This week, Townhall covered how a school district in California unveiled a new “ethnic studies” curriculum to dismantle the so-called “Eurocentric framework” in education. The curriculum would focus on “center[ing] indigeneity, Blackness, race, ethnicity and its intersections to other social categories such as gender and class.” Parents in the district reportedly complained that requiring this kind of class would not allow space in their children’s schedules to take AP courses later on.
Now, another state has passed a new policy that lowers the requirements for students to graduate high school altogether, claiming that the previous requirements harm “students of color.”
Through 2029, high school students in Oregon will not have to prove mastery in reading, writing and math to graduate, the state Board of Education decided on Thursday. This initially began in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to multiple reports, leaders at the Oregon Department of Education and members of the state school board said that requiring students to pass several standardized tests on these subjects was “a harmful hurdle for historically marginalized students” (via Oregon Live):
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.
Board members underscored that state-mandated standardized tests will still be administered to most Oregon high school students – they just won’t be used to determine whether a student has the skills necessary to graduate.
Oregon students will no longer need to be proficient in reading, writing, and math to graduate. They’re doing this cuz of “inequity” and having standards to graduate “disproportionately harmed students of color.”— Libs of TikTok (@libsoftiktok) October 24, 2023
The Oregon Dept of Education is racist. pic.twitter.com/8N1XvtdVh7
In a statement to NBC5, the Oregon Board of Education said: “Let’s be clear: We haven’t eliminated assessments for Oregon students. What’s changed is the insistence on a specific test score for graduation. Our students still need to meet essential skill requirements, as indicated in their coursework, CTE pathway options and more.”
State Rep. Tracy Cramer, a Republican, said that “the board has continued to remove standards and has not come up with a game plan.”
“I think that’s why parents and Oregonians are kind of frustrated. Just because graduation rates are improving, it doesn’t mean proficiency is,” she added, according to Oregon Capital Chronicle.
"Gone are the days when schools encouraged all children to strive for greatness; instead, the soft bigotry of low expectations has taken root in Oregon, where state officials have chosen to abolish standards to allegedly 'help' disadvantaged students," Nicki Neiy, president of Parents Defending Education, told Townhall.
"It's hard to overstate how condescending and patronizing this policy is: education bureaucrats are making very clear that they believe there are some students who simply cannot meet the bare minimum – a mindset that will inevitably infect the self-esteem of young learners, creating a self-fulfilling prophecy of mediocrity, envy, and anger," she added.