East Oregonian : E.O. (Pendleton, OR) 1888-current, March 29, 2017, Page Page 4A, Image 4

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    Page 4A
East Oregonian
Wednesday, March 29, 2017
Founded October 16, 1875
Managing Editor
Opinion Page Editor
Regional Advertising Director
Circulation Manager
Business Office Manager
Production Manager
Reworking state’s
education goals
The (Albany) Democrat-Herald,
ack in 2011, the Legislature rolled
out an ambitious set of goals for
the state’s educational system.
By 2025, legislators declared, every
adult Oregonian would have a high
school diploma. Some 40 percent
of adult Oregonians would have an
associate degree or some sort of post-
secondary credential. The remaining
40 percent of adult Oregonians,
legislators decreed, would have earned
a bachelor’s degree or higher.
This so-called 40-40-20 goal (in
retrospect, a better nickname would
have been 40-80-100, but we quibble)
was widely seen as aspirational.
Realistically, everyone knew that
these were goals that never would be
completely met. And, more to the point,
it was unlikely that Oregon would
ever have the kind of money available
to reach the goal. (In fact, this still
seems unlikely, as legislators battle
with a $1.6 billion shortfall for the next
two-year budget cycle.)
So this year’s session of the
Legislature is considering a bill, House
Bill 2587, that would make a small but
key change to the 40-40-20 goal. Under
the terms of the bill, which is backed by
the state’s teachers union, the language
of the goal would be changed: The
state’s education goals now would read
that 40 percent of Oregon adults will
be “given the opportunity” to earn a
bachelor’s degree or higher. Another
40 percent of Oregon adults would
be “given the opportunity” to earn an
associate degree or a post-secondary
credential.” The remaining Oregon
adults would have “the opportunity to
earn a high school diploma, a modified
diploma or extended diploma or any
other credential equivalent to a high
school diploma.”
We are sympathetic to those who
argue that the 40-40-20 goals can never
be reached. They’re right, of course:
For example, we never will be at the
point at which every Oregon adult has
a high school diploma or its equivalent.
(The most recent statistics, for the
class of 2015, show that 78 percent of
Oregon high school students earned a
diploma within five years after starting
Similarly, the two 40 percent goals
for higher education are, to put it
mildly, very challenging for a state that
traditionally has underfunded higher
So, proponents of the bill argue, why
should we set ourselves up for failure?
We understand that argument.
But it’s not as if the 40-40-20 goal,
as unattainable as it is, hasn’t benefited
the state in some concrete ways. The
state’s high school graduation rate has
inched upward over the last few years,
perhaps in some small way because
of the attention that rate has received
And the goal also has put a spotlight
on the middle 40 percent — the
associate degrees and professional
certifications that are awarded by the
state’s community colleges. Institutions
such as Linn-Benton Community
College have been working vigorously
over the last few years to make sure
that their students complete their
courses of study — in other words, that
they leave school with that associate
degree or certification in hand. Now,
certainly, some of that would have
happened without the 40-40-20 goal,
but it’s clear that adopting the goal
helped to highlight the role that the
state’s often-ignored (not to mention
underfunded) community colleges play
in our educational system.
So the goal has had, we believe, a
practical impact in Oregon.
And something just doesn’t feel
right about putting it on the shelf.
If we believe that education is the
key to Oregon’s future, for all of its
residents and for the state, why would
we choose to say, in essence, well, we
know that not everybody will get that
key, and that’s OK? Throwing in the
towel on the 40-40-20 goal would be
setting ourselves up for a much more
dangerous failure.
Unsigned editorials are the opinion of the East Oregonian editorial board of publisher
Kathryn Brown, managing editor Daniel Wattenburger, and opinion page editor Tim Trainor.
Other columns, letters and cartoons on this page express the opinions of the authors and not
necessarily that of the East Oregonian.
‘People Power’ really
just following the law
Limit government by
cutting Wildlife Services
As the organizer of the two People
Power events mentioned in a letter to
the editor on March 22, I am dismayed
at the author’s interpretation of the
goals and objectives of the People
Power organization. I am writing to
respond to that letter to the editor.
The ACLU is a non-partisan orga-
nization that, until now, has limited its
defense of individual rights to litigation
through the courts. With the People
Power organization, the ACLU is giving
citizens, at the local level, the tools to
become active participants in protecting
those rights. The focus of the movement
is currently undocumented residents.
The ACLU has distributed a list
of nine model immigration rules
and policies (9R&P) for local law
enforcement. Adoption of these 9R&P
is intended to foster trust in local law
enforcement and give people, whose
only “crime” is being undocumented,
confidence that local law will protect
them from local crimes. If a person is
beaten, or robbed – should they be so
afraid of deportation that they do not
seek protection or medical care?
The 9R&P that have been presented
at one public meeting, two town halls
and a city council meeting are already
in force in Oregon — as explained by
Umatilla County Sheriff Terry Rowan
and Police Chief Stuart Roberts in sepa-
rate town halls. There is nothing new in
these nine points, only an affirmation of
the law that already exists.
The first of the nine points reiterates
that Immigration and Customs
Enforcement and U.S. Customs and
Border Protection, federal agencies, are
required to have a warrant if they want
a local agency to detain someone for
them. That simple.
The People Power movement
is about protecting the rights of
individuals through the application of
existing law. It is a venue for citizens,
by increasing the awareness of existing
law, to take an active part in preserving
the civil rights and liberties of their
neighbors regardless of immigration
On Feb. 26, USDA Wildlife Services
poisoned a wolf in Wallowa County
(“We don’t feel good about that,” said
Wildlife Services).
On March 11, two dogs were killed
by the same device, an M44 cyanide
bomb, along a hiking trail in Wyoming
(Wildlife Services denies blame).
On March 16 a dog was killed by an
M44 near a residential area in Pocatello,
Idaho, and a boy sprayed with cyanide
powder. (“Wildlife Services understands
the close bonds between people and
their pets and sincerely regrets such
losses.”) A second device was yards
from the first, both on BLM land,
despite a 2016 agreement by federal
agencies to ban M44s on federal land in
Wildlife Services kills millions of
animals yearly at the behest of public
and private interests. The methods are
usually indiscriminate, like M44s, traps
and snares. Any animal is a potential
victim. Wildlife Services is OK with
this; it has been the modus operandi
since 1895.
Wildlife Services is a sloppy operator.
It sets traps where they endanger the
public, it forgets to post warnings, or
puts them where they’re not seen, or if
they’re in the right place it leaves them
up long after the traps are gone (like on
Wallowa County’s East Moraine) so
that folks are afraid to walk a trail. A
Wildlife Services agent filmed his dogs
attacking trapped coyotes, and another
was convicted of intentionally trapping
a neighbor’s dog. If pressed, the agency
will “investigate” incidents, sometimes
apologize (a recent development), but
resumes its nasty habits.
What’s galling to us who dislike
this agency, this behavior, this brutal
contempt for animals and citizens, is that
we pay the bill.
Our federal, state and local taxes fund
this agency. If you pay property tax in
northeast Oregon, you are paying your
county to pay Wildlife Services to set
If people want smaller government,
let’s start with USDA Wildlife Services.
Miriam Gilmer
Wally Sykes
Republicans for
single-payer health care
ithout a viable health
where the irony begins: He can more
care agenda of their own,
easily hurt the conservative parts than
Republicans now face
the liberal parts.
a choice between two options:
Obamacare increased coverage in
Obamacare and a gradual shift toward
two main ways. The more liberal way
a single-payer system. The early signs
expanded a government program,
suggest they will choose single payer.
Medicaid, to cover the near-poor. The
That would be the height of political
more conservative way created private
irony, of course. Donald Trump, Paul
insurance markets where middle-
Ryan and Tom Price may succeed
Leonardt class and affluent people could buy
where left-wing dreamers have long
subsidized coverage.
failed and move the country toward
The Medicaid expansion isn’t
socialized medicine. And they would
completely protected from Price.
do it unwittingly, by undermining the most
He can give states some flexibility to deny
conservative health care system that Americans coverage. But Medicaid is mostly protected.
are willing to accept.
On Friday, after the Republican bill failed,
You’ve no doubt heard of that conservative
Andy Slavitt, who ran Medicaid and Medicare
system. It’s called Obamacare.
for Obama, was talking on the phone to a
Let me take a step back to explain how we
former colleague. “Virtually the only words
got here and how the politics of health care
either of us could say,” Slavitt relayed, “were
will most likely play out after last week’s
‘Medicaid is safe.’”
Republican crackup.
The private markets are less safe. They
Passing major social legislation is
have already had more problems than the
fantastically difficult. It tends to involve taking Medicaid expansion. Price could try to fix
something from influential interest groups —
those problems, and I hope he does. Or he
taxing the rich, for example (as Obamacare
could set out to aggravate the problems, which
did), or reducing some companies’ profits or
he has taken initial steps to do. Above all, he
hurting professional guilds. Those groups can
could make changes that discourage healthy
often persuade voters that the status quo is less people from signing up, causing prices to rise
scary than change.
and insurers to flee.
But when big social legislation does pass,
Now, think about the political message
and improves lives, it becomes even harder
this would send to Democrats: It’s not worth
to undo than it was to create. Americans
expanding health coverage in a conservative-
are generally not willing to go backward on
friendly way, because Republican leaders
matters of basic economic decency. Child labor won’t support it anyway.
isn’t coming back, and the minimum wage,
Politics aside, private markets in many areas
Social Security and Medicare aren’t going
of the economy have substantive advantages
away. Add Obamacare to the list. “Americans
over a government program. They create
competition, which leads to innovation and
now think government should help guarantee
lower prices. But private markets in medical
coverage for just about everyone,” as Jennifer
care tend to be more complicated and less
Rubin, a conservative, wrote.
Trump seemed to understand this during the successful.
And government health care programs turn
campaign and came out in favor of universal
coverage. Once elected, though, he reversed
out to be very popular, among both Democratic
himself. He turned over health care to Price,
and Republican voters. Medicare is a huge
a surgeon and Georgia congressman with an
success. Medicaid also works well, and some
amazing record, and not in a good way.
Republicans have defended it in recent weeks.
Price had spent years proposing bills to
So if voters like government-provided
take away people’s insurance. He also had a
health care and Republicans are going to
habit of buying the stocks of drug companies
undermine private markets, what should
that benefited from policies he was pushing.
Democrats do? When they are next in charge,
Preet Bharara, the federal prosecutor, was
they should expand government health care.
investigating Price when Trump fired Bharara
They should expand Medicaid further into
this month, ProPublica reported.
the working class. They should open Medicare
Price and Ryan were the main architects
to people in their early 60s. They should add a
of the Republican health bill. They tried to
so-called public option to the private markets.
persuade the country to return to a more
They should push the United States closer to
laissez-faire system in which if you didn’t
single-payer health insurance. It will take time
have insurance, it was your problem. They
and involve setbacks, but they are likely to
failed, spectacularly. Again, Americans weren’t succeed in the long run.
willing to abandon basic economic decency.
Until then, the future of socialized medicine
But Price may not be finished. This
is in the hands of Dr. Tom Price.
weekend, Trump tweeted that “ObamaCare
will explode,” and Price, now Trump’s
David Leonardt is the managing editor of
secretary of health and human services, has the The Upshot, an arm of the New York Times,
authority to undermine parts of the law. Here’s
and an op-ed columnist for the paper.
The East Oregonian welcomes original letters of 400 words or less on public issues and pub-
lic policies for publication in the newspaper and on our website. The newspaper reserves the
right to withhold letters that address concerns about individual services and products or let-
ters that infringe on the rights of private citizens. Submitted letters must be signed by the
author and include the city of residence and a daytime phone number. The phone number will
not be published. Unsigned letters will not be published. Send letters to managing editor Dan-
iel Wattenburger, 211 S.E. Byers Ave. Pendleton, OR 97801 or email editor@eastoregonian.com.