The Chalkboard Project sprang from the frustration of Oregon foundations and charitable trusts that were funding education projects on an ad hoc basis, with no coordination or larger plan. Aligning their resources, six foundations devote $2 million per year to address bedrock topics such as teacher development and teacher retention as well as teacher evaluation. With federal pass-through money, Chalkboard spends $7 million per year.
One of the most alarming numbers in education is that 40 percent of teachers leave the profession within their first five years. To address that attrition, Chalkboard has developed an initiative that links universities and school districts in an attempt to better prepare new teachers. One concept is a year-long residency, prior to teaching. Tillamook School District will be one of Chalkboard’s pilot sites.
Gov. John Kitzhaber has included funding for this project in his budget. However, Kitzhaber would fund it by reforming the Education Service Districts around Oregon. The ESDs resisted earlier attempts at reform, so it seems like the governor has set this up to fail.
Something is changing in Oregon. Chalkboard President Sue Hildick says: “Oregon has been a reform-tentative place. That’s changing.”
Thanks to the Chalkboard Project.