Welcome Back to School!

Dear Virtual Public School Family,

Welcome back to school! This is an exciting time for students and parents as we kick off the 2016-2017 school year. My name is Debbie Thibodeaux. I am the President of the Oregon Virtual Public Schools Alliance (OVPSA), a coalition of virtual school families and supporters dedicated to the long-term viability of virtual public schools in Oregon. I have three children enrolled in virtual public school and for the last seven years, I have been actively involved in advocating on behalf of Oregon virtual public school families.

2016 Legislative Wrap Up

 Dear Virtual School Parents,

The State Legislature adjourned the 2016 legislative session earlier this month.  But during the short session, virtual public schools were once again the target of state policymakers who don’t understand this important education option.

Legislation introduced by State Rep. Susan McLain would have created a study to evaluate virtual public schools.  Virtual public schools have faced more scrutiny than any other 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.  

Thousands of Oregon families have found success for their children in virtual public schools. It’s a vital part of our public school system that gives kids who need an alternative to the traditional classroom a place to get a quality education. But Rep. McLain’s virtual school study bill would have opened the door for opponents of parent choice to limit our access to schools that work for our kids. 

We called on parents to help us defeat this bill.  And you did!  Virtual school parents sent emails and made phone calls to legislators urging them to oppose even more scrutiny of virtual schools. Your voice was heard in the State Capitol!  The House Education Committee held a hearing on this bill, but due to the overwhelming response from parents, the bill never found enough support to advance through the committee!

While we were able to defeat this threat, we need to remain vigilant about protecting virtual public schools.  Our opponents will continue to look for ways to target our schools.  We can’t understand why giving a small number of kids access to a public education in an environment better suited to their needs is so threatening to some. But with your help and through education and coordinated advocacy, we can continue to make a difference for Oregon’s virtual school students.

If you’re motivated to protect this choice for your family and others and you’d like to get more active in our effort, please email us at info@oregonvirtualschools.org.  Parents are a powerful political force, and we will not let our voice be silenced.

Thank you for your help and support.

Sincerely,
Jennifer Kambas
President

www.oregonvirtualschools.org

info@oregonvirtualschools.org

Tell your legislators to oppose virtual school study bill

Dear Virtual Public School Families,

The Oregon State Legislature is at it again.  The 2016 session doesn’t convene until February 1, but virtual public schools are already a target of state policymakers who don’t understand this important education option.

A bill, HB 4091, introduced by State Rep. Susan McLain would create a study to evaluate virtual public schools.  Do we really need another virtual school study?  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.  You can view all of these additional requirements here.

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 to death, and each new attempt is yet another opportunity for opponents of parent choice to limit our access to schools that work for our kids. 

Will you take a moment to email your State Senator and State Representative to tell them that virtual public schools are the most highly accountable schools in Oregon and urge their opposition to yet another study?

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.

Then fill out your address and your message will automatically be sent to your Senator and Representative.

With your help we have defeated previous threats to virtual public education. Let’s do it again and tell our State Legislators that virtual public schools are the most accountable schools in the state and don’t require yet another study.

Thank you for your support.

Sincerely,
Jennifer Kambas
President

Help us tell your virtual school story

Dear Virtual Public School Family:

 

We need your help on an important project.  As many virtual public school families know, changing the perception of virtual classrooms is one of the more difficult parts of what we do. Allowing families to provide their children with the learning environment that works best for them is what drives us in our pursuit of a robust and widely supported virtual public school system. 

Virtual Education News Fall 2015

Dear Virtual Public School Families,

 

Over the last several weeks we have all returned to the “classroom.”  This is an exciting time of year for students and parents.  My name is Jennifer Kambas and I am the President of the Oregon Virtual Public Schools Alliance (OVPSA), a coalition of virtual school families and supporters dedicated to the long-term viability of virtual public schools in Oregon. 

2015 Legislative wrap up

Dear Virtual School Families,

The State Legislature adjourned the 2015 legislative session on Monday, July 6.  During the session, the legislature considered a bill that would have cut funding for virtual public schools.  With the help of families like yours, who visited, called and emailed your state legislators, the bill never found enough support to advance through committee.

This wasn’t the first time we’ve been threatened by bills that cut funding or limit access to virtual public schools, and it surely won’t be the last.  These bills deny parents the right to choose the public education that best suits their children and threatens the quality of our schools.  When these threats appear we have to respond.

And you did!  Virtual school parents sent over 400 emails to legislators and made dozens more phone calls demanding full funding for virtual public schools.  Your voice was heard.  The House Education Committee scheduled and then cancelled two hearings on this legislation due to the overwhelming response from concerned parents. 

While we were able to defeat this threat, we need to remain vigilant about protecting virtual public schools.  Please stay involved and recruit new families to our effort.  Make sure to “like” our Facebook page and encourage other families to do the same.

Through education and coordinated advocacy, we can continue to make a difference for Oregon’s virtual school students.

Thank you for your help and support.

Sincerely,

Steven Isaacs
President

 

Capitol Day is April 16 - Register today!

Dear Virtual Public School Families,

Virtual Schools Capitol Day is in just two weeks!  Don’t miss out on this fun event.  Register today! You will have the opportunity to meet other virtual school families, teach your children about state government and demonstrate your support for virtual public education.  Join us in Salem for Virtual Public Schools Capitol Day on Thursday, April 16.  You can click here to register now!

Last month, hundreds of parents contacted their state legislators to express their concerns about HB2170, a bill to cut funding for virtual public schools.  Due to the strong voice of virtual public school supporters, the House Education Committee cancelled two hearings on this bill. The cancellation of these hearings proves that the parent voice matters in the debate over virtual public education and school choice.  Well done!

I urge you to continue to make your voice heard in the halls of the Capitol by attending Virtual Public Schools Capitol Day on April 16.  Capitol Day is an opportunity to recognize our legislators who are strong champions of public school options, show our support for virtual public schools and talk to legislators about protecting this important education option. 

I hope you will join us in Salem for Capitol Day on Thursday, April 16.  If you have your yellow scarf from a last year’s Capitol Day, please wear it again this year to show your support.  We’ll of course, have more for everybody.

Here’s the plan:

9:30 AM – 10:00 AM – Registration at the Mission Mill Museum

1313 Mill St., SE, Salem (2 blocks from State Capitol Building – free on-site parking available)

10:00 AM – 10:10 AM – Welcome

10:10 AM – 11:10 AM – Education program for students

11:10 AM – 11:25 AM – Legislative Update

11:25 AM – 12:10 PM – Lunch

12:10 PM – Walk to the Capitol

12:30 PM – Legislator Awards Ceremony on the Capitol Steps

1:00 PM – Drop in on your State Legislators

1:30 PM – Tour of the Capitol Building (Space is limited and based on first come – first served)

2:30 PM – Tour of the Capitol Building (Space is limited and based on first come – first served)

Capitol Day is your opportunity to meet other virtual school families, teach your children about state government, and tell your state legislators why virtual public education is an option that needs to be protected.

Please click here to register for Capitol Day, Thursday, April 16.  If you have any questions, please email us at info@oregonvirtualschools.org.

See you in Salem on April 16.

Sincerely,

Steven Isaacs
President

 

 

You did it! Funding cut hearing cancelled!

Dear Virtual Public School Supporters,

You helped make it happen! Due to the strong voice of virtual public school parents and students, the House Education Committee has cancelled the hearing on HB2170, the virtual school funding cut bill. 

The committee planned to consider the bill during a hearing tomorrow, Friday, March 6.  Legislators received over 400 emails and numerous calls from parents who expressed their concerns about the impact a funding cut would have on their virtual public school.  The cancellation of this hearing proves that your voice matters in the debate over virtual public education and school choice.  Well done!

We will keep you informed of future developments in Salem on the issue of virtual education.  In the meantime, you can email us with any questions.  And don’t forget to sign up for Capitol Day on April 16th (click on the link and scroll down to the bottom of the page to view the registration form).

Thank you for all you do to advocate on behalf of Oregon’s virtual public school students.

Sincerely,

Steven Isaacs
President

 

 

Your help is needed to fight virtual school funding cuts

Dear Virtual Public School Families, 

Last week I told you about HB2170, a bill that would cut funding for virtual public schools. Well, we’ve gone from worried to very concerned.  We just learned that HB2170 is moving through the legislative process and we need your help!  The House Education Committee will hold a hearing on HB2170 on Wednesday, February 25th.

Many special interests have tried to limit access to options like virtual public schools but they have failed in their attempts.  Now they have their sights set on funding for our schools, which already receive less money than traditional schools.

Your help is urgently needed!  Here are two things you can do:

    •    Send an email to your legislators asking them to oppose cuts to virtual public school funding.  This is easy to do: simply click here and fill out this form.  Don’t forget to add a personal message about why virtual schools are critical for your child’s education.  The form provides a blank message box for you to add your personal message. 

    •    Come to Salem on February 25th and speak up on behalf of your virtual public school.  If you can testify, please email us and we’ll get in touch with you.  The hearing will be in held in Hearing Room D of the State Capitol at 1:00PM on Wednesday, February 25th. Please see the details below 

House Education Committee Hearing on HB2170
Wednesday, February 25th
1:00PM
Hearing Room D
Oregon State Capitol Building
900 Court Street, NE
Salem 97301 

Virtual public schools, which are organized under Oregon’s charter law, already receive less funding than traditional public schools.  But, we still need adequate resources to maintain our effective, state-certified teaching staff, competent administrators, world-class curriculum that complies with core standards, and a sophisticated technology platform capable of delivering instruction.  Rather than focusing on the quality of the education or the importance of education choices that fit the needs of our kids, legislators are looking to cut funding.  That’s not right. 

Our students deserve the same commitment to a quality education that others receive in traditional brick and mortar public schools.  But, we desperately need your voice engaged in this process if we’re going to be successful in stopping any funding cuts. 

Thank you for all you do on behalf of Oregon’s virtual public school families.

Sincerely, 

Steven Isaacs
President

 

Help us tell us your story

Dear Virtual Public School Family:

We need your help on a quick project.  As many virtual public school families know, changing the perception of virtual classrooms is one of the more difficult parts of what we do every day. Allowing families to provide their children with the best learning environment for them is what drives us in our pursuit of a robust and widely supported virtual public school system. Unfortunately, we still have a ways to go towards educating many lawmakers and members of the media who do not know about the existence and benefits of online learning for many families across the state. 

Join us in Salem on February 4

Dear Virtual School Families and Friends,
 
Virtual Schools Capitol Day is in just 10 days!  Don’t miss out on this fun event. Register today! This is a great opportunity to meet other virtual school families, teach your children about state government and demonstrate your support for your virtual public education. Join us in Salem for Virtual Public Schools Capitol Day on Tuesday, February 4. You can click here to register now!

New AFPF Brief

September 6, 2013

AFPF releases a paper on great
opportunity for education reform today, explaining the exciting new frontier
that virtual schools provide in the struggle for economic freedom.

Arlington, VA (PRWEB) September 06, 2013

Today, Americans for Prosperity
Foundation released a policy brief explaining the exciting new frontier that
virtual schools provide in the struggle for economic freedom. The report is
available here.

“Thanks to the Internet, a quality education
is a click away for thousands of students who were previously unsatisfied with
their brick-and-mortar public school,” AFP Foundation Policy Analyst Casey
Given explains in the report.

Since virtual schools aren’t bound by
enrollment caps and geographic location like brick-and-mortar schools, Given
argues that they have unprecedented potential to extend educational choice to
every student with an Internet connection. The policy brief then explains the
history of online learning, its various forms, and its contemporary challenges.

full copy of the policy brief is available here.

“Several states stubbornly refuse to expand educational freedom online. In fact, many conservative educational reformers are even scaling back their states’ existing online programs, often in the name of preserving ‘local control’ for district school boards,”
according to Given.

From New Jersey’s withdrawal of approval for the first two virtual schools to open up in their state to Pennsylvania’s targeted cuts to online learning, the report suggests that better techniques need to be implemented to evaluate and approve virtual schools.

“Instead of one-size-fits-all evaluations, states should more effectively evaluate virtual schools’ performances by focusing on progress rather than benchmarks. States should
evaluate whether a student’s knowledge has improved rather than if their
knowledge is sufficient to pass a state standardized test.”

The policy brief serves well as a primer on a part of the school choice debate that is often overlooked by education reformers.

Help Needed to Fight Virtual School Cuts

Dear Virtual Public School Families:

The rumors are now a reality.  Tomorrow morning in the Oregon State Legislature, there will be a hearing on HB 2457, a bill to cut funding for virtual public schools.

Our opponents have tried to limit access to virtual public schools through enrollment caps and other hurdles like home district transfer approval.  They’ve failed in these attempts, but now have their sights set on our funding.