Kate Brown, the far-left Democratic governor of Oregon, quietly signed a bill into law last month that will allow high schoolers to graduate without proving they can read, write, or do math — and told no one about it.
And now, when pressed on it just days ago, she still won't talk about the new law, the Oregonian reported.
What was the bill?
The Beaver State's Democrat-dominated legislature passed a bill in mid-June, SB 744, dropping requirements that would-be graduates demonstrate they have achieved essential high school-level reading, writing, and math skills for the next five years, the paper said. The move was an extension of the suspension of skills requirements that had been enacted last year in response to the pandemic.
Oregon, unlike other states, did not require standardized tests — which are often regarded as being unfair to minority communities — to show proficiency. Students had a number of options to show subject proficiency: They could choose from a number of different tests or complete classroom projects judged by their own teachers, the Oregonian added.
Backers of the legislation said the bill would benefit minority students by changing the graduation standards and advocated expanding learning support and opportunities; however, the state assembly did not bother to pass any learning opportunity expansions for minority students.
In fact, according to the paper, workshop programs many high schools had created to help students meet the previous requirements have been scrapped now that the state government has killed the standards for graduation.
What is Brown (not) saying?
As recently as Friday, the governor was still refusing to talk about it when pressed by the Oregonian.
The outlet reported that for a month after the assembly passed the bill, Brown refused to indicate whether or not she supported the plan. But then on July 14, she quietly signed it into law.
Brown's decision wasn't public until more than two weeks later. She didn't have a signing ceremony. She didn't even issue a press release.
And the state's legislative database wasn't updated with information about her signing until July 29 — a major deviation from the usual practice of updating the site on the day the governor signs a bill, the paper said.
The staff at the state Senate office charged with updating the site claimed that the signing update was delayed because "a key staffer who deals with the governor's office was experiencing medical issues," the paper reported. However, several bills that Brown signed during that same time period were all updated on the website the day the governor signed them, and email notifications were sent out to people who were tracking the bills.
No email notifications were sent when the website was updated to reflect the fact that Brown had signed the controversial bill. Legislative sources told the Oregonian that the notifications were not sent because of a "system malfunction."