Gov. Brown: ‘Confident opportunity gap’ will close

Gov. Kate Brown spoke with KOIN 6 News on Thursday

Oregon Governor Kate Brown helps serve lunch at Durham Elementary School in Tigard, September 10, 2015 (KOIN)
Oregon Governor Kate Brown helps serve lunch at Durham Elementary School in Tigard, September 10, 2015 (KOIN)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Gov. Kate Brown said she knows she has a big job to help change the fact Oregon has one of the lowest high school graduation rates in the country.

During a conversation with KOIN 6 News at Durham Elementary in Tigard, the governor said lawmakers have taken 3 steps toward improving the schools.

They’ve doubled the funding for technology programs, invested $12 million in English language learners and now have all-day kindergarten at every school.

Brown dismissed the notion that the all-day kindergarten is just taxpayer-funded childcare.

“I’m confident that we will be able to move the needle, that we will be  able to close the opportunity gap, the gaps between economically advantaged and disadvantaged students,” the governor told KOIN 6 News.

As for high schoolers, Governor Brown says she is working hard to improve the graduation rate.

“Oregon’s graduation rate is absolutely unacceptable. This last legislative session we made some great strides toward hopefully providing for better outcomes for our students,” Brown says.

Watch: Extended interview with Gov. Kate Brown:

Common core testing is also an issue that the governor has taken up. She’s passed a bill making it easier for parents to opt out of having their students take the test, even though she doesn’t want that to happen.

“Two things: one, I wanted parents and families across Oregon to have the choice and knowledge about the test… I think it’s about balance and accountability.”

She says teachers are now doing more to work with parents to explain the testing.

“I’m confident that with all of Oregon pulling together and the investments we made… we can do better by our students.”

Despite concern that if not enough students take the Common Core test, the state could lose funding, Governor Brown tells KOIN 6 she’s confident that won’t happen.

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