By Nicole Montesano • Staff Writer • 

Commissioners disagree about school choice proclamation

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Thanks for the reporting on this. I’m a big proponent of school of choice and funding following the child. My kids are in private school but we may switch to public or may homeschool. Kulla should know that being a homeschool parent. But he is new.


What a sad state of affairs when an official votes against a proclamation, with which he agrees, simply out of concern for the perceived politics of its backers. It would appear that Mr. Kulla will be making his "independent" decisions using a carefully wetted finger to test which way the political winds are blowing at the time. So much for real conviction.


I agree and disagree.

As one who supports choice, I am uncomfortable with the posturing that is proclaiming. Essentially, school choice is not a county issue. Why, then, are Yamhill County commissioners proclaiming on an issue which really is beyond their purview? Using the other term, why are Yamhill County commissioners posturing on an issue which really doesn't concern them in an official capacity? Posturing is little more than a waste of public time.

Stick with business.


I think it's more than fair to simply point out that there's a big difference between supporting freedom of choice and supporting taking taxpayer funds and directing them towards private and parochial schools.

Like many, I have no children and never will. Still I am very pleased to pay my taxes to support public instruction. But I also have misgivings about the idea of the taxes I pay, that I work very, very hard to pay, going to support the teaching of ideas that I may not agree with. What about my "choice"?

The problem, as I see it, lies with the rhetorical way in which this proclamation adopts political language. Tne term "School Choice" in this context is misleading. And I agree with Commissioner Kula's choice to vote no.


You know, Treehouse, many home-schooling advocates use the same argument — almost verbatim — to support their own position. More specifically, they “...have misgivings about the idea of the taxes [they] pay... going to support the teaching of ideas that [they] may not agree with...” in the public schools. Hence, they choose to home-school and seek the opt-out relief provided by so-called school choice.

I have long postulated that if home-schooling parents collectively spent a fraction of the time they spend home-schooling instead volunteering in the public schools, serving on local school boards or otherwise working to influence district policy, they’d likely find little need to home-school in the first place. My argument held more weight ten years ago — now many parents would argue it’s too late.


Trafik, I think the crucial difference between public and private schools for the purposes of this discussion lies within your own comment. You, and I, and your hypothetical home schooling advocates have lots of opportunity for input and participation in the way public schools are operated, curriculum content, and the educational atmosphere. I've volunteered in local public schools throughout my life. I've served on advisory committees. And, of course, I get to elect my local public school board members and the state lawmakers who regulate them and set standards for them.


For the record, I am not a fan of home-schooling. But as a product of private schooling myself (a classical education, fully accredited), I understand why some parents elect to educate their children outside the public schools.

Since home-schooling or private-schooling parents pay taxes to support public education from which their children will not benefit, I can theoretically — and somewhat reluctantly — support effectively diverting their payments temporarily toward the cost of the chosen educational alternative. While not ideal, this short-term arrangement does not strike me as inherently unfair to taxpayers who do choose to use the public schools.

Still, like I said, the better choice would’ve been for alternative-schooling parents to have concentrated their efforts on bettering the public school system in the first place, rather than deserting it in droves.

And I understand others disagree — particularly those who pay taxes but have no children.


Trafik, it sounds lime maybe we are mostly in agreement here. My comment was not intended to spark a debate about the merits of private school educations or home schooling. But rather to point out that there are many valid perspectives. And moreover that Commissioner Kula, despite his own choice to home school his children, may have valid reasons for being reluctant to throw his support behind NSCW given it's politcally controversial and partisan origins and history.


Private schools should never receive public funds; they can teach whatever they want. The home-schooling alternative truly bothers me. First, children and teens need to live in the actual world; not their kitchen tables. They leave home in the morning and return after school, filled with their myriad experiences and conversations and opinions--what we call life. I believe the home-schooled turn out rather odd and stilted, but not in a whimsical or interesting way. And for God's sake, who wants to be with mommy and daddy night and day? Let them go, people. They won't automatically turn into dope fiends or cutters or maniacs. As a footnote, I might add improving the quality of public school teachers and ditching the "read-the-chapter-and-answer-the-questions" relics would be a welcome first step.


Lulu - Exactly...right on.


Lulu, your observations of home-schooled children seems limited, at best. I home-schooled all five of my children, and from all outward appearances, they seem normal and successful "in the real world": four of them have college degrees; one is the head of the English department at a foreign university; one is a practicing attorney; and one is an officer in the U.S. Army; all of them are married, and four of them have children of their own. Neither my wife or I have college degrees, but we attempted to follow the pattern of the classic trivium and quadrivium model. They all excelled at math, learned to diagram sentences, read classical literature from the western canon, studied foreign languages and learned to play musical instruments. They participated in youth sports, and spent plenty of time "socializing" with groups of other children. I seriously doubt you would find any of them "rather odd and stilted."

Home schooling is not a viable option for everyone, but should remain so for those who are prepared to do it well.


I have a question here. I am coming from a German school system and am not familiar with home schooling. So, my first thought was with Lulu. So my question goes to Sponge. Does home teaching parents have to qualify in a way to be allowed to home school their children ? And do the children have to be graduated by an external examination to go to college ? Thanks


It has been over 20 years since we home schooled, but unless there have been changed to state law, there was no requirement for parents to meet any qualification to educate their children at home. However, the state did require annual testing of the children to determine whether adequate progress was being made toward state mandated outcomes.


Re-read Sponge's response. It substantiates my point.


And what, actually, was your point? You made some snarky comments on questionable evidence, without any useful insight or experience. Not really sure what the point was that I supposedly "substantiated."


I assure you, no snark was intended. Let's build a backbone.
I was wondering about the logistics of your little school. Say you have five children. You are explaining to your sixth grade son studying Oregon how to make an old-fashioned salt-and-flour map: how to outline the state, layer tour "dough" extra high to indicate elevations, paint the valleys green and deserts brown while tracing the rivers and coastline--and Crater Lake--in cerulean blue; creating a key--the type appearing on actual maps, etc., what are your four other children doing? Sheltering in place? Don't tell me the older ones are listening to the younger ones read--that's not teaching; it's babysitting. Education is not linear--I think of it more as plaid. Anyway, I had further comments, but time is my enemy. I'll be back...when it's dark.


As I’ve stated, I’m not a fan of home-schooling. However, I know some families do it quite well.

My sister home-schooled her two daughters, resulting in fully socialized children with high-scoring aptitude tests and a broad roster of academic and extra-curricular achievements. This home-schooling was conducted with reasonable rigor and discipline — the children are now enrolled in respectable universities.

Another family I know home-schooled, their school day usually beginning around 11 a.m. when mother felt like getting out of bed. “Teaching” was haphazard and unpredictable, unhelped by mother’s low-average intelligence, utter lack of self-discipline and fondness for imagined illnesses. By the age of 12, the children could barely wield a pen, let alone write their names legibly. Nevertheless, they “graduated,” managing to somehow pass mandatory state tests. Unsurprisingly, they’re children woefully unprepared to live as adults.

My own misgivings about homeschooling — and I’m guessing Lulu’s — are that the two families above are viewed equally in the eyes of the state. We are rightly accustomed to complaining about underperforming schools, but we don’t even discuss underperforming home-schoolers.

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