Monday, March 16, 2009

Oregon School Administrators: keep kids out of public schools!

The Confederation of Oregon School Administrators (COSA) is one of the "big three" education establishment groups in Oregon. Its membership consists of, as its name would suggest, public school principals and superintendents. They, along with the teachers union (OEA) and the school boards association (OSBA) are very influential in Salem when the legislature takes up matters of school policy.

In a recent article in the Woodburn Independent, a COSA official actually argued that it is a bad thing to bring more kids into Oregon public schools! What a great advocate for public schools COSA is!

Here is the context: COSA has sponsored a bill to shut down the Oregon Connections Academy(ORCA) which is the largest public school in the state, serving 2650 students through an on-line curriculum. The bill is SB767, and it would make it illegal for an elementary aged student to attend ORCA, and would also allow school districts to deny any other child the right to attend the school.

The bill is a full frontal assault on this very successful charter school, brought to your by Oregon's education establishment, who always are on the march for educational excellence.

In the article in the Woodburn newspaper, Craig Hawkins of COSA explained why they want to shut down the school:

"Online schools add students, such as homeschool students, to the overall (public school) student population in Oregon, resulting in thinner per-student slices of the already-not-big-enough school funding pie."

In other words, it's a bad thing bring more kids into the public schools. I wonder if Hawkins would take the next logical step and advocate for REMOVING kids from the public school system in order to bring about "fatter per-student slices" for the remaining kids?

Hawkins also blatantly lied about the per-student funding situation for ORCA, and the newspaper not only caught the lie but pointed it out!

"Craig Hawkins of the Confederation of Oregon School Administrators, one of the organizations backing SB 767, said the per-student funding for virtual and brick-and-mortar schools is "essentially the same."

The reporter knew this was wrong, and correctly pointed out that ORCA spends $4,000 less per student than the statewide average of "brick & mortar" schools. Basically, Hawkins lie was let sit there all alone for everyone to see.

If only we could get this kind of actual reporting out of The Funny Paper once in awhile!

I hope this bill, backed as it is by COSA, the OEA, the other school employee union the OSEA, and a slew of Democrat legislators will once and for all expose the lie that these people and groups have as their top priority the education of our state's kids.

Do they care about education? Sure, but it definitely isn't their top priority. Their top priority is making sure the school system works for the ADULTS. Anything that threatens them, the kids get sold down the river, and fast.


Anonymous said...

ORCA does have a problem since it is sponsored by the Scio school district and must have a waiver to allow it to exceed 20% of that district's student population. It is obvious that the "adults" want to bring ORCA students into the ODE's newly formed online academy.

As to reducing the "slice of the pie" each student gets, COSA must also look askance upon districts such as Corbett that attract formerly home schooled or parochial schoold students (whose parents prefer a smaller public middle or high school atmosphere.) from larger neighboring districts.

Anonymous said...

Doesn't SB 767 kinda defeat the purpose of having charter schools?

It seems OEA, COSA, & OSBA often forget schools are available for the benefit and use of children of all ages. Too often the OEA's idea of schooling gets in the way of education.

If Connections Academy has such huge enrollment, they are obviously on to something good. Why would we shut that down? Charter schools have brought thousands of home schoolers into the public school system which adds up to millions of dollars. Charter schools have challenged the concept of "seat time" and rescue kids who fail in the typical classroom.
There is a huge demand for school choice, and the district that is willing to step outside the red tape and be competitive will thrive like Scio.
If school choice is messing up somebody's $$$'s, the $$$'s need a new system.

Anonymous said...

Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.

Charley B said...

Well, things have become so dire it seems we need bullying legislation to protect kids in our very own public school buildings. But...... we don't want to give families an alternative to have kids learn somewhere else. Talk about parents getting jammed between a rock and a hard spot.

Anonymous said...

There is a current charter school issue you may be interested in.

It is important that people find out about what is happening!
If you would contact me my email is

Here is the fact sheet on the issue:

LÊP Charter High School
2044 E Burnside St.
Portland, Or. 97214

Fact Sheet on LEP and PPS
The Leadership and Entrepreneurial High School (LEP) is a successful charter school in SE Portland. Their charter is up for renewal March 30th, 2009 7pm. This school is exceptional. It is innovative, has well developed curriculum and solid community support.

PPS superintendent Carole Smith is making the recommendation that the schools charter not be renewed because of financial problems. The reason that LEP has these problems is PPS. PPS has received money from the state based on the students at LEP and has not passed it on. PPS has kept LEP's money. And now they are threatening to close a successful and loved charter school by recommending its charter not be renewed.

PPS has withheld monies they have received for students in poverty. 65% of LEP students fit the criteria. PPS provides money for 17%. $411,858 (in the past three years)

PPS has withheld School improvement fund money. PPS receives this money based one the # of students at LEP, yet they do not pass it on to them. ($47,000 total)

PPS has withheld foster care funding. The state provides money for each student in foster care system. PPS receives the money based on the qualifying numbers at LEP, it does not pass it on. ($68,000)

PPS dropped the free lunch program at LEP, with a two week notice and no reason why. (Cost to LEP so far, $14,000)

LEP receives $6,000/ student vs the $10,000+/ students that district schools receive. With that LEP must pay all their operating expenses. The largest of these is rent.

What is amazing is that LEP is able to provide an exceptional education and environment to their students for significantly less money. This is a sustainable exceptional model of education. We need the community to know what PPS has done. We need PPS to support LEP, not to reduce their resources and then close them down. We need everyone to know about this. We need LEP.

What LEP is doing:

Raising money (the goal is $100,000) we are working on 1000 $100 donations

Getting the word out about LEP and about PPS's lack of financial integrity

Maintaining a fabulous school through this challenging time.
Getting everyone we can to the board hearing on March 30th when the board votes for LEP's charter renewal.

Here are some links: (the schools website) (letter in an oregonian blog)
(oregonian article) (on channel 12)

MAX Redline said...

Scio Barbie: Pregnant at purchase, this Barbie comes with a stroller and bus pass. Also included is a G.E.D. and a completely filled out food stamps form. Construction worker Ken and his '82 Caddy are optional. Available at Value Village.

ORCA does have a problem since it is sponsored by the Scio school district

See, if Laaka Swego would sponsor the school, there'd be no problem.

Anonymous said...

There would still be a big problem.

Correct me if I'm ignorant:
Can't districts compete for money by attracting more students? Aren't students attracted to schools which meet their needs? Wouldn't this create an environment of competitive school choice? Would that boost the school quality and choice?

If a district cannot waive the residency requirements allowing students to seek a fitting school, wouldn't that be a big set back for families living in a district of sub-par schools who want more choices? Is there any logic behind restricting virtual schools for k-6th grade but not 7-12? Why the ambiguity?

Schools like Connections prove there is a good sized, wide spread population of students looking for an alternative. What kind of jerk would deny them a solution?

We're going to kill a great school just because the students don't live in the same city? Guess what - These kids don't have to travel to the same city - they do school on their computers at home and it's great! So why are Scio and all it's self motivated learners being punished?

What is going to be outlawed next? Public schools just force kids' faces into a little peep hole of what they want them to see. Now all the student's of Connections Academy have a glimpse of what they can accomplish sans seat time. Good luck getting them back into standard public schools. They already tasted freedom.

Anonymous said...

It's amazing what some of these kids at Connection's and similarly modeled Charter Schools are accomplishing. Many of these kids are kids who can't do regular seat time cause they are too busy traveling, competing, inventing, writing and performing.