In Oregon, those in charge of education are fighting racism.
They've pinpointed something radically racist: education.
On Monday, the Oregon Department of Education (ODE) state board hosted a virtual meeting to improve conditions.
The crew made a startling announcement.
As it turns out, iniquity lies at the root of standardized testing.
From Fox News:
[The group] declared standardized testing is rooted in white supremacy and has been “weaponized” against students of color.
It's an interesting idea: A bunch of administrators aimed at fighting white supremacy appear to suggest that nonwhites can't pass tests — which is not at all white supremacist.
The meeting — titled “Work Group on Equitable and Racially Responsive Balanced Assessment” — was headed by ODE Director of Assessment Dan Farley.
“The history of standardized testing is founded in white supremacy, a history that has caused harm to students historically and currently underserved by our educational system.”
That sort of testing, he claimed, originates from “eugenicist sources.”
What, then, should be done?
There must be a solution, but pale people ought not provide it:
“We need standardization in order for test results to be comparable, but I do think it's a question that's worthy of interrogation. It's not a question that I, as a white male, should come out and answer, whether I have an opinion on it or not.”
Dan suspects tests can't be completely canceled, but he hopes they might be utilized as “antiracist levers.”
Per CNN, antiracism includes the erasure of racist things such as colorblindness.
So optimistically, the system responsible for racist education can fight racist education by applying the antiracism of judging people by the color of their skin.
Or something like that.
And in the process, he suggested, those “whom state assessment results have been weaponized against” can help develop the new and necessary policies.
“[Ibram] reminds us that ‘anti-racist actions must remove racist policies.' So the policies must first be identified, either because they contain racist content or they contribute to racist outcomes.”
Evidently, evil policies are being practiced:
“We're working to identify racist policies and practices that we can influence so we can disrupt them.”
If there are prejudicial policies anywhere in America, why aren't they spotlighted for all to see, rather than merely referenced in vague terms? For all the talk of systemic racism, there appears no instance of any leaders or institutions exposing explicit mechanisms.
Hence, our transformation lingers.
Amid the suspension, Dan torpedoed tests:
“[Standardized testing] was both founded in and used as a weapon for purveyors of white supremacy.”
Oregon's “standards, curriculum, instruction and assessment,” he lamented, “have centered in whiteness contributing to the racist education outcomes that we are familiar with.”
Can we ever conquer America's chalky scourge?
It's going to be tough.
After all, the Smithsonian has corralled components of Caucasianness. It's quite the collection:
Believing Hard Work is the Key to Success
Planning for Future
And at the University of Colorado-Boulder last September, a teachers conference gonged the whiteness of getting things done.
Resist colonial and neoliberal coercion around time and productivity
Consider flexible deadlines; giving multiple choices for due dates (for instance, over a week)
Consider suspending penalties for late work — prioritize full engagement rather than timeliness
Help students become conscious of the colonial morality around the use of time (worth=productivity)
Might Oregon put an end to productiveness, therefore sabotaging white supremacy?
That remains to be seen.
But attacking standardized testing may be a good start.
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