It is, of course, essential that Oregon ensure the rigor and quality of online charter schools and demand financial and academic transparency from the private vendors operating these “virtual schools.” But once the state is convinced that online students are receiving a quality education, why should it prevent other families from making the same choice?
The Oregon Board of Education recently spent several hours kicking this question around before concluding that parents should be allowed to choose online schools — but only up to a point. A majority of board members supported parent choice only if there was a cap on how many students could leave an individual school district. In other words, parent choice for some, but not necessarily all.
We understand the issue: State money follows students, and in theory enough students might bail out of an individual school district that it would leave that district too financially weakened to serve its remaining students.