Oregon Early Learning Strategy

Oregon policymakers have decided that the best opportunity for distinction and success in the global economy of the 21st century is for Oregon to create a world-class education system that starts early and produces results. As a result, the state adopted an ambitious 40-40-20 goal and is dramatically transforming the way the education system does its work. 

Data from Oregon’s statewide Kindergarten Assessment show that Oregon must take bold action to address achievement gaps that have their roots in limited opportunities for access to high quality early care and education experiences. Consider the situation for Oregon children:

  • Early literacy: 33% of entering kindergarteners could name five or fewer letters and 14% could not name a single letter. Additionally, 37% of the state’s entering kindergarteners could not identify a single letter sound.
  • Early math: 53% of entering kindergartners answered at least half the questions correctly. However, only 43% of African American and Native American students, and 38% of Hispanic students answered at least half of the questions correctly.
  • Approaches to learning: Based on teacher observation, approximately 25% of entering kindergartners did not regularly complete skills such as completing tasks or following directions. Research indicates that a child’s ability to self-regulate is predictive of future reading and math achievement.

Since Oregon’s disjointed approach to early learning and care has not yielded the results necessary to prepare children for school, over the past three years the Legislature, the Early Learning Council and communities across the state have engaged in a significant reform effort to build a more coordinated system and to achieve higher levels of school readiness. Authority and responsibility for early childhood policy, planning and system development has been centralized under the Early Learning Council and new regional hubs will have greater flexibility and accountability for improving results for children and families.

Dovetailing is working with the Early Learning Council to coalesce the many diverse initiatives under a Master Strategy intended as a tool for the Early Learning Council to plan and rack past, current and potential future directions for the Council’s work. The Master Strategy will serve as an important guide to review and refine strategy annually based upon what learning and accountability measures show are the results each year. The companion Scorecard will include important indicators that can provide a view of Oregon's success at-a-glance.