Every child deserves a quality education that fits his or her individual needs as a student. But public schools in Oregon haven’t risen to meet that challenge. Instead, children are often left with a one-size-fits-all system that doesn’t provide them with the teaching approach they need to succeed.
Rather than providing students with the opportunity to learn from different teaching approaches, the answer from Oregon’s government has often been to implement more testing, requirements, and bureaucracy to try and hold schools accountable.
We want a system where education dollars are spent on students’ education, not on bureaucracy. Schools must be held accountable for serving children’s educational needs and not growing bureaucracy. But how can we achieve this accountability?
For decades, politicians have promised that by shifting power upward to the district, state, and federal levels, they could hold schools accountable. But such “accountability” hasn’t resulted in more learning, as much as it has tied the hands of teachers and principals with bureaucratic red tape.
Instead of more bureaucracy, Oregon must introduce effective accountability to schools by empowering every parent to hold his or her child’s school accountable and ensure that their children are getting the education they deserve. Many districts around the country are already experiencing the power of parent accountability through:
- Charter schools (public schools that are privately run and that parents can choose no matter their location)
- Education Savings Accounts (sometimes known as opportunity scholarships) which allow students to have their own personal education accounts funded by a major portion of their state allocation to their public school district, allowing them to choose a variety of private schools, tutors, online learning options and more.
- Education tax credits (which allow individual taxpayers and businesses to donate to scholarship-granting organizations and to take a tax credit for the donation)
- Vouchers (which allow money that would have been spent on a child in public school to follow a child to the private school of his or her parent’s choice)
- Open enrollment (which allows parents to choose public schools outside the district boundary lines of their home residence)
These solutions and more are forms of “school choice.”