Oregon has a long history of allowing parents to seek the education environment that works best for our kids. Particularly in a time of COVID-19 and uncertainty around classroom learning this fall, parents need access to alternatives we think will keep our kids on track.
Unfortunately, decisions will be made by Salem legislators in the next week that will deny parents online learning options. This is not the time to be telling parents we can’t choose the online learning environment we think will best suit our kids.
In 2011, the Oregon State Legislature placed a cap of 3% on the number of kids in a school district that can transfer to full-time online schools. Nearly 10 years later, that number hasn’t been adjusted to account for growth. With COVID-19 closing traditional classrooms around the state, more and more parents are seeking better online learning options and school districts are hitting that 3% cap. What happens when that 3% cap gets hit? Parents in that district are out of luck. We’re simply stuck with only one option: enrolling in a traditional brick-and-mortar school.
A bill will be debated next week to temporarily lift the 3% cap and allow more parents to seek online alternatives. That’s a good thing. But, in June 2021 they’re proposing to take the cap back down to where it was, which would simply throw families out of the online school they want to stay in. The right solution is lifting the cap permanently so that parents have access to online schools now and, if it’s working for them, in the future.
Some education special interests are trying to keep the 3% cap because they want to protect the status quo. This is wrong. Parents need to let them know we should decide what’s best for our kids, not bureaucrats.