Jackson County, Ore. -- With four kids in the Central Point School District, Tiffany Idiart is worried about a new report just released by the U.S. Census Bureau. She said of her children in schools "I have a daughter in 7th grade, a son in 5th, a daughter in 3rd, and a daughter in kindergarten."
The report shows Oregon is spending on education at an all time low rate compared to the national average. Idiart said "that is concerning when I hear we don't have as much funding."
Oregon's spending on education declined in the 2009-2010 school year and again in 2011-2012. It's the lowest Oregon schools have been funded since record keeping started. That caused Idiart to question "what is it that they are missing out on?"
Oregon Chief Education Officer Nancy Golden says decreased funds, bigger class sizes, and shorter school years may be why Oregon has one of the worst high school graduation rates. But she told us in December the state's working to rectify that. She said "it's about the state shaking hands with these communities saying we are going to provide support and we are going to provide investment." She said parents also can help do their part. "Read with your children, interact with them. As students are reading by a 3rd grade level they have a three times as much of a chance to go to college."
The Oregon Legislature also helped out in the 2013 session. They approved more than $700-million dollars of additional state funding to go to education. Something Idiart says she agrees with "any boosts in their ability to teach our children is wonderful so that is good news."
It will be about two years before researchers will be able to see if the increase in spending will help Oregon schools get closer to the national average.