Teachers’ unions try to thwart education access at a most inopportune time: Lindsey Burke and Inez Stepman

Posted on: April 14, 2020

With millions of students at home as the result of coronavirus district closures, and families finding themselves thrown into “unexpected homeschooling,” Americans rightly expect that teachers, administrators and principals at all types of schools would be embracing an “all hands on deck” approach to this challenging situation.

But while instances of cooperation between public and private schools, charters and virtual academies abound, unfortunately, so does the continuation of education politics as usual.

The Wall Street Journal reports that, “under pressure from the unions,” the Oregon Department of Education is now preventing students from transferring to the state’s virtual public charter schools. Many families in Oregon sought to enroll their children in virtual charter schools when the brick-and-mortar public schools closed their doors on March 16.

But the Oregon Education Association convinced the state to halt any further transfers to virtual charter school, blocking enrollment of 1,600 students at Oregon Connections Academy alone.

There’s more hopeful news out of Alaska. Students there could soon be the beneficiaries of a partnership between their state and the Florida Virtual School. The online provider has signed a contract to offer courses to Alaskan students who cannot access their now shuttered public schools, the Anchorage Daily News reports.

As Alaska Education Commissioner Michael Johnson put it, “While the world around us is scrambling with uncertainty, I believe our students and teachers can and will re-imagine teaching and learning.”

To read the rest of this column in the Arizona Daily Star, please click here.

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