February 2020 may seem like forever ago, but it was then, in an “Education Update,” that Oregon Department of Education Director Colt Gill first publicly praised the New York Times “1619 Project.” “Systemic racism in the United States dates back long before the American Revolution. If you haven’t yet read the 1619 Project by the New York Times, I can’t recommend it highly enough.”
Since then, the “1619 Project” and “systemic racism” narratives have spread faster than a virulent COVID-19 variant, infecting those most vulnerable to it: Oregon’s schoolchildren.
Fast forward to May 2021, when ODE sponsored “An Evening With Nikole Hannah-Jones,” and invited Oregon’s teachers statewide. The 90 minute webinar is worth a listen. Not to learn more about the “1619 Project.” The event, billed as “1619: Centering Black History and Black Futures in Oregon,” had surprisingly little to do with actual history, or even the “1619 Project” itself.
But the webinar does reveal quite a bit about ODE and the elite panelists driving the narrative, what they believe are the problems, and what they propose as the solutions. The bottom line: the purpose of the “1619 Project” is less about “correcting” America’s history and more about controlling America’s future.
Let’s address ODE first. Director Gill introduced the webinar explaining that “the experience of black students and families can and must be centered in our state, including the fullness of black histories and black futures.” A bit of background: the Department’s five-year-old African American/Black Student Success Plan hasn’t budged graduation rates, test scores, or disciplinary incidents. (Perhaps prioritizing activism over achievement isn’t the answer.) Now ODE’s new tack: jump on the “1619” and “systemic racism” narratives bandwagon to shift blame for the gap.
Other goals for the webinar (according to pre-event advertising):
How to use “1619” as a “supplemental instructional resource supporting the 2021 Oregon social science standards that include newly adopted K-12 ethnic studies standards.”
How the “inclusion of 1619 historical events into our educational system will further Oregon’s efforts at breaking down systems of oppression.”
Gill concluded his opening remarks: “We look forward to engaging this afternoon and learning more to help guide us forward.”
So now on to the panelists “guiding” Oregon’s teachers on “supplemental instructional resources” and “breaking down systems of oppression.” Nikole Hannah-Jones was the feature. She was joined by Portland State University professor Dr. Ethan Johnson and Oregon Alliance of Black School Educators president Kevin Bacon. KOIN news anchor Ken Boddie moderated. Hannah-Jones’s views on education: “In a country built on racial caste, we must confront the fact that our schools are not broken. They are operating as designed.” Hannah-Jones mentioned that she takes a personal interest in Portland, as she lived in the city from 2006-2012, owned a house in the Woodlawn neighborhood, and worked at the Oregonian. She is the author of the lead “1619” piece, “The Idea of America.”
Hannah-Jones explained that “the ‘1619 Project’ seeks to set out slavery as a foundational American institution...and one whose legacy we still see in modern society.” “...it is an origin story told through a very particular lens.”
Johnson, Chair of the Black Studies Department in the School of Gender, Race and Nations at PSU, objected to the term “legacy,” stating:
One of the things I think is really important is to not frame slavery as a legacy but as it’s still here. Legacy suggests that it’s over...no, slavery is right here...If we go from slavery, and we go through Jim Crow, and we go through the criminal justice system...which is kinda the dominate way that black people are controlled today...gratuitous violence is something we experience...I can be killed, murdered, psychically traumaed you know at any time for no reason...just because I’m black. And today our kids are taken away from us regularly...either through CPS, Child Protective Services, or through the criminal justice system, for no reason other than we’re black. They say we did a crime. But the primary reason is because we’re black...I think what needs to be rethought is like that idea, we are in slavery, and that slavery hasn’t ended.
Is this really what Gill thinks will “help guide us forward?”
And here’s Hannah-Jones’ response to the question: “Where do you see the legacy of slavery today?”:
When we look at the insurrection on the Capitol January 6th and the belief by a white minority that people of color are not citizens whose votes should count equal to theirs, that’s a legacy of 1619, not the legacy of 1776. When we look at the election of Donald Trump, a fairly open white nationalist, that is a legacy of slavery. When we look at George Floyd and a police officer who believed that he could kneel on a man’s neck for two minutes after he was dead, while he was being filmed, that is a legacy of slavery. When we look at the fact that black Americans are at the bottom of every indicator of well-being in this country and black people have one cent of wealth to the dollar of wealth that white Americans have, when we look at a place like Portland of gentrification and housing segregation and school segregation. All of these are legacies of slavery.
$25,000 per webinar. Endowed chair. Pulitzer Prize. Possibly the legacies of the land of opportunity?
Over the course of the webinar, the panelists connected slavery to current-day problems in Oregon and the U.S. They criticized capitalism, wealth, criminal justice, healthcare, traffic, voting, and cultural appropriation. Framing America’s way of life as problematic is of course the actual purpose of “1619.” The project is a compilation of 18 essays addressing these topics and more in a compelling 100 page New York Times Magazine special issue, published August, 2019. Some of the images and descriptions in the issue are heart-wrenching, and cover important topics. But the publication is primarily propaganda packaged as history. It contains proven factual inaccuracies: it is an artistic and literary piece, not a historical work.
As the webinar continued, it became clear that the “1619” and “systemic racism” narratives of America as primarily a land of oppression rather than a land of hope and opportunity have a purpose. They can be used in Oregon’s classrooms to politicize history and gain youth support for proposed “solutions” discussed by the panelists: wealth redistribution, land reparations, defunding the police, universal healthcare, and progressive changes to urban design, transportation, and education.
“Correcting” America’s history, or controlling America’s future?
Most Americans believe these are radical positions. But the webinar participants represent print media, broadcast media, K-12 education, and higher ed. Seems like a powerful push to teach these views to Oregon’s schoolchildren. Bacon and Johnson both said they mentor K-12 educators. As part of the “1619 Project In Schools” effort, Hannah-Jones said that she’s met with thousands of teachers.
Hannah-Jones explained that “1619” is a continuing effort. Two new books, eight new essays, documentaries, and films are forthcoming. The next batch of essays will address topics such as African diaspora, settler colonialism, and the “excavation of racism” in Philadelphia.
What to do? Parents, teachers, and education-policy makers have a responsibility to ensure that schools educate, rather than indoctrinate. Ironically, perhaps the panelists themselves give us a clue. During the discussion, Hannah-Jones cited the Constitution; Johnson condemned progressive policies. Maybe there’s hope: is it possible common sense could (eventually) prevail?
In the meantime, stop the spread. Vaccinate your kids against the “1619” and “systemic racism” narratives. ODE seems committed to importing radical activism from the New York Times into Oregon’s classrooms. Hannah-Jones will be back on May 13 to deliver another ODE-sponsored webinar, this time speaking directly to Oregon’s schoolchildren.
--Mary Miller, Oregonians for Liberty in Education
Oregon House Republicans announce support for a public hearing of SB 649 -- “Bailey’s Bill” -- that closes a loophole in Oregon law that lets teachers off the hook with lighter consequences than coaches for sexual abuse against students.
Today members of the House Judiciary Committee issued a joint letter to force a public hearing for the bill.
Under the proposal, teachers would be held to the same standard as coaches. Representative Bobby Levy (R-Echo) and Senator Bill Hansell (R-Athena) and Senator Kathleen Taylor (D-Milwaukie) co-sponsored the bill named after Bailey Munck from Athena, Oregon who was sexually abused by her English teacher. After pleading guilty, her abuser spent only two days in jail and received five years probation. He did not have to register as a sex offender. If he had been her coach rather than teacher, he would have received up to five years in prison.
The bipartisan bill passed with unanimous support in the Senate, and currently has bipartisan sponsors in the House. However, it has yet to receive a public hearing in the House Judiciary Committee.
“It’s shocking that we don’t already have this protection for our children in schools,” said House Republican Leader Christine Drazan (R-Canby.) “Bailey’s courage to testify on this horrific event is remarkable and will lead to safer schools for students.”
Bailey testified in support of SB 649 during a Senate committee public hearing.
“What is the significant difference between a teacher and a coach? Do coaches somehow carry more authority than a teacher might?” Bailey Munck asked senators during the hearing. “Coaches and teachers should be prosecuted equally as they both have responsibility for students’ safety and they both have positions of authority and power over their students and players.”
Approximately 24 million—one of every eight—voter registrations in the United States are no longer valid or are significantly inaccurate.
More than 1.8 million deceased individuals are listed as voters.
Approximately 2.75 million people have registrations in more than one state.”
Many Oregonians complain about getting extra ballots for people who do not live at their address. But if Rep Dan Rayfield (D-Corvallis) proposed bill HB 2681 is passed by the 2021 Legislature we will see our voter rolls continue to bloat over the decades to come in unprecedented numbers. HB 2681 allows voters to stay on the voter rolls even if they don’t vote or update their address for any time period.
One of the foundational practices of a good election is clean voter rolls. It is an accurate refection of who may vote in that election. Voters information must be defined and accurate.
According to the Vote by Mail Manual pages 55
There is a form that can be used to challenge a voter. You can report the ballot as having a wrong address. People should assist the county clerks to know that the person no longer lives at the address. This is one way we can all help clean up the voter rolls. We would have fewer ballots sent out to wrong addresses. These extra ballots cost us money to produce and to mail.
We all want every eligible voter to be able to vote. At the same time, every voter needs to take on the responsibility of keeping their own data correct so they can vote. Don’t just throw those extra ballots away that arrive at your home. Return them to your county clerk and tell them that voter does not live at your house.
Want to give parents the option of 100 percent in-person learning
Oregon House Republicans have announced their support for $9.6 billion to fully fund schools. This amount was requested by the state’s education leaders to support the 2021-2022 school year and will contribute to fully reopening Oregon schools for in-person learning by the fall.
“We have to get our kids back in the classroom for full in-person learning. Fully funding their education is part of making that happen,” said House Republican Leader Christine Drazan (R-Canby.) “They have suffered enough mental health setbacks and learning losses with virtual and hybrid school. We made a commitment last week that will let families and students choose full in-person learning by the fall, and this week we’re committing to fully funding our schools so we can accomplish that goal.”
Teachers from around the state have asked their legislators to fully fund schools next year, including Elaine Poole from Canby: “Our students are dependent on your support to make sure that they can return to schools that have the resources that give them an opportunity moving forward.”
Submitted testimonies on SB 5514 from school administrators, the statewide teachers union and other education supporters say that anything less than a $9.6 billion state school fund will force school districts to make layoffs and other cuts.
The push from House Republicans comes a week after announcing HB 3399, a bipartisan, bicameral bill that would reopen Oregon’s schools to give parents the option of 100 percent in-person learning by the 2021-2022 school year.
Sen. Dennis Linthicum (R-Klamath Falls) issued a statement:
“Bureaucrats have no authority to create laws, yet Gov. Brown is using OSHA to infringe on Oregonians’ constitutional rights through its Orwellian-style permanent mask rule for employers. In pursuit of political power, the regulatory tyrants at OSHA have abused their rightful duty and have harmed free enterprise, business opportunity, and social flourishing within our communities.
“The rule forces employers to require masks until OSHA says otherwise, even as other states across the nation are ditching masks all together. This is nothing but willful misconduct by Gov. Brown.
“Gov. Brown’s administration falsely believes that Oregon will continue to grow despite the absurdity of a permanent mask rule and the costs associated with Oregon’s ever-expanding bureaucratic bloat. It is obvious she hopes to ‘buy off’ Oregonians with the $2.6 billion coming hot off the Biden administration’s monetary printing presses. Yet, this long-term debt-fueled, command-and-control Ponzi scheme will fail Americans with distortions in pricing, massive malinvestment, government inefficiency, and monumental economic waste. The government and the wealthy will walk away unscathed while hard-working Oregonians will be forced to abdicate their freedom for government control.
“Unquestioned until now, both common sense and the courts have upheld that human life contains an ‘assumption of risk,’ a fact that OSHA cannot override and ignore, regardless of the unlimited power it has been given by Gov. Brown.
“We assume risk every time we get behind the wheel of a car, cross the street, or go out in public. Unfortunately, we live in a time where many Americans are willingly giving away their freedom, and with it the ability to make risk assessments in everyday tasks, in favor of a false sense of security from the government.
“Voluntary behavior is always better than what we are witnessing today, where an unelected and unaccountable regime is punishing every violation and pursuing minor public health violations as larger opportunities to illicit fines and close businesses.”
After 25 years in the Legislature, Senator Ginny Burdick (D-Portland) is now an expert on federal energy policy. Burdick was recently nominated by Governor Brown to the Northwest Power and Conservation Council.
While serving a three-year term, she will make a comfortable $142,848/year. After one term, taxpayers will quintuple her PERS benefits and pay her over $66,000 per year in retirement.
Today, Senator Burdick cast the deciding vote for her own nomination in the Senate Rules Committee. After Republicans asked to vote on Senator Burdick and one other appointee separately to avoid voting against a bevy of qualified individuals, Democrats continued with an en bloc vote, which is a singular vote for nearly 100 nominations.
The nomination will now move to the Senate floor where Republican Leader Fred Girod (R-Lyons) will vote against her nomination again. He released the following statement:
“I have not voted for these kinds of golden parachutes in the past, and I won’t start now. These kinds of political favors destroy faith in our democracy and expose the corruption in our politics. I will enthusiastically vote against her nomination on the Senate floor.”
Governor’s announcement has big impact for local economy and jobs
Governor Kate Brown has announced to the Lake County Prison Committee that she has decided not to close the Warner Creek Correctional Facility.
More than 100 Lake County residents work at the correctional facility and have family members that work in the local schools, businesses and county offices. Closing the facility would have displaced hundreds of residents who would need to find new jobs elsewhere.
“I want to thank Governor Brown for making the right call by keeping the Warner Creek Correctional Facility open,” said Representative E. Werner Reschke (R-Klamath Falls,) a vocal supporter of keeping the facility open. “This was a group effort and will be a relief for the people who rely on these family-wage jobs with good healthcare.”
Warner Creek Correctional Facility is a minimum-security facility located four miles northwest of Lakeview. WCCF opened in September 2005. It received the State Energy Efficiency Design award in May 2008 for its progress in design efficiency. The most energy efficient element at WCCF is the use of geothermal energy, providing 100 percent of the hot water to the facility.
The topics were permanent COVID-19 mask mandate and business restrictions
The Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Administration recently extended its COVID-19 rule permanently with no specified end date and no oversight from the elected officials they are accountable to.
OSHA chose to enact the permanent rule before a scheduled Legislative hearing to review their decision. The administrative body’s leaders declined to attend to answer questions about the new business restrictions.
In response to a letter from Senators and Representatives asking the agency to suspend adoption of the COVID-19 rule until legislative review, OSHA’s Director stated that they have broad authority to place these restrictions on Oregon businesses with no specified end date.
“This is the opposite direction of where we should be headed,” said House Republican Leader Christine Drazan (R-Canby). “In light of vaccines, improved PPE supply for hospitals and more, we should be giving businesses more breathing room. Instead, this administrative body has demonstrated that it does not believe it is accountable to the people of Oregon.”
Oregonians are concerned that the adoption of this flawed rule indefinitely will punish businesses without adequate scientific data to suggest that it has an impact on preventing COVID-19 transmissions. However, there is no opportunity for businesses and employees to have true input without oversight from their elected officials.
The following questions were left unanswered during the committee hearing because OSHA’s leaders did not appear before lawmakers:
How were these Permanent Rules developed?
Did the advisory committee which was involved consider the impact of vaccines in developing the Permanent Rules? If not, why not?
What current guidance, science and vaccination data did OR-OSHA take into account prior to adopting the Permanent Rules?
What is the reasoning behind OR-OSHA’s determination to keep these rules in place after the vaccine is widely available to all who wish to get it?
During the committee hearing, Representative Bill Post (R-Keizer) expressed his dissatisfaction at OSHA's lack of attendance.
Oregon is now on it’s 7th extension of Governor Brown’s Executive Order on the COVID-19 State of Emergency and the Governor is giving no indications of an end in sight. The 8th extension, if she does one, will take affect the end June aligning with the end of the Legislative session and would run 60 days through the end of the summer butting right up to the beginning of the 2021-22 school year.
School districts are already well into budget preparation for the 2021-22 school year. The Governor’s proposed budget is $9.1B, but in a Portland Tribune article last month Libra Forde, chair of the North Clackamas School Board and a member of the Oregon School Boards Association Board of Directors told reporters that “After a year of unfinished education and increased social emotional challenges, investing in our kids is paramount”. She was reacting to the legislature consideration of adopting the Governors recommendation which she and others consider $500M underfunded. They have concluded that “just to keep pace on paying the bills over the next two years our schools need $9.6 billion — not the $9.1 billion currently under consideration”.
However, what is being left unsaid, is that the Oregon State School Fund budget pales in comparison to the COVID-19 relief funding already received and on its way that is estimated at an additional $1.72 Billion.
Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund
(ESSER I) - $121.1 million awarded to Oregon
ESSER II - $499.1 million was awarded to Oregon in January 2021
ESSER III - $1.1 billion will be awarded to Oregon
In addition, not a single school district has stated publicly that they will return to 100% in person full time learning in the fall. After all, how could they make that pledge not knowing what the Governor, the Oregon Department of Education or the Oregon Health Authority will have in place for rules in September?
This week, a bicameral group of legislators is seeking to give those school districts the certainty they need to know that they will be opening in the fall to all students for in person learning and that they need to plan their budgets accordingly. Representative Breese-Iverson (R–Prineville), Boshart Davis (R–Albany), Drazen (R–Canby) and Senator Girod (R–Lyons) introduced HB 3399 which requires each public school to provide full-time, in-person classroom instruction during 2021-2022 school year, and takes effective July 1, 2021. The bill is simple, it says: Not withstanding any COVID-19 declaration of emergency or any provisions of a COVID-19 emergency rule, each public school in this state must provide full-time, in-person classroom instruction during the 2021-2022 school year.
Takes away the power of Governor Brown’s State of Emergency or continued extensions over K-12 education “COVID-19 declaration of emergency means any declaration of a state of emergency related to the COVID-19 pandemic that is issued by the Governor, and any extensions of any declarations”.
Takes away the power of the Oregon Department of Education Director, Colt Gill and the Oregon Health Authority Director, Pat Allen, to issue emergency rules or guidance requirements. “COVID-19 emergency rule means an executive order, order of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, declaration, directive or other local, state or federal authorization, policy, statement, guidance, rule or regulation that creates a standard or waives, suspends or modifies otherwise applicable local, state or federal law, regulations or standards regarding the rendering of education services during a COVID-19 declaration of emergency”.
Defines what Full-time means, “at a minimum, the number of instructional hours prescribed by the State Board of Education by rule, as in effect on January 1, 2020”.
Defines what in-person classroom instruction means, “classroom instruction that is provided by a teacher to students in a common physical location”.
Defines School year as “the period beginning July 1 and ending June 30 next following, exclusive of any summer learning programs provided by a public school”.
There are already non-discrimination laws in place
In a competitive housing market, many buyers look for ways to stand out from other prospective buyers. Sometimes that means a buyer making a cash offer or offering above asking price. In an Oregon Live article last month, one Portland midcentury modern home for sale had 77 requests for showing the first day it was listed and is now receiving offers $150,000 over asking price.
Another common practice is for a buyer is to write a “love letter” to the seller telling them why they want the house. They tell the buyer such things as how the house is in the school district they want their children to attend, or its within walking distance of the church that they attend. With rock-bottom supply of homes for sale, tugging at the heartstrings of sellers often adds that edge for the buyer.
That buyer’s edge, however, may soon be a thing of the past. HB 2550 introduced by Rep. Meek (D–Gladstone) makes real estate “love letter” illegal. “Buyers making decisions as to who they want to live in their neighborhoods perpetuates racism”. Sen. Meek told the committee. He also noted that 60% of Caucasians are homeowners while only 38% of African Americans are homeowners.
The Oregon Food Bank also weighed in on the bill. In written testimony they stated that “Studies have repeatedly shown a strong relationship between owning a home and a lower likelihood of experiencing hunger. The data is clear that homeownership and affordable mortgages allow community members to build assets and manage more predictable housing costs over time, which is especially key for Black and Brown Oregonians who have long faced discriminatory housing policies that make homeownership more difficult and inaccessible.
Senator Andreson (D–Lincoln City) brought up during testimony that there are already non-discrimination laws in place and questioned if this bill is redundant. Indeed, the Federal Fair Housing Act (1968) prohibits discrimination in the sale, rental, and financing of dwellings, and in other housing-related transactions, based on a person’s race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, or physical or mental disability. Rep. Meek explained to the committee that there are Federal Fair Housing laws in place but there are really no consequences to them.
However, HB 2550 does not have any penalties or consequences either. It simply reiterates the Federal Fair Housing Act.
(7) Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter, a seller’s agent shall redact or withhold any communication other than customary documents in a real estate transaction, including photographs, provided by a buyer as necessary to help the seller avoid selecting a buyer based on the buyer’s race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, marital status, or familial status as prohibited by the Fair Housing Act (42 U.S.C. 3601 et seq.).
The Oregon Realtors Association registered as neutral on the bill. It has passed the House and has had a public hearing in the Senate Housing and Development Committee.
The Governor thanked Judge Fun for his dedicated judicial service, and announced that she will fill the position by appointment. Judge Fun’s retirement takes effect September 30, 2021.
Interested applicants should mail (no hand delivery) their completed application forms to:
General Counsel, Office of the Governor
900 Court Street NE #254
Forms must be received by 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday, May 26, 2021. Forms emailed by 5:00 p.m. on the closing date will be considered timely so long as original signed forms postmarked by the closing date are later received.
Governor Brown fills the state's judicial vacancies. She encourages applications from lawyers with a wide variety of backgrounds and experiences.
ORS 3.041 and 3.050 provide that at the time of appointment to the court, the candidate must be a citizen of the United States, a resident of Oregon, and a member of the Oregon State Bar.
SB 977, recently passed by the Legislature, creates a new requirement. It amends ORS 3.041 and requires that these vacancies must be filled by persons who are residents of or have principal offices in the judicial districts to which they are appointed or adjacent judicial districts.
To receive answers to questions about the appointment process, or to request an interest form, contact Shevaun Gutridge at 503-378-6246 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The judicial interest form is also available online.
Prior to the beginning of each odd-numbered year regular session of the Legislative Assembly, the Legislative Fiscal Office is required to conduct a study that reports the preceding two year’s administrative costs and the transfer rate of the Oregon State Lottery, in order to determine if additional funds may be made available for public purposes. Lottery’s administrative costs as a percentage of revenues for fiscal years 2019 and 2020 were 3.1% and 3.4%, respectively, and actual public purpose transfers averaged 5.9% of direct revenues in the prior two years.
Lottery revenues are generated through traditional, sports betting, and video lottery games. Initially, lottery revenues were dedicated to the creation of jobs and economic development. However, voters have approved subsequent ballot measures adding public education, restoration and protection of Oregon’s parks, beaches, watersheds, and native fish and wildlife, veterans, and outdoor school as additional required or authorized uses of lottery revenues.
The Oregon Constitution includes the following dedicated transfers:
Education Stability Fund (18%)
Parks and Natural Resources Fund (15%)
Veterans’ Services Fund (1.5%)
Oregon statute establishes the following six dedications of net lottery proceeds:
outdoor school education programs (4%, up to a maximum of $5.5 million per quarter
adjusted for inflation),
county economic development programs (2.5% of net video lottery receipts),
gambling addiction treatment programs (1%),
public university sports programs and academic scholarships (1%),
county fair programs (1%, up to a maximum of $1.53 million annually adjusted for
match for qualifying employer lump-sum payments to the Public Employees Retirement System Employer Incentive Fund (net proceeds of sports betting games).
Nearly all of these funds are "fungible" which means that they can be replaced by another funding source. So, when lottery funds go to the Education Stability Fund, for instance, every dollar that's allocated there can be one dollar of general fund money that doesn't have to be allocated and is freed up to be spent elsewhere.