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School Choice Initiative Launched
The initiative was quietly filed late this summer

As school districts become more and more responsive to public employee unions and they system becomes less and less accountable -- while at the same time it becomes more and more expensive -- a group of citizens is taking independent steps to return focus on students. Education Freedom for Oregon is proposing a ballot measure to write school choice into the Oregon Constitution.

The education establishment has been feeling what has been a decades-long decline in the effectiveness of the Oregon public school system. Many feel that the COVID-19 outbreak was not handled very well as distance learning failed to meet the needs to many students and the exodus from the public school system escalated.

Parents' frustration with public schools rose to a fever pitch when earlier this year the legislature passed SB 744 which prohibits State Board of Education from requiring for high school diploma that student show proficiency in any academic content area if a student successfully completed credit requirements. This concept was so negatively regarded that there were no sponsors for the bill -- it was introduced as a committee measure and introduced by the Senate Committee on Education, chaired by Senator Michael Dembrow (D-Portland).

Led by Chief Petitioner Marc Thielman, the school choice initiative was quietly filed late this summer and quickly met the requirements to get a title from the Attorney General. That process is being completed now, and the group expects to be gathering the approximately 150,000 signatures from Oregon registered voters needed to put it on the ballot in November 2024.

Thielman -- who is also running for Governor -- has been a superintendent and principal since 2005. He became the Superintendent for Alsea for the opportunity to run a preschool through 12th grade, an open-enrollment school district, founded on a business model designed to meet the needs of all students.

According to the website, Thielman "stood up for the families and students in his district and safely kept his schools open while most of the Oregon schools were closed for Covid. By keeping his schools open, he saved hundreds of students and families from unnecessary hardship and poor mental health outcomes, including youth suicide."

To find out more or to get involved, see Education Freedom for Oregon's website.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-12-16 18:41:43Last Update: 2021-12-16 21:12:38

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