Connect with Point of View   to get exclusive commentary and updates

Low Expectations

Graduate in gown holds motarboard cap
Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Penna Dexternever miss viewpoints

What is education even for? Not, it seems, for proficiency in core subjects. At least not in Oregon or in other states that have been ratcheting down their educational standards. Recently, the Oregon Board of Education, by unanimous vote, decided to drop state graduation requirements that students be proficient in math, reading and writing. The board’s statement announcing the move called the standards “burdensome to teachers and students.”

Oregon suspended its proficiency requirement for graduation in 2020, a “pause” instituted during the height of the pandemic. As with many misguided Covid-related education policies, this one resulted in worse outcomes.

Rather than implement remedial measures to bring students up to speed, education bureaucrats blamed the assessment tool for students’ subpar performance. According to the Oregonian, the decision to extend the “pause” means: “Students in the K-12 system will not be held to an academic graduation standard for another four years.” Board members argued that proficiency requirements for graduation would harm marginalized students because many of them would have to take extra classes their senior year in order to demonstrate mastery of required disciplines.

Requiring extra effort on students’ part is a wise policy. Throwing out basic requirements is not.

Ohio also tried this in 2020, abandoning “competency” in math and English. The Daily Signal points to an Ohio State University report showing a substantial decline in math performance for middle-and-high-schoolers.

The Daily Signal also reports that Baltimore City Public Schools relaxed math standards several times since 2010. After the 2023 state assessments, the district “has 13 high schools in which zero students are proficient in math.”

In similar misguided attempts to achieve “racial equity,” school districts in California, Michigan, New York, and South Carolina have tried lowering standards and expectations. According to the Daily Signal, “No district that has sought to cut academic standards has seen an improvement in academic performance.”

Idiotic no-expectations/no-failure policies will not help minorities and will destroy many students’ futures.penna's vp small

Viewpoints sign-up