Original article at Western Journal
Business owners, beware of students with high school diplomas from Oregon.
They may not be able to read or do basic math.
According to Oregon Public Broadcasting, in 2020, the Oregon Department of Education suspended the “essential skills” requirement to accommodate students who had fallen behind because of school shutdowns and online learning — or so they said.
Leaders in the Oregon Department of Education and the state school board say that requiring all students to pass standardized tests or create teacher-judged in-depth assignments as graduation requirements are “harmful hurdles” for “historically marginalized students.”
In other words, math and reading are racist.
The state DOE says state-mandated tests will still be given to the students — they just won’t be used to determine whether the students have the skills to graduate, which makes the tests as pointless as a weathervane in a hurricane.
According to the Oregon DOE, a higher number of students of color, students learning English as a second language and students with disabilities had to take intensive writing and math courses in their senior year to prove their eligibility for a diploma, and “there was a lack of evidence the extra academic work helped them in the workplace or at college.”
Dan Farley, ODE’s assistant superintendent of research said the outcomes of the testing could be predicted by “race, ethnicity, [learning disability] status, multilingual learner status.”
It would be interesting to know what “evidence” was used to measure whether having essential skills like reading and math helped students in their lives after high school.
How are kids who have never had the pressure of studying for tests or keeping a required grade average supposed to handle the pressures of college and competing with students from other schools who have had these experiences?
It seems to me that the way to counter the inequities of perceived racism is not to tie the hands of students behind their backs by sending them out in the world less skilled and less able to cope or find work.
Perhaps the reason for this extension may be that Oregon test scores in 2023 were abysmally lower than pre-pandemic levels, according to KGW-TV in Portland.
Maybe the pressure that teachers were concerned about was more related to the expectations placed on them to uphold standards rather than concern for students’ wellbeing.
Board Chairwoman Guadalupe Martinez Zapata said, “We are unable to ethically make a different decision at this point. It is also unethical for us to continue to require this when we know it can continue to cause harm and has had no change in how students are performing,” according to KATU.
Which sounds like a nice way of saying, “We haven’t been able to change it and now we’re not even going to try.”
But to be fair, making detailed worksheets about vital topics like gender pronouns must take away a lot of time from frivolous subjects like math and English.
As one parent said, according to KATU, “Oregon is suspending the test for political reasons. They have put a lot of activism into the curriculum. They don’t have time to teach basics anymore because they are substituting in new language arts articles, new tribal history ethnic studies.”
Public schools, especially in left-governed states have completely lost the point of their existence, which is to give students an education and prepare them for the workplace — nothing more, nothing less.
But Oregon students don’t have to worry.
They can probably find permanent jobs with no requirement to produce any results– as teachers in the Oregon Department of Education.