The Oregon Association of Scholars (OAS) has just submitted an excellent public comment to the Oregon Senate Committee on Education, opposing a bill that will impose a politicized, grievance-studies history curriculum on Oregon public school students, in the guise of teaching them about genocide. As the OAS puts it in their executive summary,
- SB 664 will result not in education but propaganda, imposing a narrow partisan view on history leading directly to ideological browbeating and indoctrination of students.
- SB 664 links genocide to situations in which a group suffers real, trivial, or even imagined harm, grossly distorting history and trivializing genocide and the Holocaust.
- SB 664’s language suggests that the goal is to conflate genocide with other forms of prejudice in ways that are historically inaccurate so as to politicize the curriculum.
- SB 664 is counterproductive, there being evidence that the perverse results of such programs divide rather than unite, making stereotyping and discrimination more likely.
- SB 664 is an irresponsible attempt to reduce Oregon’s complex history to “genocide,” a serious disservice that the legislature needs to thwart rather than impose.
- SB 664 requires one-sided social activism by students.
- SB 664 exhibits profound political bias and attempts to repress diverse viewpoints. Passage will increase student flight from the public system.
Unfortunately, Oregon isn’t the only state where political activists are smuggling in grievance-studies propaganda in the guise of genocide education. The OAS notes that “Between 1989 and 2018, 10 states adopted such mandates while a further 19 have pledged to do so.” It is likely that the tactic used in Oregon will soon be used in all fifty states.
The NAS commends the OAS for its fine public comment. We also encourage readers in other states to keep an eye out for similar bills. When they get introduced, tell us--and you’ll do good work if you submit a similar comment of your own.