Wednesday, March 21, 2007


There was a hearing yesterday on the House bill to eliminate the CIM and the CAM. Almost completely uncontroversial - everybody agreed that it is time to "move beyond" the CIM.

What a difference a couple years makes. I ran for State Superintendent of Public Instruction in 2002, and one of my main issues was ending the CIM. I was opposed on this issue by every education establishment group in the state.

In the 2003 session, I wrote a bill that would have eliminated CIM and replaced Oregon's tests with nationally normed tests. There were days of hearings, road shows, everybody from Associated Oregon Industries, Oregon Business Council, Confederation of Oregon School Administrators, the ODE, the OEA, the OSBA - you get the idea - were lined up against the bill.

Then Education Committee Chair Vic Backlund headed off our bill, which he knew was extremely popular with the regular folks (we had more than 3,000 signatures on an on-line petition, more than 250 of them public school teachers, school board members or administrators) so he created an alternative bill that made cosmetic changes to the CIM, and used his gavel to make sure his passed rather than mine.

I was proud to be a part of the team who helped Kim Thatcher challenge Backlund in the next primary, and partially because of Backlund's conduct on that bill, she wiped the floor with him, ending his political career.

In 2005, we again mounted an effort to kill this monumental waste of time and money. Rep. Jerry Krummell headed the House Audits committee, and he had the committee undertake a review of the CIM/CAM program. That review ended in the committee voting to recommend eliminating CIM/CAM and replacing Oregons tests with tests developed by an independent testing company.

Again, the entire business and education establishment lined up against this effort. We did get the bill through the House, but it died in the Democrat controlled Senate.

With that background, the hearing yesterday was very anticlimactic. It's as if all the energy supporting CIM and been spent. The tide had turned. Superintendent Susan Castillo was on record saying the CIM had to go, and everybody ran.

The hearing yesterday lasted one hour. Nobody spoke in support of CIM. We did hear COSA and the OEA actually claim they had supported eliminating the CIM for the last three sessions! Others said what wonderful things came from the program, so really it wasn't a waste anyway.

And it ended. Almost like the way Eastern-bloc communism fell - there was no defining battle, it just imploded on the weight of its own internal contradictions.

It's kind of eerie, really. And once again, fifteen years of wasted money and effort, supported all along by the education establishment, and it disappears with nobody held responsible.

Oregon. I love this place.


RINO WATCH said...

Our good friend, "Steve on a cell phone from Tualatin" derserves mention here as well.

Before you ran in '02 Rob, Steve was a virtual fountain of knowledge on the C-C travesty and why it had to go.

Thank you & congrats to both of you!

Martin said...

Good Job! :)

Steffen said...

Watch the new BMW X6 SAV. And it ended. Almost like the way Eastern-bloc communism fell - there was no defining battle, it just imploded on the weight of its own internal contradictions.