Gordon Lafer for the School District 4J Board of Directors in Eugene (OR)

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NPE Action is proud to endorse Gordon Lafer for the School District 4J Board of Directors in Eugene, Oregon. Gordon is a faculty member at the University of Oregon’s Labor Education and Research Center where much of his work has been on educational policy issues. He is also an accomplished writer and author. Since joining the board in 2019, Gordon has made some important advances that we describe below. 

Gordon led a two-year effort that succeeded in restoring librarians to elementary schools for the first time in 20 years. Eugene now has a full-time librarian in three of the district’s low income (Title I) elementary schools. He also worked with other Board members to dramatically increase funding for book acquisitions for all 4J libraries. Gordon has fought for, and won, easing overcrowding in schools. He testified in Salem about class size and capping enrollment in for- profit online charter schools. Gordon worked with district leadership, Board colleagues and the Lane County Building Trades Council to establish the first-ever Community Benefits Agreement, which guarantees that construction contractors building schools will provide family health insurance to their employees – without increasing the cost to the district or taxpayers.

Gordon is against the use of test scores in teacher evaluations. He told NPE Action that test scores “don’t capture the value of teachers’ work because so many other factors go into test scores besides what teachers do, and there is a great danger of this practice leading to teaching-to-the-test in a way that dulls down education.” Gordon successfully lobbied the Superintendent to issue a statement declaring that if parents ask a teacher whether they think a certain standardized test will benefit their child, teachers are permitted to voice their honest professional opinions. After a year-long delay, Gordon helped lead the Board in reaching a collective bargaining agreement with classified employees that established $18/hr minimum wage and provided what the union called a “historic living wage contract.” Finally, Gordon fast-tracked the adoption of a new social studies curriculum that is more inclusive than the old curriculum and created a “book challenge” policy — so that if someone insists a given book to be removed from a library or from the curriculum, there is a central and objective process for responding to each request, which will serve to minimize the political censorship of books in 4J schools. Gordon’s goal on the school board is to help guarantee that all kids in Eugene get an education that challenges them, that engages them, that makes them feel like the world is an interesting place they’re capable of exploring, and that helps them grow up as full, confident human beings. 

If you live in Eugene, please make sure to get out and cast your ballot for Gordon during the general election on May 16, 2023.

Not authorized by any candidate or candidate committee. Authorized and paid for by Network for Public Education Action, PO Box 227. New York, NY 10156. 646-678-4477.