May 1, 2021
Just weeks away is the Special Elections for local offices. Among them is the School Boards. The Legislative Session is having a hay day with educational bills. Most recently is an attempt to cover up the failure of virtual schools in SB 744, which suspends education standards to receive a diploma. As we work our way out of the COVID-19 pandemic, school boards will be faced with mopping up from aggressive executive orders that have kept our schools closed. Who we vote for on May 18 will make a difference.
Oregon Abigail Adams Voter Project provides school board candidates with a questionnaire posted on their website for voter information and public use. This year they have tied the questions with how the candidate rates subjects addressed in the legislative session. The questions are grouped in five categories: school board and administration responsibilities, financial, school choice, student learning-curriculum/testing, and school environment and safety. The overall tally of the first 76 to respond says a lot about what we can expect from school boards. It is interesting to note that where candidates mostly agree with smaller classrooms, class size being a negotiated item, training on bullying, and school choice, they were not so willing to burden businesses with the bill.
Some of the take-aways from the tally are:
- Candidates see a benefit to have each student’s instructional needs evaluated (HB 2962).
- Most all agreed to permit parent/guardian to excuse student from taking the statewide standardized assessment tests (SB 678).
- One hundred percent supports the school board utilizing volunteers from local businesses, churches and civic groups to provide mentoring, internships and other real-life education.
- The majority wants to see a curriculum that teaches civics and constitutional principles, limited government and maximized individual liberties upon which the U.S. was founded.
- Most all candidates agreed when English is a second language, student should be integrated into regular school programs, and they are opposed to HB 2056, which provides for communication in a student’s primary language.
- Overall, they mostly support school choice.
Heads up parents. More candidates want to snoop on your kids than not through computer software (SB 594). But, they do support parents being notified when their student is a victim of harassment, contrary to HB 2631.
As more candidates respond, the dynamics of the tally may change. It’s important to check the Oregon Abigail Adams listing for your school district candidates that have responded. When competing candidates respond, you will see a comparison guide.
Maybe the most important thing the tally shows is how out of touch the legislature is with those that have to administer what they pass into law. As one of the candidates responded, “using the education system to further agendas isn’t acceptable.”