Liberal media ignore Oregon bill removing math, reading, and writing requirements for high school graduation

August 12, 2021 • 2:15 pm

Yesterday I reported that Oregon governor Kate Brown had quietly signed a bill that, for the next five years, will eliminate any required demonstrations of a student’s ability to read, write, or do math to procure a high-school diploma in her state. This was explicitly done in the name of racial equity, but was also kept nearly secret, with no live signings, emails, or other attention normally given to bills. The secrecy is surely because the bill is a horrendous degradation of educational requirements in the state—an embarrassment done out of Oregonian wokeness.

I heard from a reader this morning who had checked whether MSM (“mainstream media”, mostly liberal) had reported this turn of events. After all, the bill seems pretty significant, and may be a bellwether for what happens in other states. You can guess the answer:

This story is so disturbing in so many ways, but one that you don’t address but do allude to in your opening sentence is that the bill and bill signing has been hidden not just by the governor but by the entire national press. There appears to be no trace of it in either NYT or WaPo. Unless you live in Oregon and read local media, conservative websites appear to be the ONLY sources through which this news can be learned. I don’t understand how a democratic republic can survive this madness.

I checked those sources too, doing a Google news search with the words “Oregon high school graduation requirements”, and also checked the Associated Press, HuffPost, and The Los Angeles Times. What did I find? Bupkes. They all ignored the story. Here’s where you can find it:

yahoo! news (taken from the conservative Washington Examiner)

The New York Post

Oregon papers like The Oregonian and Oregon Live

Oregon radio and television stations like 790KABC

Campus Reform, a right-wing site reporting college news

Fox News

The Daily Mail

Why did conservative sources report on this and liberal ones didn’t? Because it makes the Left look bad. And it does, because the bill is reprehensible.

Your bias shows not only in what stories you do cover, and how you slant your coverage, but also in what stories you choose not to cover. I deem this story newsworthy, and it even crossed the pond, but we get crickets from the liberal media, even though their “news” is supposed to be unbiased. Tell me that this story was too trivial to write about!


41 thoughts on “Liberal media ignore Oregon bill removing math, reading, and writing requirements for high school graduation

  1. This is partly why we have an increase in vaccine hesitancy — the mainstream media are systematically training people not to trust the mainstream media.

  2. That is incomprehensible. You can be illiterate and get a high school diploma? Who will want to hire any of those graduates?

    1. You won’t realize it until after you hire them. I don’t remember ever being given a reading comprehension test on an interview. 🙂

      1. I remember one interview for a programming position where, at the very end, I was asked to sit down at a keyboard and type. “Type what?” I asked, thinking they wanted to see some code. “Anything.” So I quickly typed a paragraph of a document on the desk. They stopped me after two sentences. It turns out, their last hire who claimed to be a software engineer could not type. At all.

        It will be a shame if I have to add “Please read this page.” to my interview questions.

        1. I fear I wouldn’t pass that typing test. I did take a typing class in junior high school but I was never a fast typist. I have programmed computers since the early 1970s but was always awestruck by other programmers that could type faster than I could. Still, I doubt whether my slow typing really mattered that much in the larger scheme. Other skills are way more important. Though I suppose it would be bad if I couldn’t type at all.

      2. Perhaps this is a market opportunity for testing organizations who have traditionally provided testing services, e.g., ACT / SAT, to college admissions departments. Since some colleges are abandoning such tests, maybe these orgs could offer their services to industry. Imagine having to take the SAT before being interviewed for a job…

  3. I would love to have seen this reported in the MSM. Unfortunately, the national news (at least CNN and NBC which I watch daily) cover so few stories that it really bothers me. A quarter or a third of Anderson Cooper’s show on CNN was devoted to the Andrew Cuomo story where there was very little new happening. I tape the show so I can fast forward over parts like this.

    1. I think it can be argued that they skip stories like this because they aren’t big enough or bloody enough for them. I doubt they have to use protecting the Left as an excuse for skipping this story. Instead, as I mentioned in my other comment, they spend a huge amount of time on a relatively old story with very little new to report.

  4. I am wholly unfamiliar with high schools in Oregon, so perhaps someone who knows can clarify what was done. Is it the case that exit examinations in these subjects have been eliminated, or is it the case that passing grades in courses in these subjects are no longer required? The second possibility would be a much more extreme move.

    The education reform movement pushed for high-stakes testing in elementary and secondary education, because its proponents did not believe that grades in courses could be relied upon as evidence of a student’s level of mastery. (In higher education, the same skepticism about grades led to the creation of the “assessment” industry.)


    1. It is a testing requirement being dropped.
      “Gov. Brown signs bill suspending Oregon graduation testing requirements. … — After more than a year of distance learning, graduation requirements are changing in Oregon. Governor Kate Brown has signed Senate Bill 744, which suspends essential skills testing for the next three years.”

    2. Also we didn’t have these when I was in high school. Essential skills tests were adopted in Oregon in 2008:
      “The Essential Skills Task Force – comprised of educators from K-12, community college, higher education, students, and business/community representatives – worked together in 2007 to develop the Essential Skills policy. In 2008 the Essential Skills were available for public review and input was collected through online surveys as well focus groups. The Task Force incorporated the feedback and Oregon Administrative Rules (OARs) for the Essential Skills were adopted by the Board on June 19, 2008.”

    3. I went to two public high schools in Oregon, one of which I was their first emancipated minor & the other which didn’t really know what to do with me as an emancipated minor. So, fwiw, as I read the bill, it’s just striking the exit examination – not the grade requirements to graduate.

      I don’t have awesome things to say about either school. I definitely slipped through the cracks and they would let me call myself in sick whenever I wanted to work instead of taking careers class. So, I wonder if this will lead to even more students slipping through cracks. My other two high schools were marginally better – a public one in North Dakota and an excellent international school in Finland.

  5. I would agree the story should be covered everywhere but also, is it front page news? Probably not. Today things are going very badly in Afghanistan. Looks like we are sending 3000 troops back just to protect others as they get out. The Washington Post headlines a story – hiding the Truth About The Afghanistan War. It is a smash on Obama. That does not look like making the left look good to me?

  6. Why did conservative sources report on this and liberal ones didn’t? Because it makes the Left look bad.

    I would have assumed that liberal, Left people in the media wouldn’t think this bill made them look bad, because they’re more likely to agree with its goals and not think it “reprehensible.” Assuming they chose not to run the story for ideological instead of practical reasons, my guess is they didn’t want to start up any debate. Why? Because that would be literal violence against a vulnerable and oppressed population.

  7. This is not news for MSM. It is merely one small checkoff in the long road in the Progressive Education agenda to assert that school is not about turning out competent, independent, strong-minded youth with skills, but rather about socialization and egalitarian outcome. Removing competence as a requirement fits the goal of making all students EQUAL.

    It is long proven that there is no impediment to literacy and numeracy by race or economic status, as long as correct teaching and philosophy of reading/math is engaged. However, Progressive Education philosophy denounces the correct methods.

    1. Yes, the progressive model of education is a disaster and has been for some 80 years. E. D. Hirsch (of “Cultural Literacy” fame), wrote a devastating critique in the mid 90s “The Schools We Need and Why We Don’t Have Them”. Nothing has improved in the past 25 years, maybe gotten worse.

    2. There are no absolute impediments to literacy and numeracy by race or economic status. After all, you can find plenty of people of every race and of depressed economic status succeeding with flying colors.

      Nonetheless, there are certainly impediments, primarily shitty primary and secondary schools — a knock-on effect of persistent housing segregation, that make it an uphill battle.

      1. I’d say the obstacles are primarily ideological, which has nothing to do with economic resources. It doesn’t cost a lot of money to teach a kid to read properly, but the teacher does have to know how it’s done. Unfortunately, there is an ideological hostility to phonics, which is perceived to be right-wing.

        1. You’re claiming that the discrepancies between wealthy suburban schools, on the one hand, and shitty inner-city schools and schools for the rural poor, on the other, are due to wokeism? Economics “has nothing to do” with it? Really?

          1. I expect an extremely impoverished school couldn’t help but have problems, but many of the worst schools aren’t all that poor, and are better-funded than many decent schools. For example, Baltimore’s schools are some of the worst in the nation despite having nearly the highest per-pupil funding in the nation. I remember the same was true of Washington DC a decade or two ago. (And maybe it’s still true.)

  8. The NY Times is good to report the possibility of Nicholas Kristof running for governor of Oregon, being urged by friends to unseat the current governor. If he runs, what will be his position on education in general and this bill in particular?

    Should the Times report nary a word about this, perhaps Kristof will forthrightly offer pedagogical pearls of wisdom in his column. If not, surely Bret Stephens will hold forth.

    1. Most people who have opinions on education reform have to choose between only two alternatives, 1) public schools or 2) charter schools. They rarely get into pedagogy. The sad thing is that most educators come out of the education colleges and will be steeped in the same progressive pedagogy and have woke objectives.

  9. Why did I not think of this sooner? Declare everything that I find difficult is oppressive, irrelevant and probably racist. First on my list is calculus. Then, move on to the fun stuff like genetics.

  10. Shout-out to one of my favorite news sources- The Oregonian! For those interested in issues affecting the West there isn’t a better source. (Also, Oregon Live is just The Oregonian’s website.)

  11. Today is the day folks, today is the official day that CNN is dead to me. With the exception of Jake Tapper and Van Jones and maybe Dana Bash, this network has been on probation but as of this moment, I’ve deleted all links to CNN and will never watch their show, coverage, or read another story again. The whole enterprise is rotten to the core and infested with hysterical and insufferably self-righteous and opinionated little termites.

    I reached my breaking point today after seeing a story where a father in CA murdered two of his young children in the ocean because according to him, they had serpent DNA as promulgated on QAnon. As if CNN is so deranged by their left bias that they find it newsworthy to publish a story about a man horrifically and violently murdering his children like they’re doing a PSA, admonishing all parents to be wary of QAnon, lest they too fall prey to its conspiratorial thinking and start killing babies. Surely this waste of human flesh was just making stuff up but if QAnon is the enemy in this story (of course they actually are), CNN is not above nauseating you with dead babies to make a political point. Suck eggs CNN!

    1. Now you have me curious as to how CNN covers this but surely it is news. QAnon is the enemy. Check. So what political point do you think they were making that you object to? It’s a horrible story but are you suggesting that they not cover it out of some sort of respect for the dead? I’m really asking. I often object to how CNN covers things, and certainly what they cover, but I’m not understanding this case.

        1. That was my take as well. I did see part of CNN’s coverage by Anderson Cooper. I didn’t see a problem with it. They even mentioned that this is not the first time a parent has killed their children over the idea that it is better that they die rather than fall victim to the Lizard People as QAnon suggests.

      1. Hi Paul. First let me pin my colors to the mast lest someone accuse me of being a right-winger or a member of QAnon. I’m socially left-leaning, fiscally slightly right-leaning but not by today’s standards, voted for Dem presidents but might not have voted for Bernie if he was the Dem nominee and despise Trump with every fiber of my being and honestly wish that COVID had wiped away his political career. Not kill him per se though I wouldn’t much care if it had because him catching COVID was self-inflicted and idiotic and preventable and just (and I like karma and irony and truth and justice and leaders who accept responsibility for their actions) but more importantly, his propaganda against medical facts resulted in the preventable deaths of thousands of Americans and I hold him directly responsible. Him dying of a hydroxychloroquine overdose or by self-administered bleach injection would have been even better.

        SO, I disagree that a father in California murdering his 2 children in a state of 40M people is newsworthy and certainly not nationally. Why report this? To notify the public that a murderer is loose or to crowdsource his ID and capture? No. There were 1,680 murders in CA in 2019. Was the tragedy of murdered children the appeal? A mother sometimes drowns her children but it doesn’t necessarily make national news. Why this murder? Because if ‘it bleeds, it leads?’ Perhaps.

        I think it’s because, by the father’s account, QAnon made him do it. Can no one call bullshit anymore or at least not report the ramblings of a lunatic as if it was key to establish the motive of the suspect in this captivating crime thriller? What?! He was manipulated into killing his own children via an online right wing conspiracy forum? Please allow me to suggest some alternative theories: he’s a psychopath, he despised the responsibility of having to care for two very young children and just wanted to go surfing and snapped, he hated his wife and they reminded him of her, or that’s the only dumb sh*t he could come up with on the spot once arrested and facing life in prison, etc. Would CNN have reported the Twinkie defense? Too much caffeine? Satan told him to do it? So why “QAnon made me do it?” I think it’s because CNN got the biggest serotonin rush of all time by being able to villify their worst enemy without even having to be convincing. And Jussie Smollet was almost lynched in -20 F weather by MAGA hat-wearing racist homophobes, did you hear?

        And what is the implication? That the QAnon meme machine might infect susceptible fathers everywhere and they’ll murder their own children too so beware America! Do NOT look at QAnon or your mind might also get infected? I wish that QAnon would somehow be dismantled but they caused him to murder his kids? Really? And now I get to hear about a father using a speargun to murder his innocent children graphically on the beach…this is what you’re desperate to tell us after capturing our attention CNN?…and ignore the hundreds of other murders and car accidents. Lastly, ask yourself: is this grim task of counting bodies foundational to the media’s mission of informing the public?

        This citizen says no CNN so you are cancelled now! (And don’t think for a second, dear Readers, that Jimbo will be tuning into Fox News!)

        1. I disagree. Sure, the father who killed his own kids likely has mental illness. I suspect millions of Americans have some kind of mental illness. That doesn’t make this guy all that exceptional. Of course, it is a matter of degree and what specific illnesses he suffers from. The Jonestown Massacre shows us that mass death do to consumption of bad ideas can happen. Did all those people suffer from mental illness? Maybe but does that really matter?

          So why tell the public about this incident? First, it is evidently not the first time this has happened. I’m sure it hasn’t happened often so we shouldn’t call it a trend. Still, it could be the beginning of one. I believe Q (Ron Watkins) is no longer operating. Perhaps that means QAnon will fade. But I think it’s equally possible that it will make it worse as bad actors take over. Just like with the GOP.

          Your main problem with this reporting seems to revolve around the idea that MSM are selectively going after the Left’s enemies, QAnon in this case. Even if that were true, and I’m not saying it is to any great extent, this is actual wrongdoing and horrifying. I’d certainly like to think that they would report a Lefty parent who killed their kids because of some dopey idea. As far as I know, that’s not happening.

          While the MSM have definitely split into two sides, there is an asymmetry that shouldn’t be ignored. The Left has many bad ideas but only the Right wants to overturn the results of an honest election, get rid of democracy, suppress anyone who isn’t white, support the ravings of QAnon, encourage COVID denial. And those are just the biggies. There is not the equivalent on the Left. Sure, a few want to get rid of the police, meritocracy, and back CRT’s worst ideas but they can be fought in the marketplace of ideas. For one thing, the MSM is not for either of those things as far as I can tell. Polls have shown that a majority of all citizens don’t want to defund the police. I’m sure the same would be true for meritocracy and CRT. We are fighting a battle against misinformation on several fronts. I’m glad the MSM is helping.

    2. For me the problem is not that CNN is about the news, but it is opinion masquerading as the news.

      Interestingly, when abroad (not Canada or the US) CNN is actually a news channel.

    3. Yeah, I have usually considered them okay. But I checked today about this story, going into the “US” section. I found two repeat links (the same basic story linked to twice on the same screen) while this story uncovered. It’s at best sloppy web design, at worst intentionally going for clickbait over coverage.

  12. Sorry, I can’t not see the Doctor Evil laughing meme: “And then he said, the liberal media is supposed to be unbiased!”

  13. The AP didn’t report on it?

    The reason it’s not being reported more widely is the truth here isn’t newsworthy, and the overall claim is false. Oregon did not drop their graduation requirements. They temporarily removed one requirement, unique to Oregon, for a standardized “basic-skills test” students had to pass in addition to passing their classes with an acceptable GPA. It had already been suspended due to COVID and is now gone through 2023.

    As I’m not from Oregon, I never had to take and pass a standardized “basic-skills” test to graduate. I only had to pass all my classes. I doubt many of the angry commentators over this law ever did either.

    As usual, Fox News and their kin have spun this out of proportion in an attempt to make Democratic governors look scary and stupid.

  14. The Oregonian ( reports:
    ‘Charles Boyle, the governor’s deputy communications director, said the governor’s staff notified legislative staff the same day the governor signed the bill. Boyle said in an emailed statement that 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 color.”
    Isn’t it racist to think that the “Oregon’s Black, Latino, Latina, Latinx, Indigenous, Asian, Pacific Islander, Tribal, and students of color” have lower abilities than other (what other?) groups?

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