The print. (Oregon City, Oregon) 1977-1989, December 08, 1982, Page 4, Image 4

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    Duncan looks for 'broader education’
By Rick Obritschkewitsch
THE PRINT: To what do you
Of The Print
After eight years ex­
perience in the position of
Oregon Superintendent of
Public Intstruction, Verne Dun­
can, 48, was once again
reelected in the Nov. 2 elec­
tions. The following is an inter­
view with Duncan, conducted
by The Print at the Duncan
home in Milwaukie.
THE PRINT:. In the Nov. 2
elections Ballot Measure 3 (tax
limitation) barely failed. What
does that mean to you?
DUNCAN: The people want
relief—they want property tax
relief--and they weren’t
necessarily voting against
schools, or community colleges
or the government. They were
saying they want to retain
those; but we better do
something to shift the burden
for paying for them.
THE PRINT: What can be
attribute the rise in SAT
(Scholastic Aptitude Test)
scores we’ve seen over the past
few years?
I think our
students are better prepared.
Now with some of the basic
skills areas I really think we
have a group of students now,
their reasoning skills are better.
When you start putting all
those things together you’re
going to see a rise in SAT
I think Oregon has really
emphasized this. Our own
competency program, has
reasoning one of the com-
petency/skills expected of
THE PRINT: What about ac­
cusations that high school
graduates still aren’t prepared
for college?
DUNCAN: I do support the
concept of more new math,
ing less money for the time
they put in.
THE PRINT: Why does it cost
Oregon so much more to send
a student through one year of
school than the national
DUNCAN: There are several
reasons why we cost so much
more. We. had a handicap
education law prior to the
federal law. So we’re ahead of
most states. And remember
those are very expensive pro­
grams. So we have most of
them on line already, while
other states are just now getting
geared up. Our transportation
costs are so high because of the
size of the state we have is
greater than in some parts of
the country. And then our class
sizes have been smaller, and
that’s a very positive thing. Op­
portunities for a better educa­
tion are certainly there when
you keep your class sizes
cess right now of something I
think is rather interesting.
We’re looking and trying to
analyze where education is go­
ing to be in the next couple of
decades. What will the student
need down the road? And how
are we going to have to restruc­
ture the educational setting of
this state to meet those needs?
We’re looking at the
‘megatrends’ going on in the
country right now, and pulling
out the ones that will have an
impact on education, and then
going one step further—those
that have an effect on Oregon.
It’s kind of exciting. We’ve just
gone through some of our first
sessions on it, and I think it’s
going to have a major effect on
education in the state. That in­
cludes the short range and long
range plan for Oregon educa­
THE PRINT: What are some
of the things you’re going to
area? Let’s face it, the com­
puter business is a major force
in this country.
THE PRINT: How do you
deal with high school graduates
not wanting to continue their
DUNCAN: Our most impor­
tant responsibility of public
education today is to teach
people to keep on learning. It’s
no longer, you finish high
school and say ‘Hey, I finished
high school,’ and go out and
get a job. And you can’t say
‘Gosh I’ve got a college degree,
now I’m set for life,’ That won’t
do it. You’ve got to be in a
position where you can keep
on learning and retaining.
Does there
seem to be a problem right now
getting people to educate
themselves in the areas that will
be open in the near future?
DUNCAN: Yes. I don’t think
done to satisfy the taxpayers,
and still get enough money for
DUNCAN: You have several
different groups of taxpayers.
When you look at the pro­
ponents of Ballot Measure 3,
there are those who want to cut
taxes, and they want less ser­
vice. They want less expen­
ditures. Then you have
another group of proponents
who are saying “We just don’t
want the burden to be on the
property tax. Find another
THE PRINT: Are you against
a sales tax?
DUNCAN: I could support a
sales tax, if a measure were
presented to the people that in-
clueded property tax relief right
along with the sales tax. In
other words if you vote “aye”
for a sales tax that same vote
has reduced your property tax.
more science and a broader ex­
posure in the college-prep pro­
grams. I think we’ve really been
emphasizing the writing skills
over the past couple of years,
and that is really paying off. It is
with those students that the
university people are going to
be impressed.
THE PRINT: Is too much
money going to the ad­
ministrative, and not enough
going to the teaching end of
DUNCAN: When you talk
about teachers salaries and ad­
ministrative salaries, the up­
ward mobility, from the finan­
cial standpoint, is to go into
administration, and I think
that’s bad. Teachers should be
paid a salary that would en­
courage them to stay in the
classroom. I don’t begrudge the
principals’ salaries, because if
you figure it out, they’re mak-
down. Oregonians are very
supportive of their schools.
THE PRINT: Why do we
keep seeing levies failing, and
in fact, Estacada School District
DUNCAN: They weren’t real­
ly voting against their schools.
People generally don’t think of
a school closing. Who ever
heard of a school closing?
THE PRINT: Do you think as
people see more schools clos­
ing, voters will begin to ap­
prove levies?
DUNCAN: On the first or se­
cond time around I don’t think
they’re thinking about that.
They may be trying to get a
message to the district, to get
the costs down. They don’t
think of closing at first.
THE PRINT: What are some
of the things you have to get
done in the immediate future?
DUNCAN: We’re in the pro­
people have a good picture of
what’s coming in the future.
You’ve got to be prepared to
move with the times.
THE PRINT: In what areas do
you think people most need to
get training?
DUNCAN: If I were starting
college today, I’d be sure I had
a good understanding of the
computer world. I think it’s still
going to be important to have
writing skills. I would take
everything I could, or get in­
volved in everything I could to
work in the analytical pro­
cesses. But not everybody can
go those routes. I think the
whole area of technology is im­
portant. Everyone needs to at
least understand the system.
Even if you just want to do
your banking, because you’ll
just sit at home and do your
banking at a computer in the
DUNCAN: Let’s face it: We’re
in the information era now. It
was the agricultural era and the
industrial era, now we’re in the
information era—that’s the
technology, computers and all
those things put together. A
child bom this year will be a
member of the class ‘ought
ought (2000).’ That shows you
how close the next century is to
us. It’s here. And we want to be
sure that the education they get
is not obsolete.
So that’s why we try to
look at the fiscal picture, the
kind of jobs that will be
available, what kind of training
people are going to need. That
is what that whole ‘megatrend’
is. It looks at things like the cur­
rent Dow Jones. Is it really a
true indicator when you find
there are no computer com­
panies listed in the Dow Jones
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page 4
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