About the Project

Oregon Rising is focused on closing the gap between the education Oregon students receive now – and what Oregonians want them to receive in order to be successful, stable adults, parents, leaders and contributors.

At the heart of the work is a belief that we must dream big, and act now. We agree not be discouraged by the practical limitations that hinder progress. Instead, we must find solutions to the barriers.

To know for certain what Oregonians want for students, we asked Oregonians to describe the education Oregon students should receive, and to specify where improvements might be made.

Within two months, we heard from more than 10,000 Oregonians, from all walks of life and from every county in the state. We shared our findings with all participants, Oregon legislators, the Governor and anyone who can play a part in closing the gap between the schools we have now, and what we want.

Going forward, we’ll continue to invite communities to gather and dream, and to get specific about what their kids need. We’ll work with education leaders and community organizers to develop a plan to reach the goals, and we’ll be sharing our work with you as we go so that we know that our work really reflects what Oregon’s students need.

About the Name

The aspirational nature of the name is intentional. You’ll note that Oregon Rising is more about dreams, and less about practicalities such as funding. The decision to largely remove the funding element from the equation wasn’t out of naiveté or because it’s not a real challenge. But we find that as soon as the conversation turns to money, aspirations are tempered. Oregon Rising wants to know not just what schools could be, but what you think they should be.

The Project Sponsors

The project is supported by the Confederation of Oregon School Administrators (superintendents and principals), Oregon Education Association (educators and teachers) and Oregon School Boards Association (board members of districts, education service districts, community colleges and charter schools). The project sponsors asked you to dream unencumbered. It was a truly open question.

Calling All Oregonians

The invitation to participate was extended to all Oregonians. The project sponsors were especially interested in ensuring that we heard from those whose voices aren’t always represented. Some participated in ‘town hall’ style conversations sponsored by school districts or hosted by community members, and some responded to an online survey. The effort began in April 2016 with a goal of hearing from at least 10,000 people. We surpassed that goal, thanks to the thoughtful engagement of many people, but we are far from done.


Together, these videos tell the story of Oregon Rising, from our call for dreams, to a reporting of what Oregonians want for our students' education. The videos feature real Oregon students from around the state. We are grateful for their help.

1. Introducing Oregon Rising

2. The State of Oregon Schools

3. Retrospective of the Outreach

4. Reporting the Findings

4. In Spanish - Reporting the Findings

5. What Makes Oregon, Oregon


Doesn’t Oregon Lottery revenue go to school funding?

Income from the Oregon Lottery is already part of the equation: It has helped education for many years. However, growth in lottery revenue has been declining in recent years, and the share going to schools is dropping as others tap into this funding source as well.

Aren’t schools getting lots of new funds from marijuana sales?

Marijuana tax receipts are a new source of funding for Oregon schools. But not all revenues go to schools: portions also go to local government, public safety, and other locally determined efforts. And even if every dollar went to K-12, it’s not enough to solve the problem. Consider this: In 2016, marijuana income was $60.2 million. The proposed education budget reflects a shortfall of $400 million, based on the Governor’s proposed budget.

Who's behind Oregon Rising?

Oregon Rising was initiated and supported by three Oregon organizations that dedicate their work to the education of Oregon’s students – Oregon Education Association (teachers), Oregon School Boards Association (school board members), and the Confederation of Oregon School Administrators (principals, superintendents and other administrators). The power of this trio rests in their shared, long-term devotion to the education of Oregon students. Such a collective effort toward improving education is ground-breaking in Oregon, and a model nationally.

How can I get involved?

Please follow us on social media and be sure you’re on our enewsletter list.

Has any other state done something like this?

We don’t think so. If you know of anything, please drop us a note.

Is there a headquarters for Oregon Rising?

Not in the traditional sense. Our mail goes to the COSA headquarters in Salem. The project is staffed by several teams around Oregon. The closest thing to a headquarters is this website.

If I give you my email address, how will you use it?

Your email address will be used to reach out to you with information about Oregon Rising and to report the findings of our work. If you don’t want to receive information from us, it’s easy to unsubscribe. We don’t share or sell your contact information.

Where did get the statistics you’ve used in your materials?

We’ve been diligent in our efforts to rely on fair and accurate statistics and information for our outreach efforts. That said, we all know that there are many ways to interpret data and reports. We’ve provided the reports cited in our outreach, or links to those reports. We’ve also assembled a list of resources and articles that we think you might find helpful. Access all this information here.

My question is not listed here. How can I get an answer?

Please send us your questions.

More FAQs
Oregon Rising in the News

When we started Oregon Rising, we weren’t sure how people would react. Would they want to join in the conversation? Is it reasonable to ask people to dream limitlessly without mind to practicalities? Here’s what people are saying:

10,894 Oregonians Weigh In, Survey Findings Now Available, News Release, September 27, 2016. View Article.

School survey seeks dreams, The Dalles Chronicle, May 24th, 2016

The school district is encouraging citizens to take a new survey — either online or a meeting coming up — to share their hopes for what they want public education to look like in Oregon. View Article.

GAPS gathers input at listening session, Albany Democrat-Herald, May 20th, 2016

Parents who gathered for Tuesday's "listening session" at Clover Ridge Elementary School wanted assurances that Albany schools are working with all of a child's needs: emotional and behavioral as well as academic. View Article.

Education groups team up to sponsor Oregon Rising meetings, The Register-Guard, April 26th, 2016

A community meeting slated for Wednesday evening will give Lane County residents a chance to express their thoughts on public education in Oregon. View Article.

Trio of State Education Organizations Invites Oregonians to “Dream” the Future of Schools, April 12th, 2016. View Article.

Public Invited to Join 'Oregon Rising', Albany Democrat-Herald, April 8, 2016

Most of the conversations in Salem about how to fund public education start with how much is available and how thinly it can be spread. Representatives of a new public outreach effort want Oregonians to move those talks to a new starting point: what people value in education and what they want schools to offer. View Article.

Who is Oregon Rising?

Meet the Team

Oregon Rising was initiated and supported by three Oregon organizations that dedicate their work to the education of Oregon's students – the Confederation of Oregon School Administrators, Oregon School Boards Association and Oregon Education Association. The power of this particular trio rests in our shared, long-term devotion to the education of Oregon students. Such a collective effort toward improving education is ground-breaking in Oregon, and a model nationally.

Confederation of Oregon School Administrators

The Confederation of Oregon School Administrators (COSA) serves Oregon students by developing and supporting those who guide the state’s schools and programs. These leaders are our members – more than 2,200 school administrators, managers and executives. COSA was founded in 1974 to help educational leaders collectively shape public policy, advocate for schools, and speak on behalf of students. COSA also serves members with professional development, administrative licensure, and master’s and doctoral degree programs.

Oregon Education Association

The Oregon Education Association represents 44,000 educators in every community across our state. Founded more than 150 years ago, OEA’s pre-k, k-12 and community college members are united in a shared vison ‘to improve the future of all Oregonians through quality public education.’ Learn more about OEA.

Oregon School Boards Association

The Oregon School Boards Association (OSBA) is dedicated to improving student achievement through advocacy, leadership and service to locally elected volunteer Oregon public school boards. Today the association provides services in board development, policy, labor relations, legislative, litigation, communications and liability and property insurance. OSBA’s “The Promise of Oregon” campaign set the stage for Oregon Rising when it provided a rallying point for Oregonians. Learn more about OSBA.

Other Supporters

We are grateful to the following organizations for their help. Some groups play a vital part in reaching into all the communities of Oregon. Others are helping by sharing their specialized knowledge as we translate the dreams we hear into action items for Oregon schools.

  • Oregon PTA
  • Oregon Association of School Business Officials (OASBO)
  • Oregon Association of Education Service Districts (OAESD)
  • Oregon Association of Student Councils