Easing cyber-charter rules and helping Dreamers front load the 2018 Oregon Senate Education Committee public hearings 1:00 p.m. Thursday, February 7, 2018, HR C. SB1520 is a buffet of options provided by the Senate Interim Committee on Education, one of which allows easier cyber-charter money to for-profit entities. SB1563 allows Dreamers access to financial aid in higher education. Mandatory reporting, SB1540, needs more support to make it to committee.
For-profits get cyber-charter money easier
One section in SB1520 removes sunset on provision that virtual public charter schools may contract with for-profit entities to provide educational services if employee is administrator and meets other requirements. This makes it easier for Charter Management Organizations (CMOs) to get public money.
The CMO for Ohio’s Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow just stranded thousands of students this month, costing the taxpayers $80 million. Oregon may be next on that list.
Oregon Connections Academy, the largest cyber-charter in the state, is part of Pearson’s Online and Blended Learning K-12 Group. Failure rates on standardized testing at this cyber-charter are some of the highest in the state. Last year, standardized test failure rates (receiving 1 or 2) increased in both English Language (41.4 % to 47.1%) and Mathematics (71.2% to 73%).
Rewarding failure with easier money invalidates all accountability and makes a joke of standardized tests. Promoting failure, especially to a for-profit entity, is a poor return on investment (ROI). For anyone concerned about public education or thinking that government should run like a business, millions of dollars are at stake.
Dreamers in Higher Ed
SB1563 allows a pathway for Dreamers to pay resident tuition at public universities. Chief sponsors were Senator Dembrow, Representatives Hernandez, Alonso Leon and Senator Courtney. It looks like there is wide support for the bill, however, early public testimony is encouraged.
Mandatory reporting stalls in first hearings
SB1540 modifies the definition of child abuse for purposes of mandatory reporting. The petition effort from McNary High School students led Senator Gelser and Representative Post to write the bill for clarifications about mandatory reporting. The change.org petition garnered more than 4000 signatures. This bill needs to get on the agenda.