By Helen Doran
“What is going on?” That’s what many Oregon parents are asking as their kids struggle with online learning, all while public officials flip-flop on education policies during a wave of COVID-19 cases.
On October 30th, Governor Kate Brown added to the mayhem. On the same day the state announced a record breaking number of cases, the governor rolled out relaxed safety standards for reopening Oregon elementary schools. Since then, the case count has climbed higher by the day.
The Oregon Department of Education explained that the change in direction was because the benefit of in-person education outweighed the risk of spreading the disease. But why was this announced when cases are at an all time high…after two months of distance learning?
The governor’s relaxed standards at a time when cases are trending dramatically in the wrong direction is a cognitive dissonance for exhausted parents who have been told that keeping their kids behind a laptop was for the greater good. Students and families can’t afford to ride the ODE’s wave of ever-changing priorities and promises. A money-back guarantee would be a lifeline for students struggling in the public school system and needing a solution urgently. Oregon needs to make school choice a priority during the 2021 legislative session. Children’s futures depend on it.
Helen Doran is a Program Assistant, External Affairs at Cascade Policy Institute, Oregon’s free market public policy research center.