VOTE NO on Education Savings Accounts
The Senate Education Committee will hold an informational hearing on SB 437 on Tuesday, June 13, from 3-5 pm at the Oregon State Capitol. You can make a statement against school choice and ESAs by attending the hearing and/or submitting written testimony on the bill.
The May 25th edition of the Portland Tribune contained an editorial My View: Oregon Legislature should give kids a Ticket to the Future endorsing Senate Bill 437 which would give Education Savings Accounts to "qualified" children. This is a bill that should have never made it to the Ways and Means Committee. It is a terrible idea that will further weaken our public schools.
By dissecting the article and applying scrutiny to its claims, it's plain to see that the aim of this editorial is to present a false narrative to legislators and the public about U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy Devos' new pet project "school choice." Education Savings Accounts are a clever way to disguise vouchers. From the Portland Tribune:
An Education Savings Account is analogous to a debit card for qualifying education expenses. It gives parents who want to opt out of a public school that is not meeting their child's needs a portion of the per-student state funding to spend on their child's education in other ways.
The "debit card" would give parents direct access to money -- that normally goes to public schools -- to spend on private school tuition or even homeschooling. The authors of this article cite their own research to claim that ESAs would have no negative effect on public schools. That doesn't make sense. It's analogous to giving your debit card to your child and saying, "Here, buy all the candy you want. It won't affect our food budget." Ridiculous and outrageous!
Who are the authors of this editorial? Kathryn Hickok and Steve Buckstein are employed by the Cascade Policy Institute (CPI). According to the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD), CPI is an Oregon-based think tank and member of the State Policy Network (SPN). From CMD:
The State Policy Network (SPN) has franchised, funded, and fostered a growing number of “mini Heritage Foundations” at the state level since the early 1990s. SPN is a web of right-wing “think tanks” in every state across the country. It is an $83 million right-wing empire as of the 2011 funding documents from SPN itself and each of its state "think tank" members. Although SPN's member organizations claim to be nonpartisan and independent, the Center for Media and Democracy's in-depth investigation, "EXPOSED: The State Policy Network -- The Powerful Right-Wing Network Helping to Hijack State Politics and Government," reveals that SPN and its member think tanks are major drivers of the right-wing, American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)-backed corporate agenda in state houses nationwide, with deep ties to the Koch brothers and the national right-wing network of funders.
SB437 is sponsored by Republican Ted Ferrioli, email@example.com. Let him know that Oregon citizens will not tolerate ALEC legislation or its perpetrators. His duty is to the people of this state, not to the Koch billionaires.
The Senate Education Committee will hold an informational hearing on SB 437 on Tuesday, June 13, from 3-5 pm at the Oregon State Capitol. Let your legislators know that you oppose Koch funded ALEC legislation, especially SB 437. Here's how. You can make a statement against school choice and ESAs by attending the hearing and/or submitting written testimony on the bill. If you can't attend the hearing, please submit written testimony to the Senate Education Committee here: firstname.lastname@example.org. Learn more about this bill and others at the Parents Across America Oregon website.