Illiteracy the new standard of achievement in Oregon

If you’re lazy or plain stupid and are about to finish high school, move to Oregon, U.S.A.: you won’t have to be able to read, write or do basic math to graduate.

That’s the state’s brand new law.

Branded as help to “students of colour” (meaning, obviously, mainly of black skin tinge), this new law is as racist as racist can get. What it says, in summary, is that people of black skin colour are intellectually so much behind that reading, writing and math are subjects beyond their grasp.

Whether Kate Brown, the state’s Governor, felt that the entire idea stinks to high heaven is not known. But no other explanation can enlighten anyone as to why there was no public announcement when she signed the bill into law, and why it would take two weeks since the signing for the new law to be entered into the state’s official database. Before the signature ink dries is the usual speed. Two weeks?

Certainly officials offered excuses. Not that they made any sense.

In any case, the next five years will be paradise for the lazy and plain stupid.

According to the Oregonian newspaper, there was no usual pomp and circumstance connected to this signing. No fanfare: the Governor’s office didn’t even bother to issue a news release announcing the momentous change.

According to the Oregonian/OregonLive’s story, the Governor would not comment and explain her reasons for supporting the suspension of the proficiency requirements.

According to the Oregonian/OregonLive, the Governor’s office notified the Legislature that she had signed the bill the same day the Governor had signed it.

According to the Governor office’s e-mail to the newspaper, suspending the reading, writing and math proficiency requirements while the state develops new graduation standards will benefit “Oregon’s Black, Latino, Latina, Latinx, Indigenous, Asian, Pacific Islander, Tribal, and students of colour.”

What they meant by it can hardly be explained, but the Governor’s office has passed the ball smoothly: “Leaders from those communities have advocated time and again for equitable graduation standards, along with expanded learning opportunities and supports.”

Whatever THAT means.

The Oregonian/OregonLive’s reporting further on would be hilarious, if it wasn’t so tragic. Many high schools felt obliged, the Oregonian/OregonLive’s story explains, to create “workshop-style courses to help students strengthen their skills and create evidence of mastery.”

Your normal classes, since kindergarten up, just weren’t enough to help the unfortunate lazy bums master their ABCs and figure out the result of adding up two and two.

Then came the pandemic-shmandemic to provide all and sundry with a comforting and comfortable excuse to end even those workshops.

The voting, the Oregonian/OregonLive reports, went almost precisely along the party lines. The Democrats supported ending the usual result-based proficiency requirement. The Republicans viewed it as an unacceptable lowering of academic standards.

The result: Oregon students can graduate high school till at least 2027 while remaining perfectly illiterate.

Proponents of the suspension have been using all kinds of smokescreens, but none of them bothered to ask how the kids could have made it so far as high school while being ignorant of educational basics.

Many critics took aim at standardised test as the root of all evil in education: these tests the same minimal knowledge from everybody, and whoever knows more and better, gets better marks.

How perfectly unfair!

Of course, Oregon has been above demanding any standards for quite some time now, anyway. Students in Oregon didn’t have to pass any tests whatsoever: completing an in-depth classroom project judged by their own teachers has sufficed.

While the Oregonian/OregonLive’s reporting continues to debate the delay between the signing and the announcement, not many have bothered to link the sad state of Oregon education to the fact that its drivers do not know how to fill their tanks with gasoline.

For reasons not understandable to many, Oregon does not permit self-service at gas stations. (Neither does New Jersey, by the way.)

But, with outside temperatures closing in on 100 grades (Fahrenheit), which equals 37.7 Celsius, the state’s authorities took pity on the gas station attendants telling them they need not leave their air-conditioned cubicles to help motorists fuel up.

The Oregonian/OregonLive went so far as to post a video with basic instructions.

Not a mention in writing that would force anybody to read, and the gas pumps will tell you how much you owe. If you can’t read the digits, just push the button, and the attendant will tell you.

Three cheers for the eager beavers in the Beaver State. If this trend continues, they’ll soon be competing with the beavers for the jobs that remain within their borders.

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