Children of the state?

In 1922 Oregonians voted to prohibit children from attending private or religious schools. The law never took effect because the US Supreme Court overturned it in 1925, declaring that “The child is not the mere creature of the State.“

Now, we see a modern-day incarnation of that earlier debate, stirred up by the recent revelation that Oregon Speaker of the House Jeff Merkley and his wife applied to send their two children to a charter school in 2004.

Since Merkley voted against authorizing Oregon charter schools in the first place, some see his personal choice to be hypocritical. Others are more charitable, recognizing that he understandably wants to do what’s best for his own children.

And then, there’s the view of retired Portland area public school teacher Terry Olson.*

Olson’s blog often rails against charter schools, private schools and what he sees as the agenda of some to “privatize our public schools.”

At the same time a teacher’s union spokesperson seems willing to cut Merkley some slack for his personal decisions about where his own kids go to school, Olson is not as forgiving. The key passage of his recent blog post proclaims:

To divert human capital –namely good students with strong parental support– from public schools is to undermine the ability of those schools to succeed. I completely reject the notion that the first responsibility of nominally public school-supporting parents is to consider the welfare of their own children while ignoring the well-being of others. I cannot say, as others have, that their urge to seek out “better” options for their kids alone is either understandable or forgivable.

To do so would be to acknowledge that the individual, or private, good trumps the common good. I don’t believe it.

So, there you have it. Children are simply “human capital.” It’s not them we want to see succeed, it’s the government schools. Perhaps Mr. Olson should consider what the Supreme Court told Oregonians back in 1925:

“The child is not the mere creature of the State.”

Postscript: As the first commenter below mentions, I recommend you watch the 10-minute Drew Carey video about how a concerned principal, parents and students have to battle the teachers union to make changes at their school.

Unlocked: Education Revolt in Watts

* Terry Olson passed away on October 15, 2009. He added two comments to this post under the name Terry. My sincere sympathies to his family.

Steve Buckstein is Senior Policy Analyst and founder of Cascade Policy Institute, a Portland-based think tank.

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  • Karen

    Mr. Olson’s ignorance shines as he declares the “common good” of our “human captial” can only be served by the union dominated government schools.

    Common good? Is that what is being preserved at Jefferson High and other decades long struggling schools?

    Or the Teacher’s Union protecting teacher predators?

    Olson’s pitch is the classic rhetoric which seeks to lock into perpetual crisis and mediocrity all of our public schools.
    Olson’s message is that the Teacher Union’s good trumps the common good, trumps the students, trumps the parents and often even trumps their own membership the teachers.

    His take on charter schools is the stuff of the Teacher Union parasite which infects all things public education.
    The ultimate demonstration of Olson’s core can be found in this video.

    If you have not watched this you have not seen the parasite.
    I guarantee if you watch this you will be infuriated and tell others.
    Drew Carey Project: Education Revolt

  • Steve Plunk

    Merkley’s sin is failing to disclose his true loyalties. By sending his children to a charter school Merkley has implicitly admitted they are a good thing for students. By voting against authorizing charter schools Merkley showed his allegiance to the teachers union and the education establishment that sees charter schools as a threat to the status quo.

    So Merkley put his campaign contributors and supporters interests ahead of the interests of Oregon students, parents, and taxpayers. Shameful.

  • Pat Ryan

    Of course the Speaker didn’t send his kids to a charter school.

    What actually happened is that his wife took a tour of a local charter school with a friend and per the school’s rules, had to fill out a form, (which Rob Kremer posted on his site), but don’t let the facts get in the way.

    Accusing political opponents of “sins” that they did not commit seems a little “shameful” to me.

    • Steve Plunk

      The sin in this context is political. Certainly you have heard of political sins. It makes no difference if Merkley didn’t follow through and send his kids to the school he had already exposed his belief that they were a viable alternative to standard public schools.

      The facts still stand that Merkley says and votes one way while believing another. That’s the shameful part. I stand by my words.

  • Rob Kremer

    Pat Ryan you are attempting to mislead and obfuscate.

    There was no “rule” by the school that they had to fill out any form. The form was an enrollment form. They filled it out to enroll both their kids in the charter school.

    I posted no form on my site. Willamette Week got it from the school. It clearly showed they not only enrolled their kids, but then called after the lottery and were told they were on a waiting list (note was hand-written by a school official on the form.)

    You are clearly trying to mislead here by implying that the Merkley’s simply filled out some kind of informational form. Quit lying. Or, as you so unoriginally put it, “don’t let the facts get in the way.”

  • Danny

    Pat Ryan has proof. His own posting (below) over at BlueOregon where he made up an entire fairy tale.

    Pat, Since you haven’t an honest bone in your body I’m surprised you didn’t post your whole tale here. But you do demonstrate the typical MO of lying and cover used by your Teacher Union dominated Democrats. Making up your little tale shows you’ll go to great lengths to mislead people and cover up a story.
    Did Merckley approve your tale? How about the union? Is your approach what we can expect from Merckley?
    Is this technique of yours the useful kind of tool used to also keep secret child abusing teachers?

    Have you written anything to anyone advocating a halt to secretly passing abusive teachers from one child to another?
    Posted by: Pat Ryan | Mar 1, 2008 3:39:17 PM
    Once upon a time in America, a couple of middle class mothers are discussing the pros and cons of the myriad options that either might consider for their children’s education.
    One lady tells the other, “Hey, why don’t we check out school X, it’s only a few blocks away.”
    When they get to the school, they are informed that they need to fill out a few lines on a questionaire in order to get the tour.
    They do. They get the tour. Nothing further occurs.
    A long time political opponent of this lady’s husband decides to make hay out of it, and gets a local paper to run a story which attemtpts to vilify his nemesis.
    Other political opponents predictably jump onboard and and predictable Hijinks ensue.
    This is the 80th comment on this non-story.
    Rock on!

  • Rupert in Springfield

    Look, this is nothing new. In fact it is quite in keeping with the basic theory of a strong arm grip on education, through the essential monopoly of the public school system, as one essential arm in a socialist system. That system has always been predicated on the masses having one system, the elites of the party having another. Public schools are simply one area where this stark reality of the two tiered system becomes evident to all. Merkley’s decision is simply following in the same mold. The teachers union cutting Merkley some slack is probably because so many of them do the same thing. Terry Olsen’s view, however, is astonishing. I am glad he is retired as clearly anyone with his Stalinist/Nazi like view of the individual kind of doesn’t belong in the primary/secondary school teaching field.

  • Howard

    How tired your song is. In your declaration that those who disagree with you “certainly shouldn’t, and probably wouldn’t, call themselves advocates of public education” is saying the only way one can be a advocate of public education is by supporting whatever the union dominated democrats want to dump on the system.
    How full of crap can one be.
    You and yours dumped onto and sustained the CIMCAM assault on every K-12 public school in the state. The biggest crime against public education in the history of the State.
    So enough of your soured pretense of defending public education. You’re a political hack who places every public education and student interest beneath the Union power and control.
    And making things worse you are chronically wrong and dishonest.

  • dean

    Steve…the “Mao” imagery is a bit over the top don’t you think?

    My reaction is….yawn. What is the big deal. Assuming the worst, that Merkley voted against Charter schools but now sees their merit, what is actually wrong with that? We just had a Republican primary election where the leading “conservative” flip flopped on every issue under the sun and no one seemed to care. People should change their minds when faced with evidence. Maybe the actual presence of chatter schools, rather than the mere concept turned Merkely.

    Years ago I argued against building the Eastbank Esplanade in Portland because I thought it would be a waste of money to build a trail below a noisy, polluting freeway that should be moved or removed from the river. But since the Esplanade was built, I use it and have come to enjoy it, and now I think I was wrong to oppose it. Does that make me a hypocrite or just teachable?

    Support Merkley if you think he has the right stuff and is on the right team to help dig our country out of the hole that Bush and a Republican Congress dug. Support Novik if you think he is better. Or Gordon Smith in the general if you want to hold to the Republican road to…..wherever.

    But please…use your space here to promote intelligent dialogue about real issues, not for petty character assasination pieces.

    • Steve Buckstein

      Dean, this post is not about Jeff Merkley. It was simply the news about him that precipitated Terry Olson’s comments. Re-read my comments about Merkley and I think you’ll agree that they’re balanced.

      This post is about the mentality that says government schools are more important than the children they’re supposed to serve.

      And, to the Mao imagery: they say a picture is worth a thousand words, so I’ll just let viewers accept or reject the imagery as they see fit.

      • dean

        Steve…exactly my objection to the picture. It way overstates your case and shuts down constructive dialogue. It impies being in favor of public schools is supporting communism.

        • John Fairplay

          Isn’t it?

        • Yomi Mizuhara

          It, heh, essentially is.

        • Chris McMullen

          The imagery is perfectly appropriate, Dean-o. Terry Olsen obviously thinks our kids should be forced into Union-led public schools no matter how crappy they are.

          Moreover, there’s really no point in “constructive dialog” with labor union shills like you — it’s pretty much pointless.

          Watch the video Dean. Check out how your union buddies really care about the children.

    • Steve Plunk

      Revealing a candidates positions for the electorate to judge is constructive and facts are far from character assassination. Merkley is falling into the classic corrupt politician stereotype, say you believe one thing while actually believing another. A useful thing to know when electing one out of a hundred US senators.

      Rather than attack the facts of this or impugn the piece as character assassination use reason and logic to refute the charges. If they can be refuted that is.

  • cc

    “My reaction is….yawn. What is the big deal. Assuming the worst, that Merkley voted against Charter schools but now sees their merit, what is actually wrong with that? We just had a Republican primary election where the leading “conservative” flip flopped on every issue under the sun and no one seemed to care.”

    Well, lets see. If we let the puposefully obtuse _dean_ define the “worst”, manufacture facts and attempt to obfuscare with the tired argument that bad behavior excuses bad behavior, then it all makes perfect sense in his simplistic mind. The goal of this juvenile tactic, of course, is to “…(shut) down constructive dialogue.” So naturally _dean_ accuses others of the same tactic.

    So very circular. So very transparent. So very typical. So very tired.

  • Jerry

    I simply say, “Vive la choice!”

  • Ted Kennedy’s Liver

    The 1922 Ballot measure was put forth by the Klan as a direct attack on Catholic schools.

    How telling that the OEA and its liberal supporters should continue the Klan’s work.

  • Bad Boy Brown

    I can’t wait for the Gordon Smith campaign to show up Merkley’s flip flop on public education.

    • dean

      John and Yomi…okay…sure public schools are communism. Public parks are communism. Social security is communism. Public police and fire departments are communism. Government is apparently communism. And good luck with your political program, whatever you have left to work with.

      Steve…the piece is not about Merkley’s position. It is an attempt to show hypocrisy or that he changed his position. What “charge” us there to refute exactly? That he might have changed his mind? I would think that if you support charter schools, then you would give him an atta boy for seeing the light.

      TKL equates OEA with the Klan. Now that is convincing. I don’t know that OEA every tried to make Catholic schools illegal, but maybe I missed something.

      • Steve Buckstein

        Dean, I don’t believe that the OEA existed in 1922, but if it had, do you seriously believe that it would have opposed the initiative to outlaw all but public schools in Oregon? Even the governor who was elected on the same day the initiative passed, Democrate Walter Pierce, supported it. He was described by the NY Times as the “Klan candidate.” The Klan was strong in Oregon then, and even if most Oregonians didn’t support it, they did support the idea that government knew best when it came to educating children. That sentiment, hopefully minus the anti-Catholic element, is what this post is about, not Merkley’s personal position.

  • Eddie

    Unions exist to protect workers from predatory management.

    In the case of the Public Schools, the union seems to protect “workers” mostly from parents, and by extension, students.

    Forgive me if I believe that nothing should stand between a good teacher and their students, or a bad teacher and the door.

  • Howard

    This should make clear to everyone that it is impossible to make any basic point to dean and have him grasp the point accurately and respond specifically to it.

    He can’t even get the hypocrisy charge right.

    dean’s twist makes it “an attempt to show hypocrisy or that he changed his position”

    No it isn’t. The charge is observed hypocrisy not flip flopping.

    I’ll bet this won’t help dean progress but here it is again.

    Merckley’s hypocrisy is absolute with his simultaneous alliance with the OEA to combat charter schools and his pursuit of enrolling his own children in a charter school.

    It’s clear Merckley either all along felt charter schools were worthy or he decided a while back they were. Either way he chose to NOT notify the OEA or end his allegiance to charter school defeat.

    Instead he chose hypocrisy and secrecy, period.

    Worse yet he likely decided against what he and his wife felt was best for his own children, Arthur Academy Charter school, because of the the anticipated political fallout .

    At any rate dean can’t get it and spins mightily everything. There’s not a single step forward to be made with him.

    Even as we post here the OEA, Democrat Legislators and Merckley continue their efforts to destroy charter schools.
    They continue to mount attacks against charter schools and new applications including attempting to shut down the successful and cutting edge Connections Academy Online charter school.
    Merckley refuses to disavow himself of this maniacal effort. His own political stature is more important than schools he knows to be successful and worthy of his own children.

    Hypocrisy has not a better example.

    But dean advises that Merckley deserves an “atta boy for seeing the light”.
    Gee I must have missed the press release where Merckley announced his support for charter schools and informed the OEA of his seeing the light.

    So while Merckley’s hypocrisy continues dean never saw it to begin with and suggests we applaud him?

  • Harry

    Howard writes:
    “This should make clear to everyone that it is impossible to make any basic point to dean and have him grasp the point accurately and respond specifically to it. ”

    dean is a very effective liberal troll who dominates the discussion here, posting multiple times with specious and fallacious arguments designed to frustrate and distract.

    The proper response is to ignore dean, not engage dean.

    People who feed trolls are enablers. They make the problem worse.

    You should ignore dean and focus on the purpose of OregonCatalyst: “OregonCatalyst is a place for conservative Oregonians to gather and share news, commentary, and gossip.”

    Feeding trolls distracts greatly from this puspose.

    Ignore dean. Do not engage dean.

    • dean

      Steve…according to their web site, the OEA was officially incorporated in 1927. But the Oregon State Education Asociation, its forerunner was formed in 1858. I don’t know if they had any position on the Klan’s effort to shut down Catholic schools. I would not speculate on what position the OEA would or would not have taken. What would be the point? One can speculate anything. Why not focus on what OEA’s position is or isn’t on current issues and show why they are wrong?

      Howard….if we take the “facts” as noted in the post at face value, I don’t come to your hypocrisy conslusion. Its like saying someone votes against funding for state parks, and thinks the Oregon beach bill is a socialist takings of private property, but then takes their family to the beach and gains access through a state park wayside. Is that hypocrisy or just taking advantage of what was provided in spite of one’s misgivings?

      If Merkely believes Charter schools would result in a deterioration of other public schools and he voted that way, fine. If he then decides to take advantage of new Charter schools that were formed over his objections, I just don’t see that as a big deal. People often do what is best for themselves even if they know it might not be best for everyone else….like driving when one could have ridden the bus or cycled. That doesn’t mean one can’t still support funding for transit and cycling lanes.

      Harry….with the name calling again. Bring it on my friend. It only means you can’t deal with the arguments I offer. Only those insecure in their positions would try to cut off reasoned debate from those who disagree, right?

      But don’t answer that or you will only encourage me.

      • Steve Buckstein

        Dean, I was not aware that the Oregon STATE Education Association was formed in 1858, which was the year before Oregon even became a state. In any event, I think we can speculate that it, or most of its members, did support the 1922 initiative to ban private and religious schools for two reasons. First, that seemed to be the prevailing sentiment of the time. Second, employees of the public school system would have benefited if their competition was outlawed.

        • dean

          Steve…its what the OEA has on their web site. I guess the founders were correctly anticipating the statehood event. Clearly you are free to speculate all you want. My larger point, for what it is worth, is that yor original post (the image) and the Klan discussion are transparent attempts to make a case of “guilt by association” without providing any hint of evidence. Public schools exist in a whole lot of countries. and many consider them a foundation of democracy, not communism. As for the Klan association, maybe many or most teachers supported them in 1922, and maybe they didn’t. Maybe they opposed private schools, and maybe they didn’t. Either way…what would it have to do with present day issues?

          If you want your readers to accept an argument that public schools = communism, and that the OEA =the Klan circa 1922 (which a number of them seem to do,) I would say that places you and them pretty far outside of the bounds of constructive debate on school and education issues. If you are comfortable out there, then no problem, and no need for me to waste time trying to reel you all back in.

          • Steve Buckstein

            Dean, you’re of course correct that many countries have public schools and many consider them “a foundation of democracy” but others probably consider them a bulwark against democracy.

            If it makes you feel any better, I don’t expect anyone to look at the Mao image on this post and think simplistically that public schools = communism. But to the extent public schools are seen as more important than the children they’re supposed to serve, I do see some similarity to forms of government that put the state first and individuals second.

            I also don’t equate the OEA with the Klan. Many Oregonians agreed with the Klan in the 1920s that Catholics were somehow a threat to the American way of life. Many saw the public schools as protectors of their Protestant religion. Today, I believe many people see public schools as protectors of a secular religion that, again, puts the state first and individuals second. Terry Olson’s remarks highlight this belief, so I wanted to give them more coverage than they would perhaps get just on his blog.

          • dean

            Fair enough Steve. What nations do you think view public schools as as a “bulwark against Democracy?” Or did you mean individuals within nations may view them this way?

            I may be naive, but I have always thought of public schools as our biggest collective investment in our kids, in the expectation they will have a better chance to grow up to be litterate, educated, productive, responsible adults who can better fend for themselves and contribute back to the whole. I don’t think of public education as “state first”nor as “individual first,” but as a key element of “community,” which I like to define as *a group of interdependent people who inhabit the same planet, nation, state, region, or town, and interact with each other for mutual benefits*.

            Community and communism share the same root, but do not mean the same thing, like economy and ecology.

            Referring to kids as “human capital” does not mean they are “simply” human capital. Of course they are much more than that, and it is unfortunate that anyone would have to describe kids as “investments,” but we liberals find it hard to break through to those who seem only interested in the cost of public services, and don’t think of school funding as an investment in the future.

            Is there such a thing as a “secular religion? Those 2 terms would appear contradictory to me. I tried to look it up and came up with “no definitions found.” I’ve never heard anyone say they support public schools for that purpose, but maybe I missed something, and I am a strictly observant agnostic.

          • Rupert in Springfield

            >expectation they will have a better chance to grow up to be litterate, educated

            Ok, now that’s funny. Dean, thank you for the spell check thing!

            >who seem only interested in the cost of public services, and don’t think of school funding as an investment in the future.

            Well, considering that school funding, on a per pupil basis is ridiculously high compared to the results, don’t some of us have to question – “with all this investment, why am I not a millionaire?” Face it, school funding is an investment in a bunch of teachers retirement planes and little more. Private schools do far more, with far less, so let’s get over this “investment” thing, its a rat hole, unless you are a PERS retiree.

          • Rupert in Springfield

            and yes, there is one in there for you Dean. Thought I would return the favour.

          • Chris McMullen

            Spare us the sanctimony, Deanie. No one here is claiming they’re against public schools, they’re just sick of your union buddy’s stranglehold on the system.

            You’re attempt at turning the OEA critics on this blog against “the children” is pathetic.

            P.S. did you watch the video? Just how was the union correct in that scenario?

          • Steve Buckstein

            Dean, when I think of nations that view public schools as a bulwark against democracy, North Korea, Cuba and China come to mind.

            I’m glad you don’t think of public education as putting the state before individuals, but I’m afraid statements like Terry Olson’s in this post do make that implication.

            I agree with you that kids are much more than “human capital” or “investments,” but the context in which Olson says this implies, at least in the context of the preeminence he places on the public school system’s place in our society, that kids are little more than that.

            Finally, I think there is such a thing as a “secular religion” although as Justice Stewart said of pornography, I may not be able to define it, but I know it when I see it. People who place so much faith in the public school system that they think individuals must serve it, rather than the other way around, are practicing a secular religion. Of course, when called on this, they may deny that’s what they believe, but read Olson’s statement and then tell me that he isn’t saying the kids are there to serve the institution.

      • Rupert in Springfield

        >Why not focus on what OEA’s position is or isn’t on current issues and show why they are wrong?

        Oh good lord, this coming from someone who will use the most tangentially racist argument against Republicans for past transgressions and yet think all Democrats transgressions were purged in a single wave of LBJ’s pen on “The Civil Rights Act”.





        The point of the matter Dean plays devils advocate like nobodies business.

        • dean

          Well…in that spirit,

          Public schools have to educate the least among us, while private schools get to refuse to serve those who are not up to snuff, the basic argument against charter schools and vouchers. I’m not reflexively against either, if we can find ways that are not excuses for leaving the poor further behind or are only thinly disguised union busting.

          Chris…I was not attempting anything. I was responding to the critiques others have posted…i.e. equating public schools with Maoism. I did not watch the video. My computer video thingie is on the fritz. Dang this Vista program anyway…

          For the record, I have no friends or relatives in the teachers union, and am not a union member myself. I see the teacher’s union as basically looking out for the teacher’s interest (pay, benefits, working conditions,) which is what unions exist for. My experience with individual teachers as my son went through Portland public schools was mostly quite positive, as was his. He earned an IB certificate, a partial scholarship at a great public university, and seems well adjusted. I don’t feel teachers as a group are overpaid or underworked, based on what I have seen.

          I do think every union has the annoying habit of protecting its least productive members at the expense of its better workers. Why they do this so tenaciously I do not know, having never been in a union. But unions are crucial in propping up the middle class of this nation. As they decline, we decline with them, and the economic record on this is pretty clear across many decades of experience.

          Rupert…I’ll choose to stay on topic and avoid re-litigating the civil rights thing for now.


      • Ted Kennedy’s Liver

        The Oregon State Education Asociation enthusiastically sided with the Klan. I believe they even helped draft the ballot measure.

        Source is Dr. David Horowitz, History Dept., PSU.

  • Terry

    I seem to have offended some of the libertarian anti-government-school crowd with my use of the term “human capital.” Perhaps I should have used the less offensive term “human resources.”

    Either way, the message is the same. Those who support public education, as I do and as Merkley claims he does, should be wary of diverting “resources”, whether financial or human, to schools in direct competition with diverse public common schools.

    Public education is one government program that has served American democracy well for over a hundred years. I daresay it has served many of the readers of this blog well also.

    By the way, although I support collective bargaining for teachers and unions generally, I am not a spokesperson for the PAT, the OEA, or the NEA. In fact, I myself “battled” the local OEA affiliate in Hillsboro (of which I was a member and one time building rep) to push through reforms that I believed greatly benefited the students I taught.

    But perhaps “battle” is the wrong word. Skirmish or disagreement may be more precise. It’s been my experience that teachers are much more concerned about student learning than union politics.

    • Steve Buckstein

      Terry, thanks for weighing in here. But I’m not sure substituting “human resources” for “human capital” makes much difference in the context of this discussion.

      When I hear people say that “children are our most important resource” or words to that effect, it sounds like we are treating children as factors of production, to be exploited for the benefit of us adults. It still implies that the system is more important than the kids.

      On unions, I hope you’re right that most teachers are more concerned about student learning than union politics. But, I’m reminded of what national teachers union leader Albert Shanker said when asked once about what impact a teacher strike was having on school children. He replied that “he would start representing kids when they started paying union dues.”

    • Chris McMullen

      Terry, I’m curious as to why you think public schools should get more support considering they are underperforming, money-wasting institutions?

      We spends more than pretty much any other country, but turn out some of the last educated students. Why would anybody in their right mind advocate for public schools with their dismal performance?

      Moreover, what has the NEA done to improve schools? All they do is try to promote a liberal, communal agenda and increase their power-base.

    • Harry

      “Either way, the message is the same. Those who support public education, as I do and as Merkley claims he does, should be wary of diverting “resources”, whether financial or human, to schools in direct competition with diverse public common schools. ”

      Are Charter Schools not public?
      ….. not diverse?
      ….. not common?

      Of course, they are all of that.

      Charter Schools are public tax payer schools with all of the rights and restrictions of public schools. Just not forced to be completely certified union teachers.

  • Steve Buckstein

    Terry Olson made another clarification to his comments on Tuesday on Rob Kremer’s blog at

    “To clarify, my remarks about sending one’s children to private schools were directed to self-declared advocates of public education. Those who don’t believe in public schools have every right to send their kids elsewhere, just as they have every right to disagree with my notion of the common good.”

    That’s interesting, since based on 2000 Census data, 20 percent of public school teachers who live in Portland send their own children to private schools. Only 12.7 percent of their neighbors do so.

    Assuming these public school teachers are “advocates of public education” I wonder what Mr. Olson has to say about their choices?

    Source: “Where Do Public School Teachers Send Their Kids to School?

    • Terry

      Notice that I didn’t say *all* teachers. I’ve worked with several teachers who probably aren’t advocates of public education. Despite our differences, we did manage to get along.

  • Unfortunately, comments from 2008 were deleted while updating OregonCatalyst software.

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