Thomas Jefferson has long been praised for his wisdom. JFK, for example, once told a group of Nobel Prize winners that he thought, “this is the most extraordinary collection of talent, of human knowledge, that has ever been gathered together at the White House, with the possible exception of when Thomas Jefferson dined alone.”
The author of the Declaration of Independence held a dream that the country he helped found would not just be powerful, free, and wealthy, but smart, as well. In fact, he believed the attributes listed in the former could not happen without the latter, telling a friend in 1816, “If a nation expects to be ignorant and free … it expects what never was and never will be.”
As the left has seized our education system, we have seen the purposeful dumbing down of the country in order to protect teachers’ unions. During COVID, the unions demanded that students be taught via Zoom rather than in the classroom. The results have been disastrous.
New Conservative Post reported last year that the National Center for Education Statistics assessed reading and mathematics scores for nine-year-old students to review student achievement during the pandemic. The results were stunning: “Average scores for age 9 students in 2022 declined 5 points in reading and 7 points in mathematics compared to 2020. This is the largest average score decline in reading since 1990, and the first ever score decline in mathematics.”
Now, instead of fixing the problem, leaders in blue states have decided to double down on the bigotry of low expectations that completely dominate their worldview. There may be no better example of what the Left would turn the country into if they could than Oregon.
School leaders in The Beaver State have decided to lower education requirements and blame minority students in the process.
High schoolers in Oregon won’t need to demonstrate basic competency in reading, writing or math in order to graduate for at least five more years because, according to education officials, such requirements are unnecessary and disproportionately harm students of color.
“At some point … our diploma is going to end up looking a lot more like a participation prize than an actual certificate that shows that someone actually is prepared to go pursue their best future,” former Oregon gubernatorial candidate Christine Drazan told Fox News.
The essential skills requirement has been on pause since the coronavirus pandemic, and last week the Oregon State Board of Education voted unanimously to continue suspending the graduation requirement through the 2027-2028 school year.
Under the requirement, 11th graders had to demonstrate competence in essential subjects through a standardized test or work samples. Students who failed to meet expectations were required to take extra math and writing classes in their senior year — thus missing an elective class — in order to graduate.
In other words, asking teachers in Oregon to actually be good at their job and help students in need of help was too much to ask. Better to just lower requirements.
To justify their actions, Oregon leaders do what liberals always do whenever they want to justify anything. They indirectly blamed minorities and the vulnerable for being hindered by the amorphous “historic systemic racism.”
According to The Oregonian “leaders at the Oregon Department of Education and members of the state school board said requiring all students to pass one of several standardized tests or create an in-depth assignment their teacher judged as meeting state standards was a harmful hurdle for historically marginalized students, a misuse of state tests and did not translate to meaningful improvements in students’ post high school success.
Higher rates of students of color, students learning English as a second language and students with disabilities ended up having to take intensive senior-year writing and math classes to prove they deserved a diploma. That denied those students the opportunity to take an elective, despite the lack of evidence the extra academic work helped them in the workplace or at college, they said.”
Oregon had one of the most radical stances on schools during the pandemic. The National Review noted that “Oregon’s Department of Education was also punitive with Covid restrictions. In January 2022, the department decided to withhold federal Covid relief funds from a rural school district that made its mask mandate optional, deferring to parents and families. The department said it would impose the penalty until the district was in compliance with the state’s indoor mask mandate.”
Oregon isn’t alone in having its Democratic leaders decide that their children should not be good at anything. In March, education leaders there decided to lower standards rather than be accountable for their support of lockdowns during the pandemic.
The New York Post slammed leaders at time, writing, “Once again, the State Education Department is lowering standards for K-12 students — literally setting pandemic-related learning loss as the “new normal.”
SED, the Times Union reports, is setting the bar for “proficiency” on state math and reading tests by using last year’s as the standard — actually calling it the “new normal.”
In other words, the achievements of kids who’d just suffered nearly two years of school shutdowns and the joke of “remote learning” are all the state bureaucracy will expect for the foreseeable future.
So much for all the billions of dollars the state’s supposedly devoted to mitigating that learning loss.”
According to U.S. News and World Report, Oregon ranks near the bottom in education pre-K through high school.