I am one of many teachers hoping that the Oregon Legislature will pass Senate Bill 513, the Civics Education Act.
I think almost any educator will tell you that we need to be doing a better job of preparing our students to leave high school as well-informed, active members of their communities equipped with tools and knowledge to participate in our democracy to make positive changes to the world around us. National studies show only 24% of high school seniors test at or above a proficiency level in civics and recent events have underscored the importance of ensuring that the next generation of voters graduate with a basic understanding of their roles, rights, and responsibilities to participate in our democracy and legal system.
However, Oregon is one of only eleven states that does not require a civics education class for graduation. SB 513 will ensure that every Oregon high school student has taken at least one dedicated civics course before they graduate.
As an elementary school teacher in Wilsonville, I strongly believe that civics education needs to be taught throughout a K-12 education and that a dedicated civics class in high school is a necessary capstone for students' civics education as they are nearing voting age. Our state already has strong content standards for civics and government.
However, without designated and focused class time, that content is often embedded in other social studies courses meaning teachers are unable to teach civics in-depth.
By passing SB 513, the Oregon Legislature will allow teachers to provide robust, dedicated civics courses that ensure all students receive a strong grounding in the established civic standards, giving them the knowledge and capabilities to effectively engage in their roles as citizens and community members.
The time to pass this bill is now.
We cannot afford more climate change delays
When an airplane goes from point A to B — once crossing the half-way mark, it is called "the point of no return."
At the rate our pollution is going, we can actually pass — the point of no return.
Today. Our oceans are being polluted (there is an actual mass of trash that has gathered into one huge floating chunk, the size of Texas). Today.
The melting of glaciers will cause unstoppable sea level rise. Today. Natural gas is more deadly than coal in 19 states. Today. The destruction of primary rain forests has increased 12% from 2019 to 2020.
These facts are not mine alone, but have been compiled by scientists, research institutes — globally.
As a child, remember lining up dominos in snaky lines . . . tapping to watch them fall, one after the other until they were all level. That is exactly what is happening with the pollutants now permeating our planet earth.
Each of us should call, write, sign petitions. One voice matters little, but millions of them create a sound that cannot be ignored.
If not for you, then for your children and their children.
Blazers, Moda assists fall short
Am I alone reacting with cynicism when Portland Trail Blazer announcers effusively proclaim the Moda Health/Blazer Assist Program during games? Moda and the Blazers each contribute $10 for every assist during the regular season to build community playgrounds.
For the past two years, the Blazers have finished near or at the bottom of the NBA in assists, averaging 20 per game and with 80 games that amounts to a combined contribution of just $32,000 per season.
This season will have fewer games because of COVID-19. Does that sum seem paltry when Moda in 2004, paid approximately $40 million over a 10-year period to secure the naming rights for the Rose Garden?
Adding to that question is that during the pandemic, according to industry reports, health insurers have fared well financially and the cost of a good commercial playground typically exceeds $50,000.
When I hear Moda's motto to "Be Better," it makes me wonder if the company needs to be more introspective.
Family's story is story of migration, growth
Like many, my family migrated from Michoacán and Nuevo Mapping eón, Mexico. My great grandparents, Teodolo and Sanjuanita Pérez met at the migrant camps in Texas while eventually settling in Oceano, California.
My Apa and Ama lived the life of migrant workers following the harvest season and living where the work took them. Like many immigrants before them and after. After many years of hard work and struggle they finally decided to plant roots in Oceano.
Growing up as a third generation Chicana, my family's story of migration from Mexico through the states has shown me that borders are imaginary lines that we created for unnecessary struggle. One thing I take away from their struggle is that my Apa and Ama were the same people they were in Michoacán, Nuevo León, Texas and Oceano. Borders may exist to divide but family ties are indivisible.
My family migrated in search of better opportunities for their descendants. Just like birds that migrate and follow their natural instincts. Whenever I am out in the nature world, I always take a moment to appreciate the land my ancestors left for us.
Of all the birds, the eagle is the greatest sacred bird among most Native Americans. The meaning of the eagle symbol signifies courage, wisdom, and strength, which is very similar to what my family envisioned when they crossed the border into the United States.
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