Open Meadow had the distinct pleasure of hosting Governor Kitzhaber, first lady Cylvia Hayes, and Education Advisor Ben Cannon Tuesday at our high school.
The Governor’s education agenda includes a “40-40-20 plan” that would have 40 percent of the state’s adults with four-year college degrees, 40 percent with two-year degrees or the equivalent, and the remaining 20 percent with high school degrees. The ambitious nature of this 100% high school graduation agenda means that, in the words of the Governor’s Office, “He’s in serious learning mode” about how to succeed with off-track youth. At a time when over 40% of Portland high school students are not meeting the goals of our public education system, the Governor’s focus is a smart one if we are to get that 40% to earn, at minimum, a high school credential. We’re flattered that he chose Open Meadow as a place to learn more, and deeply appreciative of his willingness to seek solutions to this critical issue.
The Governor met with students and staff. He is eager to scale-up programs like Open Meadow that, through our high school and Step Up, provide “on-ramps” for off-track youth to get back on-track to post-secondary success in accordance with the ambitions of the 40-40-20 plan.
We spoke about the importance of individualized supports that serve academic progress, high expectations, and the belief that every student is capable.
We spoke about the fact that Oregon and Portland can get back on track. We can get the other 40% to meet the ambitious goals that we have set out for them. The Governor’s 10-year budgeting plan captures the return on investment that is realized through programs like Open Meadow that can interrupt the non-virtuous cycles of poverty and violence far better than a two-year budget.
The economic vitality of our state our community and state depend on this longer-term thinking that invests in prevention and multiple on-ramps that meet youth in real-time where they fall out.
Together we can do this. We are grateful for the Governor’s focus on the issue of off-track youth.
To see photos of the visit, click here.