In America there are states that are infamous for their political leanings. For example, California is afflicted with Hollywood, therefore California is famously progressive. Texas is the home of some very conservative folks who love their 2nd amendment, as they should, and so they are famously conservative.
However, there are some states that never get their due. Take Oregon. No, someone please take it! Of course I kid; Oregon is a great example of a state that I think a lot of people might say, “Oh, yes, Oregon is filled with tree huggers,” but they really do not grasp the special level of stupid that happens here.
Oregon has had the same governor for 12 years. How is that possible, you ask? Well, he had 8 years in office, his “mini-me” (Kulongoski) became his place-holder for an additional 8 years and then the first guy came back and is wrapping up his 3rd four year term. Just like a bad rash that will not leave, he continues to pop up and shows no sign of leaving.
Governor John Kitzhaber is one of the most progressive governors, in my opinion. He spearheaded the political movement to change the Oregon Constitution that made him the State Superintendent of schools. He has a talking head, Rob Saxton, but Saxton is just reiterating whatever Kitzhaber wants him to say. Saxton has one of many political positions that is not elected by the people but appointed by the governor.
Saxon created the Oregon Education Investment Board (OEIB). Boiled down to the lowest common denominator, the OEIB is a group of big business elites, a few teacher’s union folks and some officials from the Oregon Department of Education–and they direct policy. Essentially, Nike and Intel have a huge say in what happens in Oregon education. Why? Money. They have it, Kitzhaber wants it. Plus they finance his campaigns to run for governor.
Yet he continues to get voted for by the progressive counties, which happen to be the largest counties in Oregon.
I’m giving you all of this backstory just to tell you that Kitzhaber is kind of like a king in Oregon. And as king, he is never questioned and he has apparently forgotten that he is supposed to a public servant of the people of Oregon.
Kitzhaber’s Department of Education rides roughshod over districts and parents and he holds “public” meetings with such short notice that the public doesn’t get the chance to come and express our concern for the policies they are implementing.
For example, on May 29th there was a meeting, open to the public yet never actually advertised to the public, to revise an OAR, or Oregon Administrative Rule. OARs are a way for the State Board of Education (unelected by the people, appointed by Kitzhaber) to make a “law” without ever having to go to the trouble and hassle of making a law. (Read that last sentence with a touch of sarcasm, please.)
The primary reason for this particular OAR “is to formally integrate the Smarter Balanced assessments in mathematics and ELA, as well as the Kindergarten Assessment, as part of the Oregon Statewide Assessments, the administration of which is governed by OAR 581-022-0610.”