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Will School Choice be on Oregon Ballots soon?

Letter to the Editor

2023 is being called the “Year of Universal Education Choice,” and for good reason. According to the nonprofit organization EdChoice, policymakers in 40 states debated 111 bills to expand education options for K-12 students. Lawmakers in seven states enacted new choice programs, and ten states expanded already-existing ones. As of March 2024, eleven states now have universal or near-universal school choice laws. Approximately 20 million American children are eligible to participate in a private choice program.

Oregon parents should be able to choose the best education options for their students, so every child has a chance for an effective and motivating school experience. Education Freedom for Oregon, a school choice advocacy group, is making that its goal through two separate education ballot measures. One would create School Choice Accounts for Oregon families. Parents choosing a School Choice Account could direct a portion of the state funding for their children’s education to options that fit their needs, including tuition, homeschool curricula, tutoring, therapy, and more. The second ballot measure would offer statewide public school open enrollment, allowing families to choose any public school that has available spaces. If enough voter signatures are received before June 30, Oregonians will be able to vote on these measures in 2024.

Different educational environments empower students to learn in the ways that are most beneficial for them. Educational choice programs—like those in 33 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico—increase students’ opportunities, improve outcomes, and help make schools accountable to the parents and students they serve.

Kathryn Hickok

Executive Vice President

Cascade Policy Institute

Portland

 

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