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Private School Registry Proposed
Are teachers’ unions afraid of the competition?

The Senate Interim Committee on Education, Chaired by Senator Michael Dembrow (D-Portland), has proposed SB 223, which would restrict public schools from participating in interscholastic sports or activities with any private schools that are not registered with the Oregon Department of Education. Currently, ODE policy states that “non-public education is recognized as a vital part of Oregon’s educational system. Private schools do not have to register with the State of Oregon, unless they are contracting with public school district for services.”

If enacted, SB 223 would change this and would: If private schools are required to have ODE approval for all plans and procedures, they will become de facto public schools. This is a grave threat to the future of private schools, religious freedom, parental rights and school choice. SB 223 would undermine the broad educational goals of private education as well as essentially eliminate private schools’ jurisdiction over their own schools.

The Senate Committee on Education has provided no justification for creating these requirements. The Committee’s fall meeting focused on the shortcomings of public education, not private. There was no mention of private school issues or the need for more oversight. But anti-choice sentiment was expressed by meeting presenters. For example, a “Reimagine Oregon” representative stated that “I don’t think the answer is having lots of choice.” Teachers' unions have been very defensive of the gains made by alternative education during COVID-19 shutdowns.

A D V E R T I S E M E N T

A D V E R T I S E M E N T

The Supreme Court has upheld parents’ First and Fourteenth Amendment rights as they relate to education. The First Amendment grants parents the right to choose education for their children that doesn’t interfere with their religious beliefs. The Fourteenth Amendment protects parents’ rights to direct the education of their children and ensures that differences between public and private school cannot be eradicated. State regulation of private education must be reasonable and not without limits.

The families of over 50,000 Oregon schoolchildren choose private schools for a reason. Many parents have religious or conscientious objections to public schooling for their children. This bill is a threat to parents’ First Amendment right to religious freedom and Fourteenth Amendment right to liberty, which includes the right to choose private education for their children. This bill effectively puts a state committee in charge of all Oregon private schools. Private schools would become de facto public schools, putting ODE in charge of curriculum, schedule, facilities, policies, and staffing.

Neither OSAA nor any private schools have requested this change. This creates another layer of government bureaucracy and more regulations on private schools which will take money, time, and attention away from actually educating kids. Oregon’s state budget is already strained due to the impact of COVID-19.


--Mary Miller 'Oregonians for Liberty in Education

Post Date: 2021-02-05 07:57:26Last Update: 2021-02-05 21:37:34



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