Public Education
General Knowledge

July 22, 2024


Education Trolls and How To Combat Their Misinformation

A recent letter to the editor in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette (11/10/2023) expressed outrage and misinformation concerning the following:

Oregon’s Senate Bill 744 (The writer says that Oregon Bill 744 permits students to graduate without learning to read, write, or do basic math.)

the US “woke educational system” (He says that it discourages children from learning and teaches them to expect to be supported by the government.)

the community service graduation requirement (He says that community service is the equivalent of slave labor.)

The letter-writer concludes by recommending that parents remove their children from “the indoctrinating system” that is US public education.

Not just in Arkansas

Perhaps the Arkansas writer took his cue from an op-ed in The Hill (11/02/2023) that misrepresents Bill 744 in the same way. First comes the sensational headline:

Oregon just dropped all graduation standards, failing all of its students in the name of ‘equity’

Then comes the false accusation:

In public education’s latest blunder, the Oregon Department of Education has just decided that basic reading, writing and math skills are not required for students to graduate with a high school diploma.

No, Oregon did not “drop all graduation standards.” It still requires 24 credits for graduation, including 4 English credits and 3 math credits. What has been “dropped” is a standardized assessment test that the Department of Education wants to evaluate in the context of different student demographics.

Beware of half-truths

The outraged articles and op-eds about Oregon’s Senate Bill 744 are a good example of the way the action of a school or board of education can be spun into an attack on the public school system.

Don’t be deceived.

If the article makes you angry, there’s a good chance it is distorting the facts. If it is on a topic that concerns you deeply, do the work of checking it out. Don’t enable the trolls by sharing it or adding your outrage in the comments.

Here are links to the facts about Oregon Senate Bill 744:

Text of the bill

Oregon Essential Learning Skills Assessment (currently suspended)

Snopes analysis