Every year, OCEANetwork monitors any bills, initiatives, or rules that may negatively impact homeschool freedoms in Oregon. The need for vigilance is even greater during long legislative sessions, which happen every other year. The 2023 long legislative session started at the Oregon Capitol on January 17th.
So far this legislative session, OCEANetwork is tracking five bills.
The first three, SB 260, SB 297, and HB 2560, are standard School Choice bills. They provide government funding for private education. But they do not prevent added regulations for funded participants in the future. They also do not protect non-recipients from being co-opted in the future under the same regulations that govern funded participants.
The fourth bill, HB 2830 is another standard School Choice bill (no protection against increasing regulation or against the danger of a spillover of regulations onto non-recipients of government funding), but with extra badness.
It requires the following of private schools that enroll state-funded students:
- to be accredited by a state-approved accrediting agency.
- to satisfy “any requirements prescribed by the State Board of Education by rule, including any requirements for information about the school’s policies and procedure relating to student attendance and discipline, information about academic growth and achievement of students, and information about high school graduation and college admission rates.”
In addition, all private school students are required to conform to the homeschool regulations — even if they do not take the government education funds. So the parent is required to file a notice of intent to send the student to a private school and students must be tested at grades 3, 5, 8 and 10. A student who scores below the 15th percentile follows the same process homeschooled students do now.
The exception is that both private school students and homeschool students would be required to attend a public school if remanded to school rather than having the current choice to attend a private school.
HB 2830 clamps down on Oregon private schools and, to a lesser extent, homeschoolers. It follows the Education Establishment’s goal of tracking every student in the state and obtaining their personal data.
It is about control.
The fifth bill OCEANetwork is tracking is SB 48. In 2021, the Oregon Legislature eliminated all truancy fines except for homeschoolers (see Section 2). Here is the justification given. Homeschoolers were deliberately left in with the truancy fines. SB 48 puts truancy fines back for public school students. An alternative is to remove truancy fines for homeschoolers, also.
OCEANetwork is also monitoring SB 91 (Home-based care for children with disabilities) and SB 577 (When use of force upon minor child or student is justifiable and not criminal) although they are more general parental rights issues.
If you see another bill OCEANetwork should track, please let us know.
OCEANetwork Freedom Watch Team
If any of these bills require action on the part of the homeschool community, OCEANetwork will send an email Freedom Watch Alert with a call to action. In the meantime, please share the information we’ve provided here, along with this post on how School Choice impacts Oregon homeschoolers, with other Oregon homeschool families. If you have questions about this advisory, please contact OCEANetwork here so we can forward it on to our Freedom Watch Team.