The State Board of Education is in the process of considering a Performance Based Funding (PBF) scheme for community colleges in Oregon, tying a significant portion of the Community College Support Fund to measures of ‘completion‘ and ‘success.’ Little or no public discussion of the proposal has been allowed, and most commentary has come from proponents who rarely acknowledge the negative consequences PBF schemes promote. When concerns about the impact on ‘quality’ have been raised, they have been met with hollow ‘We have faith that the faculty will hold the line on quality’ responses, and ‘We will carefully monitor and assess quality’, but in fact proponents have no plans to even assess the impact on quality, let alone plans to protect the integrity of our schools. But schools struggling to hold onto their shares of state funding are likely to do all they can to ‘keep or get their numbers up,’ and studies show are likely to:
- Pressure educators to reduce the rigor and academic standards of current certifications and degrees
- Pressure educators to create certifications and degrees that may not be justified by employment opportunities
- Pressure educators to inflate grades and pass more students
- Decrease emphasis on CTE programs in favor of transfers, and transfer degrees
- Limit the courses taught to those that are part of a certification or degree
- Create policies or reduce funding that limits access to community colleges for disadvantaged and/or academically unprepared students
With proponents ignoring or negating such concerns, it’s up to faculty and others to defend the integrity of our educational programs, credentials, and schools, by documenting and publicizing ways that academic quality is already being undermined as schools respond to the ‘completion agenda‘ and prepare for the possible implementation of performance funding systems.
As such, the OEA Community College Council invites you to report ways that the completion agenda and the expectations of upcoming PBF schemes are already undermining educational quality at Oregon’s community colleges, so that we can document and publicize such practices, and report them to our legislators and the State Board to consider as they weigh proposals to formally adopt PBF systems into Oregon’s school systems.
Please share this page with others interested in protecting our schools from these schemes, and encourage anyone you hear is facing pressure to dumb down their classes, pass failing students, create questionable certificates, etc, to report these assaults on our schools in the space below.
Educators from states that already implement PBF systems are also encouraged to tell their stories.
Please post your report as a comment by clicking on the comments link in the title bar of this post above. If viewing this post from the Performance Based Funding page you can also comment in the area below this post; comments are reviewed prior to posting in order to prevent spam, so you will not see them posted immediately.
Thanks in advance for all your help.