Jeff Kruse

FEBRUARY 24, 2017




We have had another week in which not a lot has happened at the committee level.  The Ways and Means road show, as I have previously mentioned is designed to increase the demand for more taxes, is meeting in Ashland and Eugene.  The road show finishes next week and we are expecting the majority party to start going public with their plans by the middle of next month.  I have had very little things to say that have been positive up to this point, and when we look at the big picture nothing has changed.  But I thought maybe I would share with you something I have been working on that I am actually getting excited about.


Well over a decade ago I teamed up with President Courtney to expand new born screening in Oregon.  The expansion of that program has had some very positive results for a lot of children in our state.  That work encouraged me to look at screening and testing from a more global perspective, which lead me to the work I have been doing over the last couple of years.  In Oregon we have a patchwork for screenings we do for children when they enter the education system, and it seems that we should be doing a more comprehensive job in this area.


To that end I began having conversations with people who have expertise in this area.  My thought was we could do a better job of ensuring good outcomes for children in the education system if we could deal with these potential problem areas on the front end with a comprehensive screening program.  The areas of interest here are vision, hearing, dyslexia and autism.  With the help of the Oregon Pediatric Society and a group of experts we believe that within the next couple of weeks we will be able to bring forward to the Legislature a real plan.


Clearly the devil, as always, will be in the details; but we believe this will be a very positive improvement in the system for a lot of children.  Our ultimate goal is to have age appropriate testing as a requirement for attending school.  For those who would object to “another government mandate,” I would point out there may be no other way to ensure all kids are screened. 


As we continue to look for solutions to Oregon’s high dropout rate, this may in some ways help find part of the solution.  We know if kids fall behind in the early years in most cases they may not be able to catch up, which may cause them to give up.  Identifying problems early and being able to address them will help make the education of a lot of kids much more successful and allow them to have a brighter future.




Senator Jeff Kruse



email: Sen.JeffKruse@oregonlegislature.gov I phone: 503-986-1701
address: 900 Court St NE, S-205, Salem, OR, 97301
website: http://www.oregonlegislature.gov/kruse