Advisory: OSU President Risser testifies to Education Committee


A higher education rally will be held at the Capitol from 10:15 a.m. until about noon on Wednesday, March 31. From 1 to 2:30 p.m., higher education leaders will address a joint meeting of the Senate and House Education Committee.

Scheduled to speak are Chancellor Joe Cox, Oregon State Board of Higher Education Chairman Tom Imeson, board member Herb Aschkenasy, presidents of the Oregon University System schools, and a panel of students, faculty, staff and alumni.

The following is a summary of remarks that OSU President Paul Risser will make during his testimony. Risser will be back in his office on campus after 3 p.m. and will be available by phone, 541-737-2565.

Joint Education Committee
March 31, 1999
Paul G. Risser, President
Oregon State University

"Do Not Think of Basic Education In Oregon As K-12"

This concept is no longer valid.
Today's basic education must be K-16!

1. In the last 20 years, only those persons with a bachelor's degree or higher have kept pace with inflation. IMPLICATION: A bachelor's degree is essential for a person to have a chance at being economically successful.

2. 27 percent of Oregon residents have college degrees; 40 percent of those moving into Oregon have college degrees. IMPLICATION: Oregon residents who do not obtain a bachelor's degree continue to be disadvantaged compared to those who move into the Sta te.

3. Through the year 2006, 18 of the 25 occupations earning the highest pay and with the lowest unemployment rates will require at least a bachelor's degree. IMPLICATION: Unless students complete a bachelor's degree, they will not have an opportunity to compete for many of the best jobs.

4. The flow of high technology employees into Oregon has been fueled by the diminishing defense business, especially in California. Now, that flow is rapidly decreasing because of the growth of California's economy. IMPLICATION: Oregon cannot count on hiring out-of-state employees -- we will be at an increasing competitive disadvantage for educated employees.

5. Oregon must increase the number of college graduates it produces because: (a) Oregonians without a college degree are personally at a disadvantage, and (b) the state will be at an economic disadvantage compared to states with a better educated populati on. IMPLICATION: For these two fundamental reasons, Oregon must provide more support for higher education for its citizens, its economy, and its future.

6. Per capita funding for public higher education in Oregon is 40 percent below the average of all western states-dead last. IMPLICATION: All other western states have surpassed Oregon, recognizing the benefits for funding public higher education.

7. In the last three years, Oregon's public universities have: (a) expanded research and education partnerships with industry; (b) increased the number of cooperatives and internships; (c) promoted the use of new technologies: (d) focused on and targeted issues important to the state; (e) increased distance and continuing education; and (f) enhanced connections with our customers. IMPLICATION: Oregon's seven public universities have changed dramatically to meet current educational needs. We have alrea dy achieved higher education reform.

8. Oregon's seven public universities have different and distinct missions. IMPLICATION: Oregon's universities do not have unnecessary program duplication, the system operates efficiently, and the state receives unusually strong returns on its investmen t.

9. Oregon's public universities have developed a pioneering funding model that (a) places students first, and (b) makes each university accountable. IMPLICATION: Legislative funding for the higher education portion of the K-16 education continuum meets the public's expectations for accountability.

10. In the new model, some funding depends on each university meeting its performance standards. IMPLICATION: The universities are the only portion of the K-16 education continuum with this level of accountability.

11. The $100 million in new funding will permit Oregon's public universities to: (a) increase college enrollments; (b) provide the state with more educated workers in key areas such as computer science and engineering; (c) expand teacher education; (d) in crease partnerships with K-12 and community colleges; (e) use more new information and communication technologies; (f) enhance professional and continuing education programs; and (g) develop more research partnerships. IMPLICATION: Oregon's public unive rsities will meet the higher education needs of the state.

12. The additional $100 million will only move Oregon's higher education funding a notch closer to the average of the western states. IMPLICATION: The request is not excessive nor unreasonable, in fact, it is only a modest increase.

13. 78 percent of the respondents in a recent survey said Oregon universities can and should compete to be among the very best in the country, and were not satisfied with a higher education system that is good but not great. IMPLICATION: Legislative sup port of higher education is broadly supported by the citizens of Oregon.

14. The $100 million for the higher education portion of the K-16 continuum will be widely applauded by citizens, current and future students, and the business sector - all of whom are rapidly realizing that K-16 education is now necessary for both person al success as well as the state's economic success. IMPLICATION: People are beginning to understand that it is not K-12, community colleges, and higher education -- it is K-16, and the legislature needs to provide the $100 million to ensure the basic ed ucational future of our citizens and state.