People once aspired to live in Coronado because of our quality schools. The schools behind that aspiration are now slipping away. Wonder where California public education is headed? Look north for a preview of coming attractions. On July 14, Oregon Governor Kate Brown signed Senate Bill 744 eliminating all requirements to demonstrate minimal proficiency in reading, writing, and mathematics to graduate high school. Governor Brown signed quietly, without fanfare. It wasn’t made public in Oregon’s legislative database until July 29. Normal practice is to update that database the day a bill is signed.

Why stealthily scrap proficiency standards? It is a response to calls for “equitable graduation standards.” Equity is not the purpose of public education. Equity and excellence are mutually exclusive objectives.

In the cultural moment Coronado faces, advocates are pressing identity politics and the educational equity agenda with self-righteous zeal. What will happen if equity becomes the guiding principle in public education? To answer, consider an adaptive paraphrase of Winston Churchill’s analysis of socialism, “The inherent vice of educational excellence is the unequal sharing of success. The inherent virtue of educational equity is the equal sharing of failure.”

“Proficiency standards? Who needs ‘em! Standards are inequitable! Come, let us fail together!”

I implore citizens to educate themselves about equity and identity programs now being foisted upon Coronado’s schoolchildren; then show up at School Board meetings and make your voices heard. Let excellence once again become Coronado’s educational Northstar.

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