Oregon Closes Online Schools!!!

Well this has got to be the dumbest thing I have read all week:

WW: The Oregon Department of Education has closed the state’s online charter schools under Gov. Kate Brown’s order to close public schools to halt the spread of COVID-19, according to a document obtained by WW.

…Marc Siegel, a spokesman for the Oregon Department of Education, confirms that although Brown’s order did not explicitly call for the closure of online charters, state education officials believe that is the intent of the governor’s order.

I have to think this is an oversight soon to be corrected but maybe there is a method behind the madness. Some are worried that students will switch into online charter schools reducing other public school funding:

“Enrollment of new students to virtual public charter schools during the closure would impact school funding for districts across Oregon and therefore may impact the distribution of state school funds and delivery of services as directed under the executive order,” the department said in its guidance to districts.


Hat tip: Raghu Parthasarathy.


The issue all states are facing is equal access. Many rural students lack decent Internet access. Other students lack any device with which to go online other than a smartphone. This is a problem that cannot be fixed immediately.

Reread the post and the link:

“Enrollment of new students to virtual public charter schools during the closure would impact school funding for districts across Oregon and therefore may impact the distribution of state school funds and delivery of services as directed under the executive order,” the department said in its guidance to districts.

Charter schools siphon off students and also $. Lack of access? Hogwash.

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Even if this was the case, what would be the logic? Given that one kid out of 10 cannot access the on-line courses, let’s keep ignorant all of them?

Educationally, equality of outcome is apparently the highest value, even if that means universal ignorance. Administratively, protecting staff paychecks is the highest value. Education of children comes in third at best.

Brown v Board is a thing that lots of people remember.

I'm not saying shutting down everyone is the right answer. And there probably is someone evil trying to stop success from happening.

But it's incorrect to say that inequality of access isn't a problem and we should just ignore it.

Hey, if you want to get the first comment, there's just no time to bother reading the post and linked sources, I get it. Peace, out.

Massimo, as someone who is working not quite on the frontline but certainly adjacent to it on this (sudden switch to online education for rural students), I'd somewhat agree with you. Teachers are innovative and are working on solutions for students without internet access -- but many of those are hugely time-intensive, such as preparing study packs and hand-delivering them at students' houses, each spaced dozens of miles apart (remember these are kids who might be bussed in 1+ hour from all directions, and that it's likely to be the more distant homes that don't have internet).

Using this model, it will probably be possible to get meaningful resources to the say 10-30% of kids who genuinely have no alternative -- but there's no way they could arbitrarily do it for 100% of students just to make it equal. More likely there might need to be a division of labour between teachers teaching online, and those doing the physical study packs -- I expect this to develop if the situation continues for long.

On physical study packs in these situations, here's an idea: what about making these available at or near a location to which a lot of these families will travel at some point, such as the local Wal-Mart? Between that and a bit of community organization - i.e., a person grabs packs for both their own kids and their neighbors, where neighbors in outlying rural areas might be everyone who lives within a mile - there should be ways to handle distribution without teachers having to take them to all homes.

Understood that there are some coordination issues: probably not something that can be figured out over a day or two, but something that *can* be figured out over a week or two.

That was as much a problem before the COVID19 crisis as it is now. So why would the appearance of COVID19 serve as the reason to shut down the online school that was previously operating?

Because traditional schools can't.

Can't what?

Because socialists would prefer that we all be equally poor than that we be unequally rich. That preference applies just as much in education as in economics.

Marry that to the DOE's (and the teachers' union it serves) rabid hatred for all things charter, and the only surprising thing is that it took this long for them to try to shut down the competition.

I have maintained for years that Oregon is by far the strangest state in America. Nothing they do surprises me. Not that the following is definitive reasoning but it stands as one example. The state has one of the lowest violence rates in America. It also has the most serial killing per capita.

Oregon tries the hardest. But Floridians don't need to constantly remind each other to "keep the Panhandle weird."

I mean, you can say that, but -

1. That's not why this is happening here.

2. Closing off online schooling because some students *may* - may, you don't know, you're assuming - not have access is just as stupid.

Government school unions hate charter schools.

My read is that in both Portland and Oregon the education leadership values equity over all else. Some equity can’t be achieved with online classes, no one gets any classes at all.

I don’t agree with the logic. However, I don’t think think the leadership sees this as an mistake.

The article references similar logic for why Portland Public Schools, the state’s largest school district by students, is not offering any online classes while schools are closed.

Instead, the district is working on providing food. It seems like there are other organizations better suited for that role.

A March 19 article in the Oregonian (https://www.oregonlive.com/education/2020/03/coronavirus-closure-wont-lead-to-online-classes-in-oregon-public-schools-this-is-why.html) suggests that Matt L's hit on the right answer—
“Protecting student rights has to be front and center during the conversation about distance learning,” Marc Siegel, spokesman for the Oregon Department of Education, told The Oregonian/OregonLive in an email. “You cannot open a brick-and-mortar school in Oregon unless it is accessible to every student in their school district. The same rules apply to an online school.
The state’s public schools are not equipped to do that for special education students, those who speak English as a second language, students who lack computers or internet access and others with special circumstances during the shutdown, he noted.

“Our students with disabilities and specialized needs, by law, require specially designed instruction,” Siegel said. “If a school opens to serve its community’s students, it must be able to provide those specialized instruction services.”

Rule by the lowest common denominator-applying this logic to other parts of society seems like a recipe for mediocrity at best or disaster at worst.....

And Guv Abbot of Texas insured that gun stores remain open. It happens on both side and it indicates piling on for special interests making this the normal recession we have been awaiting.

I think most states are keeping gun stores open so not to get into 2nd amendment issues. Who cares? I can still go to Target as well.
Oregon has done something that is actively and unnecessarily hurting the students, for no reason other than politics.

I agree with TMC on the legalities, and there's litigation in the states that have closed them - https://www.kunc.org/post/are-gun-shops-essential-business-depends-where-you-live (at least as of 5 days ago in a fast-changing situation).

Noted conservatives such as J.B. Pritzker and Ned Lamont have made the same decision as Abbott. /s

Seems like the practical effect of doing otherwise - closing gun stores - might just be giving Wal-Mart a competitive advantage over gun stores. That's especially true in a state such as Texas where there are Wal-Mart's all over the place. There are 500+ Wal-Mart's in Texas, far and away the most of any state ( https://www.scrapehero.com/number-of-walmart-stores-and-an-analysis-of-related-store-data/ )

He didn't 'ensure' anything. He just came out and said that they weren't non-essential and so didn't have to close.

Given that the 'essential/non-essential' divide is completely voluntary and the governor can't make *anyone* close - anyone who does close is doing so on their own.

Never let a crisis go to waste.

It will eventually lead to public sector pension bailout. We will end up with a short term MMT to default on some of this stuff.

Tangentially related: If you or your family ever thought you wanted a 3d printer, now's a good time. Setting one up, learning the software, tuning the print, are all incredibly inwardly focused and frustrating. Helpful, to forget the outside world for hours at a time.

I have a past bargain printer, but if you are starting today, look at the Ender 3. I am sure you can waste hours doing research!

My goal for this week is to become half decent at FreeCAD.

Probably this is only a temporary measure to make sure the on-line schools can get their anti-virus software up to date and running.

Your joke did not go unnoticed.

The curve of charter schooling must be flattened at all costs.

That's "Unbelievable" in the sense of entirely predictable.

Never let a crisis go to waste.

Yes, I was wondering why Alex thought this was "unbelievable"!

The city school district here is focused on delivering lunches, presumably using the fleet of buses. Perhaps a takeaway of the pandemic will be that making people dependent on school for food was less purely benevolent than supposed. (There was actually a PR effort here, last fall, asking people to please not send their kid to school with a sack lunch as it reduces the district's purchasing power - we need everyone to buy, or rather to be given, a federal lunch.) Meanwhile, I'm told that in at least one small town in my state, the schoolbuses are still running - to drop off lessons! ... and then making the rounds to collect them.

Teacher’s unions fear many of those students won’t come back. The equity argument is a red herring.

The Dems in Oregon are especially beholden to the worst elements of their ruling coalition, including the public sector teachers' union. This move is all about perpetuating a government-run near monopoly to appease public sector employees / voting blocks. And it's no surprise that something so dysfunctional would come out of Oregon, a state that is routinely skewered by even "left-leaning" comedian John Oliver for its multimillion dollar failed government programs and regressive state lottery.

This illustrates both the intellectual bankruptcy of public schools (in that Portland SD appears to be endorsing this idiocy) and Oregon government.

Remember, this is the state that still requires you not pump your own gas, in part to protect jobs.

I work in this state (live in Vancouver). I was hoping the election to vote this idiot out of office would be this fall. Unfortunately, it is not until '22. I hope many people will remember this and vote this idiot out of office when the time comes.

BTW, you can now pump your own gas in Oregon.

What's to stop parents from homeschooling, and outsourcing the actual instruction to some online "schools" (they won't use that name) based outside of Oregon?

I'm guessing Oregon won't send money to an out-of-state online school.

What's to stop parents from homeschooling

Stop giving them ideas.

Usually its either guns or laziness. I'm willing to bet that homeschooling in 'weird' Oregon is a really difficult thing to do legally because the government values conformity and obedience above all.

Anyone who hasn't read something dumber than this this week hasn't been reading much this week.
And yes, this is indeed very dumb.

It's part of the every child left behind program.

In a related note, the Oregon Health department has announced that if there are not enough ventilators for everyone, hospital will shut down access to all ventilators. According to Kate Brown's spokesperson "It's the only way to ensure the poor have the same opportunity as the rich. We must preserve equity at all cost."

Please don’t give her ideas.

If they really believed this, high school and college sports teams would all be “everyone who wants to play gets to play” with equal time on the field.

This is wrong. According to Corey DeAngelis, they are allowed to remain open, but they cannot enroll new students and they have to support public schools as they attempt to go online. Closed = closed to new enrollement.


Is it though? These are the people who, during the last government shutdown, went out of their way to close off *unmanned* national parks - parks that normally have no staff. And closed off scenic overlooks.

Anything, ANYTHING! to protect that precious funding. Because, remember, you are not the customer, the government is - they're the ones who sign the checks over to the school.

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