THE GOVERNANCE DIVIDE - The Case Study for Oregon
This report is based on research conducted by the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education and its partners, the Institute for Educational Leadership and Stanford University's Institute for Higher Education Research. The project, called Partnerships for Student Success (PSS), was funded by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. Its findings are presented in four case studies and a cross-cutting report called The Governance Divide: A Report on a Four-State Study on Improving College Readiness and Success.
The primary goal of the research project was to examine state policies and governance structures that span K–12 and postsecondary education in order to assist states in identifying promising reforms and ways to connect their education systems. The project is based on two major premises: (1) the current disconnected systems of K–12 and postsecondary education are not effective in ensuring that sufficient numbers of students complete some form of education or training beyond high school, and (2) it is the states who are in the best position to lead efforts to align the systems, create incentives for joint budgeting, and monitor improvement through cross-system data collection and accountability.
The research was conducted in 2003 and 2004 in four states—Florida, Georgia, New York, and Oregon—each of which has a distinct approach to K–16 reform that may offer other states important options for connecting K–12 and postsecondary education:
We hope that this research, by documenting the processes used in each state to develop, implement, and institutionalize the reforms, will assist other states in identifying opportunities for K–16 successes.
- Florida has implemented some of the most sweeping education governance changes of any state; all levels of education are housed in the Department of Education, which is overseen by a commissioner who reports to the governor.
- Georgia was the first state to have state and regional P–16 councils, and its regents' office in the University System of Georgia oversees a variety of projects that focus on connecting K–12 and postsecondary education.
- The New York Board of Regents oversees all education in the state and has been in place for over 200 years; this lends the regents' office a stature and a historical legitimacy and tradition unlike any other state education governance structure in the nation.
- Oregon has been a leader in K–16 reform through its development of the Proficiency-based Admission Standards System (PASS), which articulated postsecondary expectations and linked them with K–12 reforms.