Virtual Schools & Online Education
OEA believes in-the-classroom public education enhances student success.
Oregon educators support online education and are advocating for appropriate, cost-effective ways for students to access technology and enhance their learning. A computer is a tool, not a school.
Oregon students deserve equal access to public education and Oregon taxpayers deserve to know that their tax dollars are invested in the classroom – virtual or not.
Ensuring Quality Online Education
OEA is keenly aware of both the opportunities and the challenges presented by the evolving e-learning world. Our members embrace the appropriate use of technology as a learning tool, and have actively worked to shape its use for enhancement of students’ educational opportunities and performance.
We believe online education can play an important role in the lives of students and educators. Whether it’s online or in a classroom setting, our goals for public education are the same:
Accountability: We want to be sure students have access to a quality education and a qualified teacher.
Transparency: We want to make sure every tax dollar is invested directly in the student’s education and that the public can easily see where their tax dollars are going.
Equal Access: We want to ensure that every child – regardless of socio-economic status, ability or geography – has equal access to a quality education.
Issues to Consider
The virtual vendors running many of Oregon’s online schools refuse to disclose how much money they make from the tax dollars that flow to their operations, but research in other states has shown as much as 40 percent goes to profit. Nevertheless, the charter school movement is backing this new way to “educate” children as a matter of parent and school choice.
Public school advocates have made the case to both the Oregon Legislature and the state board of education that resources are too tight and a student’s education too important for arrangements of this nature.
The business model that for-profit online vendors use essentially “poach” students from other districts, which they can do because there is no physical brick-and-mortar location requiring transport of students in an online education.
Teachers who instruct online must be properly trained and equipped with the tools and technology needed to provide students with a quality online education.
Teachers need comprehensive preparation and professional development to ensure that they are prepared to teach courses online. All online instructors should be proficient in the use of technology.
Online courses should be offered equitably and should not be contingent upon technological resources available at a student’s home.