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Massive fraud: Oregon association issues damning report on state's Department of Education

(AP Photo/Don Ryan, File)

In 2021, then Oregon Governor Kate Brown signed into law SB 744, which temporarily suspended essential skills requirements to graduate high school. The requirements were lifted for several years pending a review by the state Department of Education (ODE). 


The bill, passed on a strictly partisan vote in the legislature, received extensive criticism at the time for putting 'equity and 'educational justice' (whatever that means) over actual academic standards.

New skills requirements and standards in Oregon, to begin with the 2024-25 school year, were to be based on the evaluation from the ODE. The ODE issued that report, Community-Informed Recommendations for Equitable Graduation Outcomes, in September 2022.

Yes, it's as cringeworthy as the name suggests.

But this week, an assessment of the ODE report -- and of SB 744 in general -- was published by the Oregon Association of Scholars in conjunction with Save Oregon Schools. What they found was 'fraud at a massive scale.'

The study summarizes its findings as follows: 

We find that the assumptions of SB 744 are flawed and that the ODE report is even more flawed. ODE violated the terms of the bill in writing its report. It misused and misunderstood various research findings; it ignored widely available evidence that points to conclusions different from those it reached; it engaged in plagiarism and Google-search research; and it made racist attacks on the people and students of Oregon. In short, this report finds that ODE has violated its mission to provide an objective report as required under SB 744. 

More specifically, the study details how ODE violated the political neutrality requirements of SB 744, made a racist claim that graduation requirements were 'white,' baselessly attacked Oregon teachers, erroneously cited research about 'belonging,' misrepresented research on discipline standards based on race and, perhaps most egregiously, attempted to 'dumb down' education standards for students of color. 

Moreover, the study finds that all of this was done by design. 

For example, in its report, ODE claims that there is systemic, cultural, and educator bias in determining graduation standards. What the Oregon Association of Scholars found was that this claim was made with no hard evidence, just a single statement from one anonymous school superintendent. ODE also claimed that 'student belonging' was a key factor in graduation rates, but the study ODE cited for that claim clearly states that it could not determine or make any conclusions about causality between belonging and graduation. 


There is much more than just those two examples in the full 27-page study, which conducts a true deep dive into ODE's deliberate misrepresentations. It really sounds like ODE reached its conclusion first and then concocted a report to justify that conclusion.

You knew Moms for Liberty would be paying attention to this. But Save Oregon Schools also sent its study to every Oregon state senator and representative, and it's getting some attention from them. 

And there is the answer to the question, 'Why is this important?' The temporary skills suspension enabled by SB 744 won't stay temporary if the state acts on ODE's report. The state has already written legislation based on ODE's recommendations, and will continue to use those recommendations for future legislation unless their fraudulent nature is exposed. 


And don't think this is just restricted to Oregon. It's clear that other states are consulting with Oregon on education standards. 

However, maybe now that studies like the one published by the Oregon Association of Scholars and Save Oregon Schools are out in the open, it will be more difficult for state legislatures and governors to enact bad laws based on flawed data. 

With that in mind, let's end on two high notes. 

Jeff Myers sent out this update on Sept. 20, one day after the study was published: 


As for that investigation, Myers also included this statement in his article about the study: 

I can also assure you this is not the only fraudulent report that ODE has produced. Over the next few days and weeks, I will be releasing information on other significant reports and plans ODE has published that are equally biased, inaccurate, and destined for the trash bin. This is a clear pattern of deception at a grand scale that has somehow evaded exposure, until now.

We will definitely stay tuned for that. 


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