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On the Road

With Valerie Wilk

Recently, I traveled to two OEA higher education meetings: first with the Oregon EA Community College UniServ Council and then with the Ohio EA Higher Education Advisory Council. These meetings highlighted our affiliates’ involvement in higher education policymaking.

Oregon higher ed leaders continued their discussions about the status of Oregon's “40-40-20” plan, and next steps for their participation. The plan’s aim is that by the year 2025, 40 percent of Oregonians will have a bachelor's degree or higher, 40 percent an associate's degree or postsecondary credential, and 20 percent will have at least a high school diploma. The plan will shape state funding levels for education.

Oregon leaders talked about assumptions and performance measures in the “Oregon Framework for Measuring Student Success.” OEA Community College UniServ Council President Paul Fisher stated that the framework measures are dynamic and changing. He noted the importance of accurate measures, citing the example that currently students exiting the system without getting a degree are registered as a failure for that institution, even when their departure is due to getting a good job.

At the Ohio meeting, leaders discussed next steps for the Ohio Education Association's Higher Education Task Force. The task force, chaired by OEA Vice President Bill Leibensperger, includes OEA higher ed and K-12 leaders and staff and was formed to give input to state policymakers on Ohio's 10-year strategic plan for restructuring the University System of Ohio. Here, too, issues of quality, measurement, and evaluation are key, and OEA is engaged in these important discussions with the chancellor and other state policymakers.

—Valerie Wilk coordinates NEA higher ed activities

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