Archives for category: Oregon

Portland, Oregon, is the scene of the most frightening series of events in the nation today. Governors may call upon the National Guard. The President, under extraordinary circumstances, may send in troops to enforce the law, as when President Eisenhower sent troops to Little Rock to enforce a decision of the U.S. Supreme Court.

The armed personnel in Portland were not called in by the governor. They are not there to enforce the law or a court decision. They are there to harass and bully American citizens who are exercising their Constitutional right to assemble peaceably. They are there by order of Trump and Barr to help raise the “law and order” issue for the fall election. Trump has announced that he intends to send his personal federal police force into other cities, to “pacify” them.

We cannot normalize what is happening. It is highly irregular and probably illegal. It is wrong. Trump will stop at nothing to improve his poll numbers. He has no regard for law or the Constitution. He is ignorant of both. We are moving in uncharted waters. Step by step, we are sinking into authoritarianism, fascism.

Dana Milbank wrote today in the Washington Post:

In Portland, Ore., federal police use batons, tear gas and rubber bullets on moms in bicycle helmets.

Unidentified federal officers, defying duly elected state and city leaders, throw civil rights demonstrators into unmarked vans without charges. President Trump’s acting homeland security secretary, Chad Wolf, says his agents “go out and proactively arrest individuals.”

That’s so much easier than waiting for people to do something illegal before you lock them up!

The administration justifies the extraordinary disregard of constitutional protections by calling the demonstrators “violent anarchists” who have made “efforts to start fires at the Hatfield Federal Courthouse.” Trump says that the demonstrators “hate our country” and that “we must protect Federal property.”

Anarchists in Oregon who hate their country are trying to set fires and destroy federal property? Hmmm.

Steven and Dwight Hammond, also from Oregon, were convicted of arson for a fire that burned 139 acres of federal property in the state. A witness testified that Steven Hammond handed out matches with instructions to “light up the whole country” after his hunting party illegally slaughtered animals on federal land. Their imprisonment sparked an armed takeover of federal property in Oregon for 41 days in 2016 by dozens of militia-affiliated gunmen.

And what did Trump think of these arsonists who destroyed federal property and wanted to burn down America? Why, he pardoned them in 2018, calling them “devoted family men” and “respected contributors to their local community” for whom “justice is overdue.”

We have seen this pattern over and over.

In Washington’s Lafayette Square, across the street from the White House, federal police operating under the administration’s command fired gas and projectiles at peaceful demonstrators to clear the way for a presidential photo op outside a church. But when armed militants poured into the state Capitol in Michigan, brandishing their weapons in the legislative chamber to intimidate lawmakers (some of whom felt the need to don bulletproof vests) over public health restrictions, Trump declared that the gunman were “very good people” and that the state’s Democratic governor should “make a deal” with them.

Now Trump is decrying a supposed absence of law and order in Chicago and other cities run by Democrats (“worse than Afghanistan,” he said) and is threatening to overpower those cities, too, with armed federal agents. But when a Missouri couple came out of their home shouting at nonviolent racial justice demonstrators, pointing a pistol and brandishing a rifle at them, Trump called it “a disgrace” that they might face charges. Never mind that it’s a felony in Missouri to exhibit “any weapon readily capable of lethal use in an angry or threatening manner.”

In Trump’s America, it seems, the First Amendment applies only to those exercising the Second Amendment. Unarmed demonstrators pose a threat to “law and order.” But if you’re carrying a gun, you should feel free to threaten your elected representatives, menace civil rights demonstrators or do what you like to federal property.
Trump’s pretext for overriding state and local leaders with federal firepower is the racial justice demonstrators’ supposed violence. Though the majority of protesters have been peaceful, a few are indeed violent — you can view them on Fox News — and they deserve condemnation. But Trump is fomenting violence in the service of fueling a culture war he hopes will salvage his reelection. “It’s a choice between the law and order and patriotism and prosperity, safety offered by our movement, and the anarchy and chaos and crime,” he declared at a telerally this past week.

Or so he would like it to be.

Oregon’s Gov. Kate Brown, a Democrat, said Trump’s “dictatorship”-style use of “secret police” was “adding gasoline to a fire” that had been dying. “The situation had been improving over the past several weeks,” she told NPR, and “their presence here substantially escalated the situation.”

But escalation is clearly Trump’s aim when he threatens to send federal police into more American cities. He needs to frighten Americans into embracing federal police taking up arms against American citizens — and Americans taking up arms against each other.

On Tuesday, for example, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany described Mark and Patricia McCloskey, the Missouri couple who threatened demonstrators with guns, as being menaced by “violent” protesters who “trespassed,” threatened to kill them and “burn down the house,” but not before moving into the house and “taking a shower.” Video of the affair shows peaceful marchers on the sidewalk, walking past the agitated and gun-toting McCloskeys, on their way to demonstrate outside the mayor’s nearby house.

“The prosecutor apparently thinks her job isn’t to keep us safe from criminals, but to keep the criminals safe from us,” Mark McCloskey told Fox News on Monday.

What a perfect distillation of Trumpian justice! Nonviolent civil rights demonstrators are the “criminals” — and the people who threaten them with guns are the victims.

Andrew (Andy) Saultz is running for the Oregon State Legislature in District 33 (Northwest Portland).

I am pleased to endorse his candidacy.

The legislature will be fortunate to have Andy Saultz, an experienced and knowledgeable educator, among its members.

Education is the most important of every state’s responsibilities. Nothing matters more than making sure that the children and young people of every state are prepared to take their place as responsible and thoughtful citizens.

Andy has been a teacher and a scholar of education.

I asked Andy to spell out his vision for education and he sent this statement:


My views

Education is a right for every child regardless of race, gender, class, ability, sexual orientation, or religion.

Education is fundamental in a democracy.

That workers should have the freedom to collective bargain, to form unions, to have safe workplaces, and to have sustainable working conditions.

Our schools should be racially and socio-economically integrated. Segregated communities led to segregated schools, which is bad for kids and for society. Richard Rothstein’s work has shaped my understanding of the relationship between housing and educational policy.

Our school system was established to socially reproduce society. Jean Anyon and others have shaped my views on the hidden curriculum and how different social classes are treated in our schools.

We have to actively work against racism, classism, xenophobia and white supremacy in our schools and social structures.

All children deserve access to the arts, PE, recess, social studies, and science.


What I believe

I believe in public education. That education is a public good. That a diverse, liberal arts education creates well rounded citizens.

I believe that we know what ‘works’ in education. We need high quality teachers, with manageable class sizes, schedules, and pay.

I believe we need a system that trusts teachers and listen to them.

I believe we need to elect people with classroom experience.

I believe teaching is really challenging, and cannot be taught in a six week course.

I believe in community centered schools that engage families and center the lives of students.

I believe in John Dewey’s approach that centers students.

I believe in union workers. I oppose the privatization of bus drivers, custodians, food workers, or any other workers. I am proud to have voted against privatization as a school board member.

I believe that all workers deserve quality health benefits and a retirement system that rewards public service.


What I hope to accomplish

Increase the number and percentage of teachers of color

Increase the number and percentage of principals of color

Improve special education funding and the SPED system overall.

Better serve the ELL community

Improve teacher pay

Transform teacher professional development to give teachers autonomy over what they need

Lengthen the school year (Oregon currently has the shortest school year in the country). This negatively impacts students in poverty.

Expand before and after school options, particularly in communities of color and low income neighborhoods

Expand computer science in k-12 schools. These courses are disproportionately offered in high income, white neighborhoods.

Invest in public higher education to combat the student debt crisis.

Increase the number of mental health professionals in schools.

Reform our state revenue system to increase revenue through a more progressive taxation system.


His vision is just right for the young people of Oregon.

I am happy to endorse his candidacy and wish him the best of luck.


Mercedes Schneider discovered that Oregon-based Stand for Children is pouring money into school board races in Louisiana. Why should an Oregon organization try to choose school board elections in another state? That’s the way the Disruption Movement works. The funding comes from the usual sources, none of which is based in Louisiana.

She writes:

Since 2012, hundreds of thousands of dollars has flowed into Louisiana elections from this Portland, Oregon, ed-reform organization, and when I examined the campaign finance filings for these three PACs, I discovered only two Louisiana contributors to one of the PACs, the Stand for Children LA PAC…

SFC is anti-union, pro-Common Core, pro-school choice—usual corporate-ed-reform fare. As for some of its major money: Since 2010, the Walton Family Foundation has funded SFC (via the SFC Leadership Center$4.1M, with $400,000 specifically earmarked for Louisiana.

Then, there’s the Gates funding…

It all sounds so locally-driven, so grass-rootsy.

It’s probably best to not mention that SFC in Oregon finances the show.



Corporate Reformers in Oregon joined with their allies in the business community to kill a bill (HB 2318) called “Too Young to Test,.” Modeled on laws in New York and New Jersey, the bill would have prohibited mandatory standardized testing from pre-k through grade twoMost of the testimony favored the bill.

The purpose of HB 2318:

Prohibits State Board of Education from requiring, and school districts from administering, certain assessments to students enrolled or preparing to enroll in prekindergarten through grade two. Makes exception for assessments administered for diagnostic purposes as required under state or federal law.

The Corporate Reformers and the business community killed it. 

No one, the Corporate Reformers insist, is ever too young to test.

They also focused on killing a bill to strengthen Oregon’s opt-out law.Then they killed a bill to strengthen Oregon’s opt out law. (SB 433). Here is their letter of opposition to SB433.

They claim they need the test scores so they can effectively advocate to meet student needs. No one should be allowed to opt out of testing, no matter how young.

Apparently they don’t know that standardized testing is highly correlated with family income and family education. They should read Daniel Koretz’s The Testing Charade: Pretending to Make Schools Better.

Stand for Children was part of the pro-testing lobby. SFC is heavily funded by the Gates Foundation and other pro-testing, pro-privatization foundations. Stand for Children advocates for high-stakes testing, charter schools, and test-based evaluation of teachers. Dana Hepper of “The Children’s Institute” also lobbied against these bills and in support of standardized testing of kindergartners; she previously worked for Stand for Children. In addition to endorsing the joint statements, here is her testimony supporting mandated standardized tests for children of all ages and opposing opt out.

They say they need the scores so they know what children need.


Teachers in Oregon are on strike to advocate for smaller classes, nurses, mental health counselors, librarians, and social workers.

Where are the corporate reformers?

Fighting for more standardized testing, even for kindergartners! Fighting parents’ right to opt their children out of standardized testing!

Are they joining the teachers to demand more investment in schools? No.

Are they on the picket lines demanding smaller classes? No.

Are they lobbying for increased funding for nurses, social workers, librarians, and mental health counselors? No.



Thousands of teachers in Oregon joined the Red4Ed Movement, walking out to protest overcrowded classes and a lack of support staff, including school nurses and mental health counselors. 

Nearly 45% of all reported classes in Oregon have 26 students or more,” said John Larson, a high school English teacher and president of the Oregon Education Association.
Some classes have 56 or more students, he said.
So instead of going to class, many teachers were taking unpaid days off work to flood at least six protest sites across the state.
The mass exodus of teachers has already forced 25 school districts to close 600 schools Wednesday, Larson said.
The biggest district to close, Portland Public Schools, has more than 46,000 students.
“This is historic,” Larson told a sea of red-shirted teachers, parents and students at a riverfront rally in downtown Portland. “This is what we came here for today — is to make sure that we fund our schools.”
It’s not just funding for smaller class sizes. Union members also want:
— More school counselors. Oregon has half the school counselors that national experts suggest. And the shortage of mental health counselors is a big concern across the country — especially after all the recent school shootings.
— More school librarians. Currently, there are only 158 school librarians in Oregon — less than one librarian per district.
— More school nurses. There’s only one nurse for every 5,481 students. That’s four times less than national recommendations, the OEA said.
— A restoration of art, music and physical education programs that have been cut by budget constraints.
— More funding for school supplies. The OEA said 94% of teachers spend their own money on classroom supplies “to make up the difference between what their students need and what districts can provide.”
— The passage of state House Bill 3427, dubbed the “Student Success Act.” The bill would increase funding for K-12 education by 18%.

The Southern Poverty Law Center is one of our nation’s most valuable organizations defending our Constitution and democratic values against extremists.

Their report today says that extremist groups are holding a hate rally in Portland, Oregon, today. There are many links, which I am not including because I would have to do each one manually. If you sign up to get their newsletter, you can get the full report with links. What SPLC describes is an example of the way the far-right is “weaponizing the First Amendment,” using it as a shield to defend hatred, racism, and incitement’s to violence. What or who incited these groups?

SPLC writes:

AUGUST 4, 2018
Weekend Read // Issue 91

The threat of violence hangs over a rally that’s being staged by far-right groups in Portland, Oregon, today, nearly a year after the deadly white supremacist gathering in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Patriot Prayer and the Proud Boys have held more than a dozen rallies throughout the Pacific Northwest over the past year, events marked by street violence and harassment and buoyed by a wide array of racist and antigovernment extremist allies.

David Neiwert, who frequently writes for our Hatewatch blog, has been covering the rallies from the beginning. In a piece for The Baffler, he describes the last violent rally they held in Portland on June 30th:

The Proud Boys and Patriots were primed for battle. Indeed, the whole point of the event was to try to provoke a fight that they were not simply prepared for, but were keen to take part in. Prior to the onset of street hostilities, the alt-right crowd bristled with warlike talk about martyrdom as the price of freedom and “taking down” the antifascists across the street. Periodically they’d break into chants of Queen’s mock-authoritarian seventies anthem “We Will Rock You,” which they dedicated to British Identitarian Tommy Robinson.

As I watched the last of the Proud Boys—waiting for the final school bus that had brought them to the rally to arrive so they could leave, clustered on a street corner and haranguing the counter-protesters across the way—I mused about how conservatives’ sudden concern to safeguard civility in American discourse is a crude, cynical manipulation. Its operational logic is very similar to the Proud Boys’ insistence on claiming that their protests are about nothing more than the assertion and protection of free-speech rights.

That, after all, has been what Gibson’s Patriot Prayer events have been ostensibly about since they were launched in Portland last year. Gibson and his comrades claim that they’re standing up for “conservative speech,” which has always translated into a lot of immigrant-bashing, Islamophobia, “constitutionalist” gun nuttery straight from the Bundy Bunch, and a heavy dose of Deep State/globalist conspiracy theorizing. Unsurprisingly, the gatherings attracted more than their share of extreme rightists, including a broad array of skinheads and white nationalists; last year one of the more unhinged such fellow travelers showed up to one of the earliest Patriot Prayer events draped in a flag, and then began shouting that he was a Nazi and using racial epithets. Organizers kicked him out.

His name was Jeremy Christian. One month later, in May 2017, while riding a Portland MAX commuter train, he began harassing two Arab teenage women, one of whom was wearing a hijab, using ethnic slurs against Muslims. Three men riding the train tried to intervene; Christian pulled out a knife and stabbed them, two of them fatally. At his arraignment, he was still protesting Joey Gibson style: “Free speech or die, Portland! You got no safe place. This is America—get out if you don’t like free speech!”

Patriot Prayer had a previously scheduled rally just over a week after the murders. Civic leaders urged the group to cancel the event amid burgeoning anger in the community, but Gibson and his cohorts held it anyway. It turned into a gigantic melee, with the Patriot crowd heavily outnumbered, and a number of assaults and arrests on both sides. It was some of the worst crowd violence Portland had seen in decades.

Since then, Gibson has organized an ongoing series of “free speech” and “freedom” rallies along the West Coast and elsewhere—in Seattle, San Francisco, San Diego, and Olympia and Vancouver, Washington. He’s denounced white supremacists after Charlottesville, but also openly embraced the Proud Boys, the group founded by the white identitarian hipster journalist Gavin McInnes, who’s long been a presence at Gibson’s rallies. The June 30 event was originally intended to commemorate the post-murder event, but it took on a life of its own after an early June rally in downtown Portland also dissolved into violence.

Gibson made a pitch for help from supporters across the nation, and the Proud Boys gladly obliged, putting out the word on their regional social media sites. As a result, a considerable number among the Patriots were wearing black polos and red MAGA ballcaps, and they came from all over the country, especially California.

Listening to them bait the counter-protesters with ugly speech, and talk among themselves about fighting tactics, it was clear the “free speech” they wanted to defend was bigoted and threatening. The lofty constitutional principles were little more than a pretext: they were there mostly to bash some “leftist” heads.

Patriot Prayer and the Proud Boys were emboldened by the fighting at that June 30 event. Organizers have discussed coming to the rally armed; open carry is legal in Oregon. We will be monitoring the event closely and reporting live on Hatewatch and Twitter.

The Editors

Betsy DeVos is visiting McMinnville High zschool in Oregon today. The parents are not happy about it. They love their public school. They are afraid that Betsy doesn’t. They are right. Betsy thinks their kids should go to charters or religious schools, even lousy virtual charters. Even if only a small percentage should leave, their high school will have to lay off teachers, close down programs, cut the arts.

Bad deal.

She should listen to the parents.

Education Week reports that Oregon is dropping the Smarter Balanced Assessment for high school students and will use the SAT instead. Oregon will continue to use SBAC for testing 3-8 and 11.

The SAT is a college admissions test, and it is wildly inappropriate to use it as an accountability test. It is a test of reading, mathematics, and writing. It does not test the curriculum that students have studied. It is norm-referenced and preordained that many children will fail, who will be mostly students who are poor, students with disabilities, and students whose English skills are weak.

As even the College Board knows, the SAT reflects family income.

The cardinal rule of psychometric is that a test should be used only for the purpose for which it was designed. The SAT was designed as a college admissions test. It comes close to being an IQ test, which are its roots in the history of testing. It was not designed as a test for all high school students, either for accountability or for graduation.

Oregon is making another costly mistake. This one will hurt the most vulnerable students.

Portland parents, if you want to learn more about the person who is going to be your next school superintendent, please contact Ed Johnson, a watchdog over the Atlanta Public Schools.

Edward Johnson:

In a hotly contested race, a former principal of a KIPP charter school is running for a seat on the Portland, Oregon, school board. The website of the candidate, Jamila Singleton Munson, does not mention her role in the KIPP corporate chain or the fact that she was chief of staff for Teach for America. Apparently she is still employed by TFA. TFA has a branch–Leaders for Educational Equity–that encourages and funds its personnel to run for office, as part of its plan to dominate state and local school boards.

Munson’s resume demonstrates she’s part of the country’s education-reform movement that generally supports school choice and charter schools as well as the use of test scores to measure acceptability for schools. Teachers unions generally oppose those approaches.

Steve Buel dropped out of the race. Rita Moore is the pro-public school candidate.

Will Portland elect a public school advocate or an advocate for privatization of its public schools?