Knute Buehler: Let’s elevate Oregon schools from the bottom to the top in 5 years

For too many years, Oregon politicians have failed to do what is necessary to improve the quality and funding of our K-12 public schools. Good things are happening every day in classrooms across Oregon - with dedicated teachers, administrators and parents working together. But it is also undeniable that for too long, too many kids in too many schools have been left out and behind.

The unfortunate reality is that students in Oregon today face a menacing triple-threat: an ongoing crisis in high school graduation rates, a lingering crisis in academic quality and a growing crisis in classroom funding.

My number one priority as governor will be fixing Oregon's broken public education system. None of us should accept as inevitable the current reality, which is failing thousands of kids every year. We need to challenge the status quo, restore high expectations and put students first. It is time to combine the best ideas from Republicans, Democrats and Independents so our schools and students can achieve their full potential. I will lead on education where Kate Brown has failed.

My ambitious goal for education in Oregon is to lead our schools from the bottom five in the nation to the top five in five years. The plan includes:

• Enhance classroom funding. Solving Oregon's classroom funding crisis will require a combination of K-12 General Fund budget increases averaging 15 percent over four years, along with pension and health insurance reforms that could re-direct an additional $1.2 billion in new, performance-based classroom spending each year.
• Improve education standards and outcomes: Advancing Oregon schools from some of lowest performing in the nation to some of the highest will require state and local educators to focus on achieving a handful of critical, evidence-based proficiency standards. These standards, combined with enhanced resources and professional development opportunities for teachers and principals, are widely recognized as key ingredients for students graduating from high school on time and with the knowledge and skills needed to advance to a four-year college, a community college or the workplace.
• Restore the lost school year. Returning Oregon to the national standard of 180-day school year from the current, shortest in the nation, 165-day average for schools in Oregon. The current 165-day average translates into Oregon students attending one year less school than students in Washington State.
• Provide career and technical education: Fully funding Oregon's under-funded career and technical education initiative approved by voters under Ballot Measure 98. Career and technical education is a proven approach to dropout prevention and prepares kids for further skills-based education, work or careers.
• Create a modern funding formula: Aligning desired education achievement outcomes with the process for how local school districts negotiate contracts and receive funds from the state.

These goals and outcomes are ambitious, but in such a dynamic and growing state we cannot afford to think small any longer. I am excited to engage educators, legislators from both parties, school advocates, parents and students from across the state to give every child in Oregon a better shot at a brighter future.

Dr. Knute Buehler is an Oregon State Representative and is currently the Republican Nominee running for Governor in the November Elections.

Standard Disclaimer: The opinions expressed by the author are not necessarily that of the Clackamas County Republican Party.

Exciting Week for the Supreme Court

It is often difficult to say, “It has been an exciting week for the United States Supreme Court and Oregon State Supreme Court”. But, last week was an exciting week. Three major decisions coming from the US Supreme Court, a surprise decision from the State Supreme Court, and the announcement from Justice Kennedy of his retirement.

Decisions from the US Supreme Court:

The Janus decision, issued on June 27, 2018, granted rights to public workers, no longer requiring the worker to “subsidize” the union if the worker does not believe the Union represent the workers personal beliefs. This decision, as many of the liberal media and legislators have stated, does not remove the rights of public workers, it does the opposite, it grants rights. However, this is a blow to public unions, as the coffers of available money to fund liberal candidates and issues will be reduced.

On June 26, 2018, two decisions were handed down that are victories for Right to Life Advocates and President Trump.

The first, the US Supreme Court overturned a California State Law requiring pro-life pregnancy centers to provide abortion information to everyone who sought their services. Many of these pro-life pregnancy centers were owned and operated by religious groups, and the law violated their religious beliefs. This decision was a big victory for pro-life advocates and religious groups.

The next US Supreme Court decision overturned a lower court’s decision to stop President Trump’s Temporary Travel Ban. The ban, as opponents claim, did not target a religion, but only a very few select countries who have a history of promoting terrorists and terrorism against the United States. This decision will do promote the safety of the United States and its citizens.

In a surprise move by a liberal Oregon State Supreme Court, a decision was handed down on June 27, 2018, referring the IP-43 ballot title back to the State Attorney General for modification. This decision was a big blow to the anti-gun right advocates, and a huge victory to the Second Amendment Rights supporters. Because of this decision, the Petitioners have stated they will not proceed to place IP-43 on the November Ballot because there is not enough time to collect the required signatures.

The decision by the State Supreme Court must have been devastating to Governor Kate Brown. She is an outspoken advocate for gun regulations and gun control. Brown appointed four of the seven justices on the Supreme Court, stacking the court with Justices who share her beliefs. This decision was truly unexpected.

The coup de gras for the week, Justice Kennedy announced his retirement from the United States Supreme Court. Although listed as a conservative, Kennedy is often referred to as the “swing vote”, often voting liberal when it came to social issues.

President Trump said he will announce the name of his nominee to replace Justice Kennedy on July 9, 2018.

Many Democrat Senators and news media outlets have already vowed to block any nominee President Trump submits. The hate against the President runs so deep within these Senators and  liberal press, they have pledged to obstruct Trump’s nominee, regardless who that person is and how qualified they are. Although there will be a battle on the Hill, the Republicans have the votes and tools to confirm President Trump’s nominee.

President Trump has an opportunity to shape the US Supreme Court for many years to come. Instead of a court making decisions based upon popular, personal social beliefs, we could have a United States Supreme Court making decisions based upon the United States Constitution as written.


About the Author: Ron Le Blanc is the past Chair of the Clackamas County Republican Party. He has served on and Chaired many committees within the CCRP. Ron is a small business owner and a retired Deputy Sheriff.

Standard Disclaimer: The views and opinions of the author are not necessarily those of the Clackamas County Republican Party.

Local Elections Are Important, Too.

A few years ago, I ran for a local office, Mayor of West Linn. I learned during that election that not all citizens within a community believe local offices are important. They support, volunteer, and vote for state and federal candidates, but not their city council or school board.

It is your local politicians: your city council, school board, water boards, and others that directly influence your day to day quality of life within your city. Your city council controls the upkeep and construction of your city streets; they approve, based upon recommendations of the city planning commission, construction of neighborhoods and shopping malls; and the city council negotiates with the various unions representing the city employees over salaries and benefits. All of these and more directly affect your quality of life and the city taxes you pay.

Remember this: your city government cannot control nor regulate such things as Capital Punishment, Right to Life, and regulating the Veterans Administration. They do control how your local city taxes are spent, whether a Marijuana Dispensary is allowed across the street from a school, and what direction the future of the city is headed.

Learn about your local candidates. Support the ones that most closely match your expectations for a city representative, administrator and leader. Support can be as simple as putting a candidate sign in your yard or business, donation of $5.00 or more, writing letters, hosting small/large events at your home/office, or making phone calls in support of your candidate.

Most importantly, VOTE for your local candidates in all elections.

About the author: Ron Le Blanc is the Past Chair of the Clackamas County Republican Party. He has been a guest speaker at schools, meetings and rallies. He has served as a Delegate to the Oregon Republican Party. Ron is also a strong advocate for 2nd Amendment Rights.

Standard Disclaimer: The opinions expressed by the author are not necessarily those of the Clackamas County Republican party.