Unions attack successful virtual school. Try to shut it down.

Guest Opinion,

The Oregon Education Association letter to the editor (link) is another attack against the successful Oregon Connections Academy (ORCA) virtual charter school. This campaign of misinformation will do serious harm to students and to one of Oregon’s successful schools. The letter actually attempts to cast the public charter school in the same light as bailout money going to corporate bonuses.

The teacher’s union has long been opposed to public charter schools. Charter schools are where innovation and flexibility enable public schools to escape the limitations of a system whose guidelines can fail schools for decades. The union seeks to close the successful public, virtual charter school. No matter what it takes.

The letter postures as merely “fighting for accountability, taxpayers and students”, yet this war they wage is an attack on all three. The “out-of-state corporations who profit off of Oregon’s virtual charter schools” statement is no more different than public schools buying books or computers from “out-of-state corporations who profit”.

The Connections Academy is a non-profit public charter school purchasing their online curriculum system from a professional company no different that the State Department of Education’s purchase of the statewide online testing system. Yet the OEA tries to cast the ORCA arrangement as lessening public accountability and not supported by research.

The claim that “ongoing economic crisis, the painful choice of cutting instructional days, laying off teachers or eliminating quality education opportunities” suggests that the academy is contributing to it.

Not one attack in this letter is true. The virtual school provides entirely equal access, faces far more accountability and is more closely regulated than non charter schools. The union wants people to remember “what happens when corporations go unregulated”? What? The letter continues, “Oregon taxpayers can’t afford to be paying bonuses to out-of-state CEOs at the expense of our public schools” These statements have nothing to do with Connections Academy. Nothing at all.

ORCA, the virtual public charter school is the ultimate environmental and sustainable way to deliver education using creative ways of teaching and learning. The OEA wants to close it down with Senate Bills 767 and 881 to ensure their own total control and domination of Oregon public education. This letter to the editor demonstrates that they will throw away any successful school and its students if it interferes with their bureaucracy.

— As featured on Oregon Tax News