From the Senate Majority Office:

February 10, 2011

Higher Education goals earn Senate approval

SB 253 sets achievement benchmarks for Oregon by 2025

SALEM – Legislation that puts in statute Oregon’s goal to raise education levels of adults to meet a “40-40-20” standard by the year 2025 passed with broad bipartisan support this morning in the Senate. Senate Bill 253 revises the mission of higher education in the state to meet the goals of at least 40 percent of Oregonians having a bachelor’s degree or higher, 40 percent with an associate’s degree or post-secondary credential, and 20 percent with a high school diploma or equivalent as their highest level of education.

“This bill sets the stage for higher education reform by codifying the 40-40-20 standard that has long been discussed in Oregon,” said Senator Mark Hass (D-Beaverton), chair of the Senate Committee on Education and Workforce Development. “This is a policy compass that will help direct the Legislature and other policy makers to reinvest and commit to higher education in Oregon.”

SB 253 is the product of a higher education workgroup that was appointed last summer and led by Hass and Representative Tobias Read (D-Beaverton). The “40-40-20” language replaces the current vision for higher education and brings it in line with the state’s current policy priorities.

“This bill replaces 50-year-old language, updating Oregon’s vision for higher education with hard targets,” said Senate Majority Leader Diane Rosenbaum (D-Portland). “By setting these goals for 2025, we lay the groundwork for meeting our growing workforce demands while making sure more Oregonians are prepared for the jobs of the future.”

Research shows that well-educated people find it easier to obtain and keep jobs. American unemployment figures consistently show that the part of the population with high levels of education have lower unemployment.

SB 253 now goes to the House for consideration.