Public School Closures Are Hurting Oregon Students

By Rachel Dawson

The public school shutdowns have gone too far.

Once reserved only for emergencies and dangerous weather, shutdowns at Oregon public schools have become commonplace for disciplinary reasons, adult staffing shortages, and lesson planning.

In November, Reynolds Middle School canceled in-person learning for three weeks because of fights and disruptive behavior. After two years of online learning, many students are finding it difficult to socialize and learn in person. But the last thing the school district should have done is shut down the school for behavior caused by shutting down the school.

As pointed out by Leslie Bienen in a Wall Street Journal op-ed, this shutdown tells students that poor behavior gets them out of school.

Keeping schools fully open for in-person instruction isn’t a partisan issue. Democrat State Senator Sara Gelser Blouin​ recently tweeted on this topic that “we must unite to demand these kids immediately receive full time in person school.”

Kids have had a difficult two years; why is it OK for school districts to take the easy way out?

Schools should remain open unless a legitimate emergency requires them to close. If they can’t, students and their families should be allowed to take the money the state would have spent on them at their local school and go elsewhere.

Rachel Dawson is a Policy Analyst at Cascade Policy Institute, Oregon’s free market public policy research organization.

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Comments 3

  1. Avatar for Glenn Gailis

    Glenn Gailis

    5:51 pm - December 1, 2021

    I certainly agree with Rachel Dawson. Many people on the dole from the federal government have decided that they don’t need to work and therefore they do not. School leaders should not be closing schools. We are failing our children by not keeping schools open. The dumbing down of America. Is common sense ever going to come back?

  2. Avatar for Rachel Gardner

    Rachel Gardner

    12:26 am - December 4, 2021

    Life skills classes in for 4J and lane ESD are required to stay home 1 day a week but not their peers, general education students still attend 5 days a week. I absolutely agree with senator Sara Gelser Blouin “that we must unite to demand these kids immediately recieve full time in person school” and that the students and parents should the money that the school would have received to use on services to support their children. Plus I hope The teachers aren’t getting unemployment for not going back to work for their districts. The school district is not listening to parents. Special needs kiddos are being discriminated against and treated as if their expendable since the end of September. Rachel Dawson or Sara Gelser feel free to contact me, this is a serious problem!

  3. Avatar for Nancy Jones

    Nancy Jones

    7:09 am - December 4, 2021

    Oregon is the 44th worst educated state with a very high high school drop out rate. Coupled with being one of the 7 states that did not attend in person school last year, our kids are so far behind. My kids go to private school, we did half a week in person most of the year and we are still behind especially in math. Moreover, I was home to keep them on track. The only people democratic policies hurt are two income households, and minorities. No sports, no free and reduced lunches last year. Kids were hungry and now causing trouble. The structure of school an influence of good teachers and other kids sometimes is all these kids have. Now they act like Lord of the Flies, but only at the fault of Kate Brown, who has no children of her own by the way!

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