The Oregon Landscape: How Are We Doing?

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Information about The Oregon Landscape: How Are We Doing?

Published on July 21, 2009

Author: project2059



Findings from a statewide survey of Oregon's youth.

Findings F Fi di From St t id Statewide Interviews With Oregon s Youth Oregon’s Grove Insight July, 2009 1

Methodology gy This analysis is based on 74 interviews among students, ages 13-20 students 13 20, interested in taking part in the Project 2059. The online survey was conducted June 29th – July 13th using an opt in email opt-in format. The survey as a whole has a margin of error of 10.4 p y g percentage p g points at the 95% level of confidence. 2

The O Th Oregon Landscape: H L d How A Are We Doing? Grove Insight July, 2009 3

Views o the S a e e s of e State 4

Project 2059 Youth Are Divided in Their Perception of the Direction of the State Though They Are Much More Optimistic Than Adults in Oregon, a Near Majority of Whom Say the State Is Off on the Wrong Track Generally speaking, do you think that things in Oregon are going in the right direction, or do you feel things have gotten pretty seriously off on the wrong track? Not sure 24% Right direction g 38% Wrong track 38% 5

While Students Are Divided Over Oregon’s Direction, Over Two-Thirds Feel Optimistic About the Future Two Thirds Would you say you feel optimistic or pessimistic about Oregon’s future? Not sure, 11% Pessimistic, 22% Optimistic 68% Optimistic, 6

These Young Oregonians Clearly Value Their Communities V l Th i C iti How important is community in your life? Net Important 84% Somewhat important, 31% Very important, 53% Not too important, 8% Not important Not sure, 5% at all, 3% Net Not Important 11% Word Cloud created from the text of the question 7 “Define what a community means to you.”

They Define Community By Proximity, Cooperation, Shared Resources and Goals Define h t D fi what community means to you. it t “Community is a group of people that care for one another regardless of race “A group of people that A “A group of people li i f l living and culture. This group of come together because of and working together.” people work together to a common interest/goal.” ensure peace, harmony, and joy .” “A shared group of p p within g p people “Community to me is Community the same general region that “Community t me means a “C it to something that signifies share common living desires, network of people that not togetherness. People trying operate in close quarters, only live in the same area promote community growth and to help people. Enjoying but works together to build connection, and build a strong life. And keeping things in relationships with others.” p relationship around th i region” l ti hi d their i ” good shape.” shape “To me communities are groups “Community to me is a of people with something in cooperation among people “Community is a way to common, a school, interest, a to collectively come neighborhood. What makes a come together and community strong is the n that together and advocate or accomplish goals ” goals. group working together to fight for what is right, using right develop and strengthen n their numbers as their whatever their common factor.” power.” 8

The Issue of Education Ed ti 9

As We Saw With the One-on-One Statewide Interviews, Students Cite Education, the Environment and the Economy As the Most Important Issues And, As Would Be Expected of Young Students, Education Heads the List What issue listed below is the most important to you personally? Education 41% +19 The environment 22% The economy 15% 9% Equal rights/opportunity 8% Job creation Physical fitness 3% Government spending G t di 1% Not sure 1% 0% 20% 40% 60% 10

These Youth Think Oregon Could Be Doing a Better Job With the School System Though Over Three-Quarters Hold Soft Views of Schools’ Performance Overall, do you think schools in Oregon are doing an excellent job, a good j b only a f i j b or a poor j b? d job, l fair job job? 5% Excellent job Net Positive N t P iti 36% 31% Good job Only fair job 46% Net Negative 61% Poor job 15% Not sure 3% 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 11

Among Students Who Say Oregon Schools Are Doing a Good Job, Many Credit t e Teachers a y C ed t the eac e s What are some examples of how schools in Oregon have been doing a good job? “How the teachers are teaching.” “Passionate teachers and administrators.” “Teachers care personally about the students and the student’s needs on an “At least at my school I think that all y individual basis and really enjoy teaching.” of the teachers make an honest effort to educate resistant students and go out of their way to help those that are struggling.” gg g “I said the schools in Oregon are doing a good job because a lot of kids are getting good teachers and learning interesting, important things.” 12

Those Who Are Concerned About School Performance Note the Increased Use of Standardized Testing What are some examples of how schools in Oregon have been doing a bad job? “Basically, you go to high school to “Too standardized tests based, pass standardized tests. tests.” should b more experiential and h ld be i i l d discussion based.” “Too much focus is placed on standardized tests and not enough focus is set on “Focusing more of the attention customizing the education on testing than on learning.” for each student.” “Four words: No Child Left Behind. Teachers are no longer allowed to teach. They are forced to present test after test, “Focusing too much on just trying to get the reach standard after standard ” standard. students to pass the test (teaching for the test)” test) 13

Others Do Not Feel Challenged By the Schools In Oregon What are some examples of how schools in Oregon have been doing a bad job? “I hope for a more advanced “There is no encouragement to finish and rigorous education like school and the graduation countries. many of the other countries ” requirements are a joke.” “I know that many of my peers aren’t getting nearly “Most don’t offer enough as much as they could out of classes. challenging classes ” class. M school offers l My h l ff several “easy A” classes and above-average students like myself are missing out on other opportunities.” th t iti ” 14

Still Others Worry About Budget Cuts and Larger Class Sizes What are some examples of how schools in Oregon have been doing a bad job? “The budget cuts are harming our The “Class sizes are getting bigger to a Class teachers. They are being affected now point where learning is becoming but this will end up harming the more of a challenge.” upcoming generation and their skills.” “The government is cutting many funds for “For our school districts to excel education. education I believe that the governor already they i l th simply need more money.” d ” vetoed a bill that would help the education system. Moreover, we need more funding for early education, such as preschool and pre-K.” “Currently, the class sizes in my school are bigger than they should be with some classes having 40 kids to a room. Also, with our diminishing budget, electives that kids like may be taken “Funding, it’s horrible. away. I do not want giant classes and They need to fix that.” that do not want quality elective options taken from my school.” 15

Much of the Concern Around Budget Cuts Is Focused on the Diminishing Number of Electives, Music and Art Offerings Electives What are some examples of how schools in Oregon have been doing a bad job? “Electives are being cut yearly.” “Not enough arts “Promotion of the arts is very low in programs.” many, if not most, public schools.” “Our state’s schools are cutting “Limited art classes and arts programs left and right. t l ft d i ht limited PE classes.” classes Budgets and other needed funds are getting slashed left and right.” “Cutting music and cutting leadership like FFA.” 16

A Few Point to Mismanaged Resources What are some examples of how schools in Oregon have been doing a bad job? “We have no money so we are cutting all the classes that aren’t deemed “core” and are making those classes very l th l large, yet we j t t just paid someone to paint the inside of our school . . . I don’t get it.” “They are spending money on things that do not matter, like a new school logo when they could be spending it on things such as supplying buses for band to play at the graduating ceremony.” “They have been taking allotted amount for education and buying new technology that we don’t need and spending it on this that make the administration look good but are not benefiting the students.” students ” 17

The Environment e o e 18

Over Three-Quarters Have Positive Things to Say About the Condition of Oregon’s Environment g Though Nearly Two-Thirds Say It Is in Only “Good Shape” “I believe that generally Oregonians care about the environment.” Overall, how would you rate Oregon’s environment? Is it in excellent shape, good shape, only f i shape or i poor shape? ll h d h l fair h in h ? Excellent 15% shape h Net Positive N t P iti 79% 64% Good shape Only fair shape 20% Net Negative 20% Poor shape 0% Not sure 1% 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% 19

Students Believe Oregonians Are Committed to Working to Protect Our Environment – Recycling, Mass Transit, and Renewable Energy Projects Top the List of Examples of This What are some examples of how of how Oregon’s environment is in good shape? “We have lots of incentives to keep the “We take care of how we environment in good shape like the bottle live by recycling and using bill and tax breaks for solar panels.” p fuel ffi i t hi l ” f l efficient vehicles.” “Oregon gets much of it’s electricity f l t i it from hydroelectric h d l ti dams and wind farms.” “Lots of recycling, we as a state seem very aware of the environment.” y “Everyone i P tl d i so ‘ “E in Portland is ‘green’ and equipped ’ d i d with the environmentalist mentality, people make efforts to drive less, using bikes all across the city. Portland has a great public transit which allows for less carbon monoxide i th air.” l b id in the i ” “As I drove down 205 I am happy to As 205, see a long array of solar panels that soak up energy to power the street laps lighting the freeway at night.” “We recycle, have some water y , protection programs, MAX and other ways of transportation.” 20

These Youth Are Also Proud of Their State’s Natural Beauty What are some examples of how of how Oregon’s environment is in good shape? “Healthy forests and “Oregon’s expansive natural, undeveloped land is a treasure that clean rivers.” rivers has been well preserved. We need to continue taking care of those places and educate more people about their beauty and their importance so that our forests, canyons, grasslands, rivers “Look around, it’s beautiful.” and green spaces can be preserved for years to come.” “Unlike other states Oregon still has a high percentage of forested area.” “Strong protections for sensitive lands.” “State and regional parks, including Oregon beaches, are well p g preserved “Oregon has many wild parks which and maintained.” are protected from development.” 21

And They Believe That Oregon’s Natural Environment Is in Better Shape Than Elsewhere What are some examples of how of how Oregon’s environment is in good shape? “We have one of the greenest cities in the country and lots of “Compared to other states, Oregon has p , g natural beauty.” been a leader in the green campaign.” “Well we are one of the “We are also one of the best states in the greenest states physically and country in terms of recycling, compost personality wise I would say.” and alternative fuel programs ” programs. “Oregon is known for being one of the “Well, I’m comparing Oregon to other states greenest (and wettest) states in the nation, and it seems to me that Oregon, especially and there are many organizations devoted Portland, is making good headway in getting to keeping Oregon clean and cared for.” things green and clean.” 22

However, a Few Believe More Could Be Done to Protect th E i P t t the Environmentt What are some examples of how of how Oregon’s environment is in bad shape? “Oregon is beginning to implement many eco-friendly things, but a lot more is going to things need to be done.” “Good people. Pretty good shape. But room for improvement.” “While we don’t have the perfect environment, it isn’t all that bad.” 23

Others Worry About Logging and the Impact of Increased Development on the Environment What are some examples of how of how Oregon’s environment is in bad shape? “Development needs to stop expanding into suburban areas, and more land needs to be put aside for protection.” “The amount of logging, The clear cutting . . . And “I feel that a serious amount of expansion of cities into trees are being cut down in wildlife areas.” order to put in new homes.” “Our trees are disappearing and pp g new homes are arising. We “There are more and more trees that are need to keep our natural forest being cut down, and with the issue of global to preserve our oxygen.” warming, I don’t think it’s a good idea to don t it s clear cut in order to build new buildings.” 24

The Economy e co o y 25

Given the National Economic Crisis, It’s Not Surprising That Over 70% of These Young Oregonians Say the g g y State’s Economy Is in Bad Shape “I can’t think of many ways in which the Overall, how would you rate Oregon’s economy? Is it in excellent economy is doing well.” shape, good shape, only f i shape or i poor shape? h d h l fair h in h ? Excellent 0% shape h Net Positive N t P iti 12% 12% Good shape Only fair shape 26% Net Negative 71% Poor shape 45% Not sure 18% 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% 26

The Unemployment Rate Is the Top Emblem of Oregon s Oregon’s Bad Economy, According to Students Indeed, Oregon’s Status as Having the Second Highest Unemployment Rate in the Nation Is a Well Known Stat of Shame for This Crowd What Wh t are some examples of how of how Oregon’s economy is in b d shape? l fh fh O ’ i i bad h ? “The tough regulation on the “We have a huge fishing and timber industry unemployment rate, there are have taken away jobs from many homeless people who an Oregon that needs it.” would otherwise be working “Jobs are scarce, and it is very hard to find a job, especially in a even with high qualifications. rural area.” “Everyone is getting laid off.” “We are the second for the title of most “I am not sure if this is a correct statistic, but I unemployed people in the country . . . Of heard that Oregon has some of the highest course, course if jobs are effected than that means effected, unemployment rates in the country. It is country that the economy will suffer as well.” blatant when walking down Burnside, seeing all the homeless people. Oregon farmers are losing jobs as a demand of their crops is decreasing. decreasing Families are becoming homeless “Oregon has one of the highest and the job situation is terrible.” unemployment rates in the country.” 27

Some Point to the Adverse Effect the Poor Economy Is Having on Funding for Critical State Services What are some examples of how Oregon’s economy is in bad shape? “Country and statewide budget cuts.” cuts “We can’t pay for basic services p y like education.” “The budget is not figured out so “Deficit in the school budget.” we are always in debt ” debt. 28

Many Students Believe Oregon’s Economy Is Symptomatic of the Troubles the Entire Nation Is Facing g Put Simply: There Is a Sense That We’re Not in This Alone What are some examples of how of how Oregon’s economy is in bad shape? Oregon s “Just like any place in the country (or otherwise), our economy is in bad shape. I think that the whole world is in the middle of an economic disaster and it can only get worse. It doesn’t have worse doesn t anything to do with Oregon specifically.” “Well like the whole United States, Oregon’s economy is being affected right now by the bad “I think the whole world is economy and the stock markets.” struggling economically It is economically. not limited to Oregon.” People “People are losing jobs and struggling and being affected by goings on in Wall Street here, “We are in no better or worse shape than just like everywhere else.” other states, because they have similar issues as well and we do not seem to be handling them any better than the others.” 29

Looking to the Future: What Oregon Should Change and Aspire to Grove Insight July, 2009 30

In a nutshell, students want Oregon to aspire to: “Repairing the economy and improving and maintaining high standards of education and the environment.” environment Much like adult Oregonians right now, these teens’ priorities and hopes for the future are framed by the current economic crisis. Similar to our findings in the statewide one-on-one interviews (conducted in May and June of 2009) these youth are most concerned with the “Three E’s” – economy education and the 2009), Three E s economy, environment. With six in 10 (61%) of these students giving Oregon schools negative reviews, it’s no surprise that improving education tops their list of goals for our state in the coming 50 years. Having identified budget cuts p g p g g y g g as a key problem, they say that the best way to achieve a stronger education system is to increase school funding. Yet, money isn’t the silver bullet. Students also suggest that we need to evolve in the way we teach our youth, using different approaches in order to cater to diverse learning styles. Given their concerns about an over-emphasis on testing, this desire for more flexibility makes good sense. When it comes to Oregon’s environment, eight in 10 (79%) say it’s in at least “good” shape. Specifically, they are proud of Oregon’s natural beauty and believe Oregonians to be better stewards than residents of other Oregon s areas – particularly when it comes to recycling and mass transit. Still, they strongly believe that there is always more we could be doing. This need for continuously improving our environmental practices plays into their vision of a new renewable energy economy in Oregon. They see this as accomplishing two very important goals: boosting Oregon’s troubled economy with much-needed jobs while safeguarding our unique natural environment. To implement the important changes in the “Three E’s,” that Oregon youth would like to see over the next 50 years, they point to our need to work together as a state. This includes doing a better job incorporating the voice of the people in the decision-making that goes on in Salem, as well as pulling together as the Oregon “community’ – something they strongly value. 31

A Top Goal for Oregon Students Is an Improved Education System Define the most important goal you think Oregon should aspire to in the next 50 years. “Improve the public “Oregon needs “O d education system d ti t a better through increased education funding, staff, small “Education and the system.” class sizes, and “Improving education to the way we teach children better facilities.” level where people are so that they may actually prepared to go to absorb and obtain the college and if they choose information that they i f ti th t th instead to go into another are required to learn.” profession they have other skills.” “A stable education for students and “Improving our keeping jobs for educational system so d ti l t teachers.” that all students may succeed, because children are out future.” “Education! I think if people were more educated on a more “Better education broad basis then I standards and more think that would help variety within the more the economy and subjects we learn.” communities.” “Oregon’s school systems should be a Improve  “Education much higher priority than Education reform” they are right now now. 32

In Order to Achieve Students’ Goal of Improving Education, Many Firmly Believe that Schools Need , y y More Funding What would be the most important change you think is necessary to achieve g y y your 50 year goal for Oregon? “The government should “More money towards education put the children’s and j b creation/job t i i ” d job ti /j b training.” “Making college Making education ahead of more affordable.” anything else because we are the ones who are going to make a change and for that we should be well-educated.” “Increase funding for education.” “Don’t cut schools’ money and “Find a different teachers because students are way to fund our future.” Oregon schools.” “Increased public awareness, funding and support for the g pp “Direct more funding to schools and create g bolstering of public education.” programs to help schools. Encouraging donations from alumni would be good.” 33

Others Believe That in Order to Change the School System for the Better, We Need to Change How Children Are Taught Better What would be the most important change you think is necessary to achieve your 50 year goal for Oregon? “Removing credit by proficiency and “Create schools that have programs that can reach all instead re-teach teachers how to teach the needs of the students. Dedicated teachers will with the different learning methods also be needed and teachers who not only teach to the (Kinesthetic, Auditory, (Kinesthetic Auditory Visual) the same top or bottom students, but teach so the whole group way most ELL teachers know how to do.” of students can be stimulated even if you’re a top student or a bottom student.” “Having periodic check ups on students and teachers and continuing special education programs.” “Teaching and testing students on more than just two ways of learning. We must engage each student in their own way, because we are all unique individuals.” “The education system should be very transparent so that parents, students and teachers alike are able to see what’s being taught. If something isn’t working, we need “Encourage open discussion and to speak up and make clear what we like and increase education and openness in what we don’t, what needs improving and the school environment.” what needs changing.” 34

Students Are Interested in Improving Oregon’s Economy Define the most important goal you think Oregon should aspire to in the next 50 years. “Reducing the unemployment rate ” Reducing rate. “I think we should really focus on stimulating j g y g job growth.” “I think Oregon should focus on employment.” I employment. “Build the economy ” Build economy. “Improving economically.” Improving economically “I think the most important goal Oregon should aspire is to make the economy better because I think it’s one really big issue ” I it s issue. 35

Switching to a Renewable Energy Economy Was Cited as an Important Goal as Well Define the most important goal you think Oregon should aspire to in the next 50 years. “Changing the economy over to y produce renewable energy.” “I think an important goal for Oregon should be to better the “It should be completely environment. I believe this because green. All new buildings we only have one Oregon and one and sources of energy chance to live on this planet that is should be green ” green.” slowly polluting and I just want my children to get a chance to see Oregon at it’s best.” “Eliminate use of “I believe the most important natural gases. As aspect for me is making well as expand the Oregon g g greener.” use of solar, wind and hydrogen.” “It is also already on the forefront of environmentally friendly mass transit systems, “To no longer rely on carbon especially Portland’s Max based fuels for power. And to system, so that must be kept create all of Oregon’s energy p and/or expanded.” within the state.” state. “To lead the country in green technology, habits, and alternative 36 energy sources.”

Many Students Do Make the Connection Between a Green Economy, Better Jobs and Overall Economic Performance Define the most important goal you think Oregon should aspire to in the next 50 years. “To come up with much more jobs to fuel the economy but also to have all of these jobs maybe come from something environmentally based.” “I also think we should aspire to create jobs in j green energy in the years to come.” “Bring new technology into Oregon which will help benefit the environment while giving jobs to those who need it on all levels.” 37

To Achieve a Greener Economy and Clean Environment, These Youth Believe We Need, in Part, Government Intervention and a Focus on the Creation of Green Jobs What would be the most important change you think is necessary to achieve your 50 year goal for Oregon? “More funding is More required to design build and install alternative energy generation devices.” “Cap carbon “Having state emissions, education mandated youth about the standards for environment, en ironment protect new energy our outside because sources and although the economy state funded fluctuates over time, if energy sources.” sources we screw up our p natural world there’s no going back.” “The most “Promoting important change the creation would be to cut of green g down on the use jobs.” of fossil fuels.” 38

Yet They Also Believe More Could Be Done to Simply Raise Public Awareness and Knowledge About the g Green Economy and Environmentally Sound Practices What would be the most important change you think is necessary to achieve your 50 year goal for Oregon? “Letting the public know how Letting “Educate people by important it will be to change letting them know how to renewables. Most people much energy they are ignorant of climate change “Inspire students to follow a p consume in comparison and the effects are already ‘green’ path, and want to to other nations in the being seen in Oregon. take a job in green energy.” world and what they Informing the public of the can easily do to problem and making minimize their adverse sustainability the common effects on the goal of everyone is the most environment.” important goal to accomplish.” 39

Many Believe That the First Step in Achieving Any Goal Is Ensuring That We All Work Together for the Common Good What would be the most important change you think is necessary to achieve your 50 year goal for Oregon? “A change in mindset. We need to accept that things won’t get better on their own and that we have to work together to get things done.” “Fix the rift between western and eastern t d t sides of the state. “We need to realize that We are so different there is risk and that that we might as well money will be lost. Good lost be two different b t diff t things don’t come cheap. states.” We need to listen to the people and not be afraid to make drastic changes.” “The best thing we can do is have solid cooperation f h lid ti from “Setting up exchange programs between urban and rural everyone in our community schools, allowing students to get a taste of life they’re not used and think not as black or white to. Hosting forums on issues that aren’t necessarily going to people, Democrats or divide the urban residents and the rural ones so that people p p Republicans, G R bli Gays or across the state can team up to make changes they want.” Straights, but as Oregonians.” 40

As Part of the Theme of Greater Cooperation, Students Would Also Like More Responsive and Inclusive Leadership in Salem p p What would be the most important change you think is necessary to achieve your 50 year goal for Oregon? “The governor and everyone else who helps run The Portland needs to change SOMETHING. Maybe we need to elect new officials.” “The Representatives and Senators of Oregon should not back policies being thrown into committee so fast that nobody knows about t e o s them until the day they are “Better government decided on.” officials and a better plan.” p “Giving the people of Oregon a “A legislature that is more responsive bigger say in our government ” government. to the wishes of the people.” 41

A Profile of Survey Respondents Grove Insight July, 2009 42

Almost Twice as Many Female Teenagers Responded Than Males 64% Female 36% Male 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 43

The Majority of Participants Are in Their Junior or Senior Year and Are Between the Ages of 15 and 18 What is your age? What year are you in high school? 60% 60% 46% 45% 41% 40% 40% 27% 20% 20% 14% 7% 5% 4% 5% 5% 0% 0% 13 14 13-14 15 16 15-16 17 18 17-18 19 20 19-20 Freshmen Sophomore Junior Senior Just In college graduated 44

Just Under Three-Quarters of Survey Respondents Live in Portland and the Willamette Valley North of the Eugene Area 40% 30% 28% 23% 23% 20% 10% 8% 8% 4% 0% City of Portland Mid-Willamette Portland Coast South I-5 Eastern Oregon Valley Suburbs/exurbs Corridor 45

Over Seven in 10 Respondents Either Text Message or Have a Facebook Pageg Smaller Numbers Use MySpace and YouTube, While Twitter and Blogging Are Relatively Unused Please select the different types of new communication technologies you subscribe to or have an account with. Cell phone text messaging 74% Facebook 70% Myspace M 47% You Tube 45% Twitter 18% Blog 12% 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% 46

Almost Four in 10 Students Heard About Project 2059 at the Model UN Conference or at School Where did you hear about Project 2059? Model United Nations Conference 23% School 15% Girl State 9% FFA State Conference 7% My parents 5% Mentor 5% An adult 5% Oregon 150 website 4% A leadership conference 4% % OASC State conference 4% Facebook 3% DECA 3%

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