Media Room

OEA Convention
Governor’s Remarks
Saturday, April 18th
1:30 p.m.

AS PREPARED

Thank you, Hanna, for that nice introduction. 

Good afternoon. I am very happy to be here, thank you for the invitation to share a few thoughts with you.

And I want to thank you for the hard work you do every day to contribute to Oregon’s future.  Thank you teachers.  Thank you education support professionals.  Thank you community college faculty. 

John Quincy Adams once wrote, “If your  actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.”  

And it was Eleanor Roosevelt who famously said, “A good leader inspires people to have confidence in the leader. A great leader inspires people to have confidence in themselves.”

So let me also thank all of you for your leadership as educators.  You have dedicated your professional lives to opening the minds of Oregon’s children; to awakening them to the power of their own potential.  As I told the City Club yesterday, over the course of their childhood years, Oregon children will spend nearly 13,000 hours in the presence of public school educators.

Other than their parents and families, there are few individuals more important to our children’s success than you are.  As Governor and as the state’s superintendent of public instruction, I understand the need for stable and adequate funding for schools.  We can no longer afford to postpone the important task of addressing meaningful revenue reform.

As our economic picture brightens, state leaders must rededicate themselves to addressing the long-standing need for additional investments in public education -- not just to sustain schools as they are, but to empower teaching and learning that will deliver the promise of our future.

Educators are capable of great things – the kind of greatness that changes the world, one student at a time. These small miracles happen every day, in schools all over the state. But in order to deliver on the best possible education for each and every student, schools and educators need time, resources and support. 

The leaders of tomorrow are in your classrooms today. As you know, I am fighting for a seamless education system from birth to career.  If we expect every child to arrive at kindergarten ready to learn, our investment in them has to start when they are born.

Through my work early on as a family advocate and legislator, I know there is much more we can do as a state to make sure every Oregon child is ready to learn when she or he starts kindergarten, and reading proficiently by third grade. I have prioritized investment in early learning and literacy programs for Oregon’s youngest learners – to close opportunity gaps for students before they develop.

And I have prioritized re-investment in career technical education, especially important for Oregon’s rural and most underserved communities.

Education is the great equalizer; the key to getting ahead in life. Not the kind of education that is available only to those who can afford it.  Not the kind of education obsessed with outcome measures at the expense of common sense.

But rather the kind of education based on good public policies informed by practice; that recognizes good teachers and inspires students; and that engenders hope, confidence and purpose.

State education policies should be made in consultation with professionals and experts who know from experience what works and what doesn’t. Education is about teaching and learning, not testing. The recent report from the assessment working group that is continuing its efforts through Dr. Nancy Golden, OEA and the Governor’s Office is a great example of how education policies benefit when educators and state policy makers collaborate. 

We need to continue that good work together. 

I am so glad to have spent this time with you today. Thank you for all you do for the people of Oregon.