Oregon Gov. Kate Brown apparently did not want residents to know what she was up to while signing a bill ostensibly designed to help underperforming black students. Perhaps it’s because the governor and other progressives understand the legislation will not provide any real benefit for African American children. In other words, it is the typical so-called progressive policy designed to earn plaudits by appearing to care about the black community when, in reality, they are making the situation even worse.
Gov. Brown Signs Absurd Law
On July 14, Gov. Brown secretly signed into law a bill that suspends reading, writing, and math proficiency standards for graduating high school. This means students will no longer have to demonstrate the requisite skill level in these subjects to receive a diploma. Earlier in the year, Brown did not indicate whether she supported such a measure, but now it is clear where she stands on the issue.
The Oregonian reports:
“Brown’s decision was not public until recently, because her office did not hold a signing ceremony or issue a press release and the fact that the governor signed the bill was not entered into the legislative database until July 29, a departure from the normal practice of updating the public database the same day a bill is signed.”
Charles Boyle, the governor’s deputy communications director, told The Oregonian: “Leaders from those communities have advocated time and again for equitable graduation standards, along with expanded learning opportunities and supports.” However, the state’s government did not implement any expansion of learning opportunities for minority students during this year’s legislative session. The Oregonian further explains:
“The requirement that students demonstrate freshman- to sophomore-level skills in reading, writing and, particularly, math led many high schools to create workshop-style courses to help students strengthen their skills and create evidence of mastery. Most of those courses have been discontinued since the skills requirement was paused during the pandemic before lawmakers killed it entirely.”
Opinions on the matter fell mainly along party lines, with Democrats supporting the measure and Republicans opposing it. Those in favor of eliminating the standards argue they should remain suspended until the class of 2024 graduates so educators can review the requirements. Those who do not support the move insist it will lower academic standards.
Government “Helping” Black Americans?
While the law would apply to all students regardless of race, the governor and supporters of the bill are clearly targeting black students. They claim this move will somehow benefit African American pupils who have trouble performing up to standards. However, while such a solution might make white progressive types feel virtuous, it would do the precise opposite of what they claim to intend.
When it comes to closing racial disparities – especially in education – the hard left likes to lower standards ostensibly to allow blacks to move forward. The obvious problem many have pointed out is that such an approach is inherently demeaning and condescending. It reeks of the “save a poor negro” attitude prevalent among white progressives. Instead of seeking authentic solutions to address the problem, they simply take the easy way out. These individuals would rather lower standards for black people than uplift them.
But it is even deeper than that.
Lowering the standards means Oregon’s schools will fail even harder at equipping young black boys and girls for life after high school. Schools will not prepare these students for college and could increase the dropout rate, thereby perpetuating a devastating cycle for the state’s black population. To put it simply, the white progressives are eschewing the idea that black students should possess the skills necessary to prosper. In exchange for helping them become self-reliant, they are saying, “don’t worry, we’ll take care of it for you.”
It’s an infantilizing approach that does not benefit anyone except the virtue-signaling teachers and bureaucrats who can pat themselves on the back and boast of their wokeness on Facebook. In the end, it is yet another reason too many black children don’t get the education they deserve. At this point, one must wonder if Democrats are woefully inept or deliberately nefarious.
Read more from Jeff Charles.