Four Things You Should Know About Learning Pods in Oregon

By Helen Doran

Learning pods have become a popular solution for parents searching for additional support for their children struggling to learn during the pandemic. Here are four things you should know about learning pods in Oregon:

  1. A recent survey conducted hints that learning pods are here to stay. In March, one out of every five families was actively participating in a pod and another was looking to find one. Moreover, one in four teachers expressed interest in teaching a learning pod.
  2. Learning pods in Oregon are subject to Early Learning Division (ELD) regulations for at-home daycares. These numerous regulations can be impossible for learning pods, which have more in common with the less-regulated homeschooling sector than at-home daycares.
  3. The Oregon Department of Education has explicitly discouraged the formation of learning pods on the basis of equity, since pods have the possibility of “leaving out students who are already underserved by our school system.”
  4. Establishing an Education Savings Account (ESA) program in Oregon would address equity concerns by allowing low-income and underserved families the opportunity to use their child’s education dollars for creative solutions such as learning pods.

Learning pods hint at the future of education. Parents want more flexibility and more options for their children. Let’s ensure that future is possible in Oregon.

Helen Doran is a Program Assistant, External Affairs at Cascade Policy Institute, Oregon’s free market public policy research organization.