PENDLETON, Oregon – InterMountain Education Service District Superintendent Mark Mulvihill is tired of hearing politicians on the campaign trail playing politics with public education. He says it’s become popular to complain that Oregon’s education system is bad.
“You can run on a platform to say, ‘I’m going to improve it, because it’s so bad,’ when in fact, that’s not an accurate statement,” he said. “Evidently, it’s politically advantageous to make that statement, but it’s also crippling.”
One example he said are the politicians who say Oregon’s high school graduation rate is one of the worst in the nation. Every state has different high school graduation requirements, and Oregon’s are among the most stringent. Therefore, to compare Oregon to other states, he says, is like comparing apples and oranges.
He says politicians who make headlines by decrying public education are hurting the people who work hard in the schools to educate the students, and also create an atmosphere of negativity for the students themselves.
“It’s a bad message to our customers,” he said. “We seem to just be accepting it in the state, and that’s not good for Oregon.”