Charter schools under fire

A charter schools bill is affected by emails from a teacher’s union lobby.

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A bill that might damage Oregon’s online charter schools has passed a House committee amidst protests from opponents. But while parent Ann-Marie Gurney maintains that the charter schools need to stay alive to help students learn, she says that, for lobbyists, politics may be a bigger factor than education.

“This isn’t about education at all,” Gurney says. “It’s about politics.”

Now, online charter school supporters have used Oregon’s Public Records Law to show just how much politics are involved.

They obtained emails between a lobbyist for the state’s 47,000-member teachers union and an Oregon Department of Education staff attorney. Those emails, they say, show that the lawyer for the ostensibly neutral state agency tinkered with SB 767 to serve the union’s interests and contradicted written instructions from Oregon State Board of Education chairman Duncan Wyse.

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