn’t pass an education package during those recession years. We couldn’t pass it during the recovery years either. Critics say, ridiculously, when you fix graduation rates, then you’ll get our support. This law has dozens of metrics, including graduation rates, that tie positive outcomes to financial certainty. Oregon young people need help, not excuses. It’s time for us to fix our leaky roof. To make investing in education our highest priority. It’s worth it. Oregon’s brilliance and the ability of her people to prosper is directly dependent on quality education.
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