Portland, Oregon Education Cabinet
Former Portland Mayor Sam Adams made a commitment to education. He sought to increase the high school completion rate by 50% and double the number of youth who go on to postsecondary education or training. With Portland boasting Oregon's largest community college (Portland Community College at over 86,000 students), the city leadership was in a unique position to make improvements to the city's education pipeline. Less than two-thirds of Portland students graduate from high school on schedule, and this disconnect can be seen in the poor transition rates to ninth grade.
One step on the path to improved educational outcomes was creation of the Education Cabinet in 2009. The city Mayor and King County Chairman served a joint leaders of this body. Member were an action group of over 40 stakeholders in business, education, and philanthropic sectors. The Education Cabinet is galvanized by several goals around youth reengagement and strengthening the education pipeline. The Cabinet sought to motivate 4400 students throughout the county to pursue a postsecondary degree by 2013, engage 2500 youth in postsecondary experience each summer, and narrow the achievement gap seen with students of color and their white peers. The Education Cabinet approved the city's first Scholarship Strategy to help improve postsecondary access and made an inventory of all public dollars geared towards dropout prevention. The Education Cabinet now supports the city's larger STRIVE-based Cradle to Career program through a partnership with Portland State University and Portland Leaders Roundtable on Education.