Make sure your voice is heard on virtual school bills

Dear Virtual School Family,

We need your help! On Monday, April 10 the House Education Committee will be considering two bills related to virtual public education. The first bill, HB2898, would take into account the unique and diverse group of students who attend virtual public schools and their individual progress toward graduation. We support this bill, and we need you to ask your legislators to support it, too!

The second bill, HB2720, would create a study to evaluate virtual public schools. We oppose this bill, and we need you to ask your legislators to oppose it, too!

Oregon has one of the worst graduation rates in the country, and improving our students’ performance is an important goal for all Oregonians. But, data can often be deceiving. We all know that many of our kids came to virtual public school because the traditional school just wasn’t working for them. That sometimes means they’re behind grade level when they enter a virtual school. Under the current system of measuring performance, our online schools are rated by the percentage of their kids who are performing at grade level. Ultimately this means that our schools are being penalized for enrolling these students and trying to get them back on track.

HB2898 would create a new method for analyzing student achievement data in Oregon so that students who are behind grade level are measured by their year-to-year growth rather than whether they’re at the same level as their peers. This will allow our schools to be judged based on how much they are helping students get back on track and make progress toward graduation. 

Kids who aren't a good fit for traditional schools used to be the ones who “fell through the cracks.” That is not acceptable with our current technology and public school options. Oregon’s method for collecting data on schools and kids must catch up with today’s reality.

We support HB2898.

Virtual public schools have faced more scrutiny than any other type of public school and are without question the most transparent and accountable schools in Oregon. Our schools must comply with dozens of rules over and above those that apply to traditional brick and mortar public schools. 

Among other things, virtual public schools have additional academic achievement and school performance requirements, limitations on who can serve as an employee or board member of the school, and guaranteed public access to all financial data for the school and its vendors.

Our schools have been studied at length, and each new attempt, like HB2720, is yet another attempt by opponents of parent choice to limit our access to schools that work for our kids.

We oppose HB2720.

Will you take a moment to email your State Senator and State Representative to voice your opinion on these bills?

Just click here and you’ll be taken to an email form. The basic message is filled out already, but you have the option of creating a personalized introduction and closing. In addition, don’t forget to let legislators know why a virtual public school is the right choice for your family! Then, fill out your address, and your message will be sent to your State Senator and State Representative.

Thank you for all you do on behalf of your own children and the rest of Oregon’s virtual public school students!

Debbie Thibodeaux
Oregon Virtual Public Schools Alliance