On Thursday, the Senate Committee on Education held an informational hearing on legislation that would repeal the limit on virtual charter school attendance. Under current law, only 3% of kids in a school district can enroll in virtual charter schools. SB 240 would repeal that limit and give more educational choices to students and parents.
“The current decade-old 3% cap is a cap on student potential,” Senator Chuck Thomsen, vice-chair of the Education Committee said. “It's arbitrary and doesn’t serve what should be the main goal of our education system: to serve Oregon students’ needs and set them up for future success.”
Parents and students testified before the committee that virtual charter schools are a proven and effective option for some students. More than 50 school districts are currently at the cap of how many students can attend virtual charter schools. Countless other students are being denied access to this option because of the cap. SB 240 seeks to create fairness in Oregon’s school choice discussion.
“Some students have thrived because of virtual schooling,” Senate Republican Leader Fred Girod (R-Lyons) said. “Virtual charter schools give some students unique learning opportunities that traditional public schools do not. School choice is about giving parents and students, regardless of wealth, the flexibility to choose the education that fits their needs. Republicans will continue to be the party of educational opportunity and school choice.”
Recent polling shows that 71% of voters nationwide support school choice. 65% support getting a portion of their tax dollars back to help families afford other options if public schools don’t reopen for full-time in-person instruction. A recent report from the University of Arkansas established that the more school choice, the better students do academically.