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Jun-01-2010 00:03printcomments

Op Ed: Oregon Education Demands Depth, Details to Survive

Changing societal forces summarized, documented.

Apple and pencils
Courtesy: equaleducation.org

(SEASIDE, Ore.) - Oregon voters have demonstrated their deepening concerns about education at every level here by the paper-thin margin accorded incumbent Susan Castillo vs her opponent as Oregon Supt. of Education.

Previous press reports over the past decade have already made intolerably clear that SOMEthing must be done re higher education, as Oregon’s once-famed full scale state university and college system and strong community colleges have felt the deadening depth of budget cuts forcing steadily-rising student tuition costs.

S-N is examining this distressing but inevitably massive-impact situation in my three-part Op Ed series underway, resuming when voter-decision is known: 6/7 This Interim Report presents four indispensable classic references reflecting in depth, detail and massive consequence precisely what is causing this denigration of Oregon’s most essential investment in the future: Our education system.

For any astute observer, the multiplying, complex and massive social, economic, and educational trends now felt so intensely in our whole way of life generate the organs of change-process at work here --as inevitably they are doing nationally and internationally.

For basic understandings of those potent powerful drivers of formative change, there are many books, academic studies, press reports, statements by leaders, and other standard sources, inestimably valuable for any readers seriously interested in understanding the inescapable realities forcing 21st Century reformulation in each and every significant area --surely also including education.

SO, to share references long-used by this writer, here are ONLY FOUR (of some-50 for this series) which in themselves provide an absolutely classic and stillcontemporary overview, to be potently supplemented by current deep resources, on every topic and issue and problem, via Internet review.

The “classic four”, each contributing specialized background by specifically-trained writers, are:

1. WHY Americans Hate Politics; E.J.Dionne; Touchstone, 1992; ISBN 0-671-77877-3. “See especially” Part Two:The Conservative Impasse; and Afterword: Beyond False Choices, in Touchstone (Paperback) Edition.

2. Intelligence Reframed: Multiple Intelligences for the 21st Century; Howard Gardner; Basic Biooks 1999; ISBN 0-465-02611-7. Gardner’s Frames of Mind and Creating Minds are founding documents for how our understanding of education and human development are radically changing how we NOW MUST re-examine our whole system of education from curriculum through operations to fullfunding demanded for 21st Century develoments already altering society, economics, and the entire culture.

3. Where Does the Money Go? Your Guided Tour to the Federal Budget Crisis; Scott Bittle, Jean Johnson; HarperCollins, 2008; ISBN 978-0-06-124-187-1. Authors are founder and executive editor of www.publicagenda.org. Note date for book: Right on the heart of our funding crisis for all progressive steps, and emphasizing current depth/quality/and reliability for factual information we MUST HAVE to shape any “informed opinion”.

4. What It Means To Be A Libertarian; Charles Murray; Broadway, 1997: ISBN 0-553-06928-4. Murray is co-author (notorious for it !) of The Bell Curve. Here he lays out detailed interpretation of his stance as libertarian, and that philosophy as closely related to Founders viewpoints. Importance of book is illuminating insights into cogitation of a leading libertarian, since attacks on education come massively from that small group on single overly-simplistic basis of "limited vs strong governance", heavy emphasis on funding, since education is inevitably expensive part of any budget.

Seek out these potently reliable informants to help your own cogitation, shaping your continuing Comments! Any professional writer offering serious Op Ed content intended to inform thinking readers must first find, then REALLY USE, potent points-of-view from many others seeking “truth” hidden in-there-somewhere, before he can propose a professional “informed opinion”. (Disclosure: Mine own “opinion” OFTEN changes as I seek out more, better, later, stronger, sometimes even opposing, points from potent other writers with deep specialized sources.)

We try hard here at S-N to share and learn from dialog and comment; but first and foremost, we offer Op Ed content built carefully, comprehensively and as cogently as we can conceive, from classic references we know to be reliable, widely-used, and easily checkable.

“Truth can set you free”, some philosopher once stated, “but first you must find, recognize and fully appreciate it via your own cogitation.” Famed Engiish economist Keynes said it even more sharply, when challenged in Parliament on changing his statement: “I change my mind when the facts change, sir. What do you do?”

Stay tuned for Parts Two and Three in this series on educational disaster partially-arrived and threatening debacle-in-depth for the coming generation: OUR Kids. Your continuing comments will accumulate until we resume, in ethical approach possible only after we know who will serve as Oregon’s top educational system-chief.


At 21, Henry Clay Ruark was Aroostook Editor for the Bangor, Maine DAILY NEWS, covering the upper 1/4 of the state. In the ‘40s, he was Staff Correspondent, then New England Wires Editor at United Press-Boston; later Editor for the Burlington, Vermont 3-daily group owned by Wm. Loeb, later notorious at Manchester, New Hampshire UNION LEADER for attacks on Democratic Presidential candidates.

Hank returned to Oregon to complete M. Ed. degree at OSU, went on to Indiana University for Ed.D. (abd) and special other course-work; was selected as first Information Director for NAVA in Washington, D.C.; helped write sections of NDEA, first Act to supply math, science, foreign language consultants to state depts. of education; joined Oregon Dept. of Education, where he served as NDEA administrator/Learning Media Consultant for ten years.

He joined Dr. Amo DeBernardis at PCC, helping establish, extend programs, facilities, Oregon/national public relations; moved to Chicago as Editor/Publisher of oldest educational-AV journal, reformed as AV GUIDE Magazine; then established and operated Learning Media Associates as general communications consultant group. Due to wife’s illness, he returned to Oregon in 1981, semi-retired, and has continued writing intermittently ever since, joining S-N in 2004. His Op Eds now total over 560 written since then.




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Henry Clay Ruark June 8, 2010 4:42 pm (Pacific time)

To all:
  Latest word (rumor !) has it that Castillo scores narrow victory over opponent.
  Not verified, annc. delayed unti 17th...
  We will resume Op Ed series with Part Two when we know for sure with what we must deal for next four years in Oregon education.

  See current NATION issue for excellent series exploring precisely same issue we've opened for close examination here by "informed opinion" !!


Henry Clay Ruark June 6, 2010 12:13 pm (Pacific time)

"The rest of this story...": PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Two weeks after the primary election that typically would have crowned a winner in the race for superintendent of public instruction, the tightest statewide contest in Oregon's recent history remains in doubt. As of Friday, incumbent Democrat Susan Castillo led Rep. Ron Maurer by 2,835 votes. More important, if her vote percentage holds up, she has enough for the magical 50 percent plus one she needs to hang onto the job she's held for eight years — by an eyelash." ------------------ There is very small chance her opponent can overtake her minute lead, but until final tally is announced we will wait for decision shaping all Oregon education for next ten years. Fundamental changes underway nationally, internationally, as well as state/local will impact in much differentiated ways in Oregon since they will shape what incumbent can do, and that's shaped by which one we get !! moresoon and stay tuned.


Henry Clay Ruark June 3, 2010 10:56 am (Pacific time)

Seaside Series Sidebar Op Eds in Seaside Series are written to initiate and propound dialog, with writer seeking to serve you still further via rapid response to Comments. That’s whole purpose of dialog as opposed to debate, since response renews and welcomes further informed statement citing reliable reference or documentation. Dialog seeks to explore, share and learn, for all participating in civil discourse leading to consensus. Debate seeks to “win by any means”,with confrontation as key weapon for “victory” over others. For those who are troubled by writer’s frequent hopefully rapid comprehensive further comment, that is precisely WHY contribution from professional experience including many sources and massive remaining files from past years is put to work here --for your elucidation and even possibly your enjoyment --particularly by participation in dialog.

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