Oregon released its report card on the state of public education across the state, and true to form, the more affluent the area, the better the schools did.
Conversely, the poorer areas in the state were below average. In Central Oregon, that meant schools in Madras, which has a large Hispanic population, and Warm Springs, which is an Indian reservation, failed to make the grade.
I think what results like this show is that schools reflect their communities.
Why is it always the school's fault if the community is faltering?
Because they have union teachers and, well, we all know what that means.
Actually, it means nothing.
Communities that have many low-income, single-parent households will always struggle in a variety of ways, including at their public schools.
Before education reform in Oregon got hot and heavy about 15 years ago, this state always ranked No. 1 in the country for highest average SAT score. After the legislature eliminated tenure and tiered the retirement system for new teachers, Oregon hasn't been No. 1 on the SAT, but rather No. 2 behind Washington state, or No. 3 behind Vermont.
There probably isn't any correlation between the two, but public schools in Oregon aren't failing their students or their communities.
In fact, it is communities that are failing their public schools.
During this Great Recession, as instructional days get cut, as teachers get laid off and as programs get slashed, it is amazing how well the schools are doing.
Also, enrollments at University of Oregon, Oregon State and at community colleges are at record highs. Yes, higher ed is a safe haven when there are no jobs around, but still this is a positive sign for education in the state.
The hand-wringers and union-bashers, though, will find a way to read something negative into a positive report on education in Oregon.
I'd say if you can't lend a hand, then get out of the way.